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Today the International Seabed Authority (ISA) held a high-level webinar to present the draft Action Plan developed in support of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
The main purpose of this high-level event was to present the key components of the draft Action Plan by highlighting how it represents the objectives identified for the UN Decade and the six strategic research priorities around which ISA will mobilize its actions in a complementary and synergistic manner.
In his opening remarks, the ISA Secretary-General Mr. Michael W. Lodge recalled that “the draft Action Plan reflects the ongoing support of ISA towards the objectives of the UN Decade of Ocean Science. Our commitment to the Decade comes directly from the specific and unique mandate given to ISA by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as it relates to marine scientific research in the Area”.
The Permanent Representative of France to ISA and President of the 26th Assembly, H.E Denys Wibeaux, emphasized that “the Action Plan that the Assembly is invited to consider for adoption is not only in the continuity of what has been agreed by the members, through the Strategic Plan and the High-Level Action Plan for 2019-2023, but more importantly reflects accurately what the Authority is about. First, advancing science and knowledge to ensure the sustainable development of seabed minerals activities in the Area and second, ensuring that this is done for the benefit of humankind.”
The webinar was structured around four main panels and brought together senior representatives of members of ISA, heads and high-level officials of international and regional organizations and the scientific community. Each panel provided the opportunity to emphasize the importance of marine scientific research and deep-sea research as fundamental elements to achieve the responsible management of the oceans and their resources.
“As champion of the draft Action Plan, Argentina will work together with ISA to promote the shared goals of the UN Decade of Ocean Science to foster global actions to advance ocean sciences for the benefit of humankind,” declared the Permanent Representative of Argentina to ISA, H.E Luis del Solar Dorrego.
Mr Ariel Troisi, Chair of IOC-UNESCO, stressed that “the UN Decade aims at proposing a change of tack in the generation of ocean knowledge through transformative ocean science solutions for sustainable development.”
Following, Dr Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of IOC-UNESCO congratulated ISA for the draft Action Plan and underlined the ongoing and positive cooperation between the organizations, formalized with the signing of a memorandum of understanding in 2001.
Opening the discussion on the importance of advancing scientific knowledge of the deep-sea for the sustainable development of the ocean resources including the understanding of biodiversity and ecosystems functions, the Minister of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea, Dr. Seong-Hyeok Moon stressed the fruitful and ongoing collaboration between ISA and Korea as reflected in several initiatives such as the organization of a taxonomic standardization workshop and further advances in the development of a regional environmental management plan for the Northwest Pacific. “It is my belief that ISA has a critical role to play for the sustainable development of deep-sea minerals resources and there is no doubt that through this Action Plan, ISA will guide the international community to better achieve what the UN Decade Ocean envisions,” he added.
Acknowledging ISA’s efforts to deepen scientific knowledge and understanding of deep-sea ecosystems in the Area, Mrs. Veronika Veits Director of the DG MARE of the European Commission also underscored “the need to understand better the effects and risks of seabed exploitation on the deep-sea ecosystems and whether practices and technologies are safe, and this before we start these activities.” She then added that in light of this, “the draft action plan of ISA in support of the UN Decade of Ocean Science was therefore highly welcome.”
Placing the emphasis on the need to strengthen deep-sea scientific capacity of developing States, H.E Fekita ‘Utoikamanu, USG UN-OHRLLS underlined that “Within the framework of UNCLOS and through ISA we can and we must foster a greater cooperation to enhance opportunities for the most vulnerable countries”.
“As deep-sea mining continues to grow as an industry, we must ensure that also developing States can benefit from such operations. This is especially salient regarding deep-sea mining in the Area, as the mineral resources there are common heritage of mankind, and thus belong to us all. This is why capacity building needs to be central to our collective agenda,” said Ms. Marte Ziolkowski, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. “The Authority is important as a provider of and facilitator for competence development and transfer of technology to developing States. In discussions on developing cooperation, the Authority is frequently mentioned as an example of how capacity building should be conducted,” she added.
H.E Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to ISA and to the UN stressed that “ISA has a central role to play in facilitating multi-stakeholder strategic partnerships at the subregional, regional, and global level to advance marine scientific research in the deep-sea, particularly for less technology advanced States.”
In closing the webinar, H.E Liu Zhenmin, USG UNDESA commended ISA for presenting a “very comprehensive plan”. He then added that “all nations need scientific solutions to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Therefore, creating enabling conditions to build the capabilities and the capacities of developing States and facilitate the technologies transfer will be key to ensure that all can benefit from the Blue Economy. These important elements embody the vision of ISA Action Plan.”
The live high-level event took place on the margins of the work of the 26th session of the Assembly of ISA which is progressing its work through silence procedure.
The recording of the webinar is accessible at: https://isa.org.jm/event/high-level-webinar-present-isas-draft-action-plan-support-un-decade-ocean-science-sustainable
Ms. Dana Schiopu, Communications Specialist, ISA firstname.lastname@example.org