The International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS) of the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations successfully hosted two successive workshops at the headquarters of ISA in Kingston, Jamaica, between 5 and 14 September 2022.
These are part of a series of regional workshops and consultations organized by DOALOS to support global efforts towards capacity-building in ocean governance and to inform the scoping process of the third cycle (2021-2025) of the Regular Process for the Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects (Regular Process).
Over 30 participants with diverse backgrounds and expertise in ocean affairs and marine science from 15 countries, including representatives of small islands developing States, middle-income countries, high-income countries and landlocked developing countries, attended the workshops.
The first workshop took place from 5 to 9 September 2022. It specifically focused on strengthening the capacity of participants in relation to ocean governance, science-policy interface and the blue economy in the Wider Caribbean Region.
The second workshop took place from 12 to 14 September 2022. It was designed to gather expertise and suggestions to inform the scoping part of the next World Ocean Assessment of the United Nations Regular Process for the North Pacific and the Wider Caribbean Region.
Addressing the participants of the workshops, the Secretary-General of ISA, H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge, reiterated the longstanding support of ISA for the work of DOALOS and efforts to inform the Regular Process. “It is a great pleasure to host these workshops here in Jamaica. We are particularly grateful to have been able, together with DOALOS, to share some insights on the specific role of ISA in relation to the promotion and encouragement of marine scientific research beyond national jurisdictions to continue advancing the general understanding and knowledge of the deep sea and its ecosystems,” he said.
“The strong and lasting relationship that ISA and DOALOS have built over the years is a vivid illustration of the successful cooperation that exists amongst members of UN-Oceans and a testament to the importance for all competent organizations to work hand in hand to achieve common goals and objectives for the benefit of all humanity,” he added.
The Team Lead of the Regular Process at DOALOS, Mr. Marco Boccia, thanked ISA for graciously hosting these regional workshops and acknowledged the great urgency to ensure further integration of science into policy and decision-making for the ocean.
Mr. Boccia noted the important progress made during these workshops, which resulted in a clearer pathway for the region to strengthen the interface between science and policy. He further noted the important contribution of these workshops to improving our understanding of the region’s unique, most pressing problems and where we should prioritize our attention for this region to advance its ocean economy and ensure we can achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The importance of helping countries synthesize scientific information through the Regular Process and its next World Ocean Assessment to support the development of the relevant and most needed policies on the ocean was also noted.
In 10 days of workshops, participants were able to discuss key topics to be addressed in the assessment and identified knowledge gaps and capacity needs for the region. They also discussed regional challenges and potential solutions, and ways to effectively reach out to policymakers. ISA experts also contributed to the discussion through a series of presentations covering the role and mandate of ISA under UNCLOS and the evolution of ocean technology for deep-sea exploration, the DeepData database and its applications, the Sustainable Seabed Knowledge Initiative (SSKI) and Regional Environmental Management Plans (REMPs) as examples of projects and processes in place to address knowledge gaps and capacity-building needs. Participants stressed the importance of building on the lessons learned from the second World Ocean Assessment report while including emerging topics, such as the importance of traditional knowledge and gender equality.
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