The first meeting of 2022 of 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) took place on 18 May 2022.

The meeting was held virtually and involved over thirty national focal points identified by Members of ISA to assist the Secretariat with the implementation of ISA’s programmatic approach to capacity development endorsed by the Assembly in December 2020. At the core of this approach are the efforts of ISA to ensure that all capacity development programmes and initiatives implemented under its auspices meet the needs identified by its Members, especially less-technologically-advanced States including the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States.

“ISA places great importance on its capacity-building mandate and is committed to respond to the specific needs identified by its Members in 2020,” said ISA Secretary-General Mr. Michael W. Lodge in his welcome address. “The role of NAFOPs is critical in that regard and I am pleased to see that 52 Members have nominated focal points so far. The network is growing and it is encouraging.”

Amongst other responsibilities, the national focal points help raise awareness among national ministries and other relevant agencies of the mandate assigned to ISA by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in relation to capacity-building, capacity development, training and technical assistance. They also contribute to ensuring the dissemination of relevant information at the national level and liaise with the ISA Secretariat to identify their countries’ priority needs in relation to technical assistance and potential partners with which ISA can work to implement training and capacity development initiatives.

Training and capacity-building have been an integral feature of ISA’s activities since its establishment in 1994. This responsibility is also recognized in the Strategic Plan and the High-Level Action Plan for the period 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 network of National Focal Points for Capacity Development builds on recommendations made by the participants to the workshop on “Capacity development, resources and needs assessment” (see the report) that was held in Kingston, Jamaica, from 10 to 12 February 2020 and which involved representatives from members of ISA, experts from international and regional organizations, observers former trainees and contractors.


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Ms. Stefanie Neno, Communications Specialist, ISA,