Today, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), successfully concluded a high-level webinar focused on the enhancement of the role and participation of women in deep-sea research organized on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

The high-level event welcomed a dozen senior government officials, leaders and heads of international organizations who collectively emphasised the importance of ensuring that women scientists from developing States, and especially those from the most vulnerable ones such as the least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS), can fully engage in deep-sea research and can reach high-level, leadership positions. Panellists reflected on specific barriers faced by women from developing States and on ways to systematically remove them.

Despite numerous initiatives being adopted and implemented at global, regional and national levels to create new opportunities for women in non-traditional as well as emerging sectors, the participation of women from developing countries in ocean science and deep-sea research remains low. There is also a significant lack of parity in female representation in leadership positions.

“This is particularly true for women scientists from developing States, specifically from LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, who face their own unique challenges,” underscored ISA Secretary General Michael W. Lodge in his opening remarks. “That is why ISA is joining hands with the Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States to take this initiative to the next level.”

Building on the priorities identified in its Strategic Plan and High-Level Action Plan for 2019-2023 as well as its Action Plan in support of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, ISA is partnering with UN-OHRLLS to enhancing the role and participation of women in deep-sea scientific research to support the implementation of UNCLOS and advance the 2030 Agenda.

Madam Fekita ‘Utoikamanu, Under-Secretary-General of UN-OHRLLS, also reminded the participants that “The LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS are the countries with some of the widest gender gaps in science. This is where the biggest breakthroughs must and can be made. This is where we must create opportunities for women, and that includes in emerging sectors such as deep-sea marine research.”

This initiative – “Women in Deep-Sea Research” project – will be implemented over the next two years and will aim at identifying and establishing tailored innovative capacity development programmes and strategic partnerships for transformative actions.

“More and better scientific knowledge is needed in order to develop sound public policies to achieve concrete progress in the sustainable management of our oceans and their vast resources. To this end, we need all talent and capabilities, and we cannot afford to perpetuate a system that discourages female scientists and researchers. The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is the opportunity to do more and reflect on how to overcome the barriers that persist. Argentina is committed to the success of this process,” underlined Ambassador Luis del Solar Dorrego, Permanent Representative of Argentina to ISA, and Champion of ISA MSR Action Plan.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Ms. Stefanie Neno, Communications Specialist, ISA,

For more information visit our website or follow us on Twitter @ISBAHQ