On 18 May 2023, the national focal points in charge of liaising with the Secretariat of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) on matters relating to capacity development (NAFOP-CD) met for the first time this year.
The meeting was held virtually and involved over 22 national focal points identified by ISA Members to assist the Secretariat with implementing ISA’s Capacity development strategy adopted in 2022. Reflecting the commitment of ISA to ensure that all its capacity development programmes and initiatives respond to the needs identified by its Members, especially developing States, including the least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS), this meeting was the opportunity to welcome new members and present progress in the implementation of activities.
The NAFOP-CD network was created in 2021 to increase awareness at the national level of the range of existing opportunities implemented by ISA under the mandate assigned to it by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. NAFOP-CD also provide input on the entities that ISA can involve in developing capacity development activities at national and regional levels.
Today, the network has 59 focal points, including 23 LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS representatives.
In his welcome address, ISA Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge, emphasized the importance of this network as an essential avenue for the Secretariat and Members of ISA to collaborate in the conception and implementation of programmes and activities. “The NAFOP-CD network is critical to the effective rollout of ISA’s Capacity development strategy. It helps us maximize the impact of training opportunities, leverage additional resources, and make sure those resources are used in the most efficient way possible to support the needs of developing Member States.”
Invited to share feedback on some of the programmes and activities that had benefited her country, Ambassador Maureen Tamuno, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to ISA, underscored the importance of the Africa Deep-Sea Resources project implemented by ISA in partnership with the African Union and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation for African countries Members of ISA and Nigeria’s continuous commitment to the project. Ambassador Tamuno also emphasized the need to continue supporting the enrollment of qualified women in deep-sea research and their access to leadership roles.
During the meeting, participants recognized the importance of long-term capacity development programmes and the need to assess better the long-term impact of training programmes on beneficiaries and, more broadly, their country and sector.
Training and capacity-building have been integral to ISA’s activities since its establishment in 1994. This responsibility is also recognized in the Strategic Plan and the High-Level Action Plan for 2019-2023 under strategic directions 5 (Build capacity for developing States) and 6 (Ensure integrated participation by developing States).
The decision to set up a NAFOP-CD network builds on recommendations made by the participants of the workshop “Capacity development, resources and needs assessment,” held in Kingston, Jamaica, in February 2020. Representatives of Members of ISA, experts from international and regional organizations, observers, former trainees and contractors participated in this workshop.
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