PRESS RELEASE | 15 February 2019
International Seabed Authority (ISA)’s Secretary-General Mr Michael Lodge is in the Kingdom of Tonga this week to attend a regional workshop jointly organised by ISA and UNDESA with the support of the Kingdom of Tonga to discuss increased participation of P-SIDS in activities undertaken in the international seabed area as well as identifying the capacity-building needs of the Pacific sponsoring States.
Mr Lodge has met with the Prime Minister of Tonga, the Hon. S.’Akilisi Pohiva, and other high-level representatives, to discuss ways to enhance the policy, legal, institutional and the research and analytical capacities of P-SIDS for implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda, with a specific focus on the sustainable development of mineral resources in the international deep seabed area. It is the first time since the establishment of ISA, in 1994, that the Secretary-General of the Organisation visits the Kingdom of Tonga.
“For the Pacific Island countries fully dependent on the ocean for their survival, deep sea mineral resources have the potential to expand their resource base, build capacity and expertise and make an essential contribution to the development of their sustainable Blue Economy,” said Mr Lodge.
“This visit to the Kingdom of Tonga serves to reiterate my personal commitment to work closely with the most vulnerable developing States with a view of strengthening their capacities and progress towards an increased participate in activities undertaken in the international seabed area,” he added.
During his time in the Kingdom of Tonga, Mr. Michael W. Lodge also met with Mr. Edgar Cocker, Chief Secretary; Mr. Ambassador Mahe Tupouniua, Secretary for Foreign Affairs; Lord Ma’afu, Hon. Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Poassi Tei, Minister for Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster, Management, Environment, climate Change and Communication (MEIDECCC).
The workshop is being held as part of the joint ISA-UNDESA ‘Abyssal initiative for Blue Growth,’ one of the seven Voluntary Commitments made by ISA at the 2017 UN Ocean Conference to advance implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources (#OceanAction16538).
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