The Secretariat of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) held the sixth annual meeting of exploration contractors from 22 to 24 October 2023. The meeting was held in Dar es Salaam, the United Republic of Tanzania. Twenty-two representatives of exploration contractors attended the three-day meeting in person and virtually.

Opening the meeting, Dr. Marie Bourrel-Mckinnon, Chief of Staff and Head of the Strategic Planning Unit, ISA Secretariat, noted the importance of the annual meeting as a forum to address issues related to the respective obligations of contractors and the ISA Secretariat.

“The contribution of contractors in advancing the knowledge and understanding of the deep sea and its ecosystems is critical to the effective implementation of the legal regime of the international seabed area established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 1994 Agreement. The resource assessment surveys and environmental baseline studies carried out under the contracts, together with the development of sound technology that should ensure the minimum impact on the environment, as well as training delivered, are essential parts of the obligations that require commitment and best performance in the execution of the contract,” Dr. Bourrel-McKinnon said.

Honourable Dr. Steven Lemomo Kiruswa, Deputy Minister of Minerals, the United Republic of Tanzania, highlighted the contributions of the mining sector to the socioeconomic development in Tanzania and the importance of the role and mandate of ISA for Tanzania. He also outlined the commitment of the United Republic of Tanzania to work collaboratively with other Members of ISA to ensure the necessary balance in the ongoing development and negotiations of the draft regulations for exploitation activities in the Area.

“The adoption of the 1994 Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of UNCLOS and subsequent regulations on the prospection and exploration of deep seabed minerals is a testament to our collective dedication to strike the right balance between resource extraction and marine environmental protection,” the Deputy Minister added.

The meeting was an opportunity for the ISA Secretariat to update contractors on organizational priorities and related activities. Participants also had the opportunity to share information and discuss potential collaboration, particularly in marine scientific research, exploration and technology development.

The Honourable Anthony Peter Mavunde, Minister of Minerals, delivered closing remarks on behalf of H.E. Kassim Majaliwa Majaliwa, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania. “I wish to reaffirm and reiterate Tanzania’s commitment to supporting the work of the Authority in implementation of its mandate as provided for in the UNCLOS and the 1994 Agreement. Tanzania is seized to continue strengthening bilateral and multilateral cooperation on ensuring sustainable exploration and, eventually, exploitation of deep seabed marine resources, including seabed minerals while protecting the marine environment, a key pillar of ocean governance,” he said.

“As an active Member of ISA, Tanzania urges the Secretariat to continue supporting us, the Member States, in our negotiations. Let’s constructively continue the negotiations and finalize them within the agreed time frame,” he added.

The ISA Secretariat has been holding annual meetings with contractors since 2017. Previous meetings were held in Jamaica (2017), Poland (2018), China (2019), a virtual format (2021) and The Netherlands (2022).


About ISA

ISA is an autonomous international organization mandated by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to protect the seabed for the shared benefit of humankind. ISA is committed to the principle that all nations of the world should be able to benefit from responsible, sustainable and regulated economic activities in the deep seabed and the potential resources the deep seabed holds for a global green transition. ISA works to ensure that the voices of all states and stakeholders, including developing states, civil society organizations and all ISA Member States, are effectively heard in discussions around the sustainable development of the deep seabed.

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Ms. Jaimie Abbott, Communications Specialist, ISA,