First webinar in new ISA Marine Scientific Research Information Series for Africa raises awareness of deep-sea mineral resources and technologies of African Members States

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PRESS RELEASE

Today, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) hosted the first webinar of a new series called ISA Marine Scientific Research Information Series for Africa.

The webinar series was created specifically for ISA African Member States and other stakeholders in the region and seeks to strengthen their capacity to conduct research in the Area, a need identified by them during a workshop organized by ISA in February 2020.

In opening the webinar, the Secretary-General of ISA, H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge, said: “Developing the capacity of African States with a view to conduct scientific research in the Area will be an essential pillar of Africa’s blue economy. This is reflected in the specific strategy adopted by the African Union in 2019, which identifies deep-sea mining as a key driver of change and highlights the need to expand relevant education and research activities. Such priority is also reiterated in Agenda 2063 (...)”.

Over 40 participants from 17 African countries, including government representatives, diplomats, researchers, mining experts and former ISA trainees, attended the meeting. This first edition of the webinar series focused on topics related to deep-sea mineral resources assessment and mining technologies. It highlighted the complementarity between exploration for mineral resources and scientific research activities in the Area and demonstrated how both contribute towards enhancing the global knowledge base necessary to ensure the sustainable development of the ocean.

The Chair of the event, Ambassador Harold Adlai Agyeman, Permanent Representative of Ghana to the United Nations, encouraged all African Member States, whether landlocked or coastal, to renew national interest in developing their capacities relating to activities in the Area. Ambassador Agyeman further remarked that "(t)he ocean holds much prospect for sustainable development and Africa cannot afford to be left behind. I am therefore happy that this webinar session links in a beautiful way three key elements in the Area: the research, the technology and the minerals".

Over the course of two hours, participants discussed the contribution of Africa to the global supply of minerals, the occurrence of and exploration for mineral resources in the Area, the state of technology for deep-seabed mining and mineral processing, and the ways to enable the participation of African States in activities in the Area.  

Participants concluded that priority areas of collaboration and potential partners should be identified for future engagement and follow-up activities. Intensified collaboration in the field of marine scientific research between African stakeholders and the scientific community, contractors and other ISA Members has the potential to contribute significantly to deep-sea mineral resources assessment, mining technologies and raw material beneficiation. These activities will not only benefit from increased awareness of deep-seabed minerals but also from growing human resources through enhanced participation of young African scientists.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), ISA has the duty to promote and encourage marine scientific research in the Area. The Convention also requires ISA to strengthen the research capabilities of developing States and technologically-less-developed States and ensure their effective participation in deep-sea exploration and research programmes.

In 2020, the ISA Assembly adopted a dedicated Action Plan for Marine Scientific Research (MSR) in support of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, in line with ISA Strategic Plan and High-level Action Plan for the period 2019-2023. The MSR Action Plan identifies six strategic research priorities, including the need to facilitate technology development for activities in the Area and to strengthen the deep-sea scientific capacity of ISA Members, particularly developing States.

Africa remains the only regional group that has not yet taken full advantage of the provisions of UNCLOS to take part in deep-sea mineral exploration.  The new webinar series complements and builds upon the Africa’s Deep Seabed Resources (ADSR) project implemented by ISA in partnership with the African Union and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation to facilitate the engagement of African States in activities in the Area. It intends to inform ISA’s ongoing efforts to address the capacity needs of its African Member States. The series will continue this year and onwards with a focus on different topics, including environmental management and data sharing, among others.

To access today’s presentations, visit the dedicated webpage: https://www.isa.org.jm/event/webinar-msr-information-series-africa-topic-1-deep-sea-mineral-resources-and-technologies

 

For media enquiries, please contact:

Ms. Stefanie Neno, Communications Specialist, ISA, sneno@isa.org.jm