NEW YORK (8 June 2017) – – The ISA today,  co-organized a Side Event the government of Mexico, the Kingdom of Tonga and UN-DESA with support from Tonga Mineral Resources Ltd and Nautilus  during the Ocean Conference.

The side event also saw the launching of the UN-DESA and ISA voluntary commitment partnership on Abyssal initiative for Blue Growth: Advancing SDG 14 and the quest for a Blue Economy through the promotion of socio-economic benefits for developing countries, including SIDS, and increasing scientific knowledge and research capacity: perspectives on deep seabed mining by promoting the Blue Economy concept as a means to enable SIDS to benefit fully from sustainable development of their deep-sea mineral resources.

In his opening remarks, Secretary-General Michael Lodge expressed his gratitude to Mr Juwang Zhu, UN DESA Director of the Division for Sustainable Development for officially launching the partnership between UN-DESA and the ISA, adding that the strengthened cooperation would create unique conditions to develop on-going capacity-building opportunities for SIDS in the field of deep sea mining.

Presentations were made by H.E Mr. Mahe ‘Uli’uli Sandhurst Tupouniua, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Tonga to the United Nations;  Mr Sainivalati Navoti, Chief, SIDS Unit on behalf of UN-DESA; Mr. Siosiua Utoikamanu, Development Economist, Member of the Legal and Technical Commission of the ISA, Kingdom of Tonga; Mr. Mike Johnston, CEO, Nautilus Minerals; Dr. Patrick Ho, Vice-Chairman and Secretary-General of the China Energy Fund Committee; Mr. Alejandro Alday, Legal Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico and Dr. Natalia Amezcua,  Servicio Geológico Mexicano.

The presentations highlighted the potential socio-economic and scientific benefits for SIDS to sponsor exploration activities in the Area; Blue Economy/Blue Growth Initiatives focusing on PSIDS; and the efforts for advancing scientific knowledge and research capacity for the benefit of developing countries including the experiences of Mexico through its annual contribution to the ISA’s Endowment Fund for marine scientific research in the Area and by hosting a ISA sensitization workshop.  In addition, Dr. Natalia Amezcua, government scientist in the geology agency of Mexico, and former COMRA trainee, described the usefulness of the contractor training programme by COMRA in her daily work in promoting the development of the sector in Mexico, as well as involving her country in activities in the Area.

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