Member States highlight key role of ISA as custodian of the common heritage of mankind at opening of Assembly 25th Session

PRESS RELEASE |  22 JULY 2019

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) Assembly opened its historic 25th Session in Kingston, Jamaica today, with High-level representatives from 72 countries commemorating ISA on its efforts towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and reflecting on ISA’s unique role as custodian of the common heritage of mankind.

Outgoing Assembly President Mariusz-Orion Jędrysek of Poland underscored that this year marks an important milestone for ISA, highlighting key objectives and challenges of the Assembly over the next 25 years.

“Increasing demand of some metals makes technological advancement extremely important for every country, especially developing countries – this was well understood by the fathers of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and ISA," said Mr. Jędrysek. “ISA has been working very hard and the challenging nature of deep- sea exploration and mining will require even more efforts in the future." 

Incoming Assembly President Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica noted the significance of the special 25th Session and emphasized the contribution of ISA to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“As host country, Jamaica is deeply honoured to assume the Presidency of this 25th Session on this particularly special occasion, not only in the context of the Authority’s 25th Anniversary but also because it is the very first time Jamaica will be presiding over the ISA Assembly,” said Minister Johnson Smith.

“Oceans and Seas assume special significance for the economic sustainability of Small Island Developing States such as Jamaica and I welcome an increased global focus on ocean related matters and in particular the attention being paid to SDG14. It is important therefore that we recognize the vital role of the Authority and the role that it has indeed been playing in the achievement of this goal,” she added.

In his remarks, ISA Secretary-General Mr. Michael W. Lodge congratulated Minister Johnson Smith on her election and highlighted the efforts undertaken by ISA in achieving gender parity in its governance structure. 

“It is a very good sign of the maturity of the organization that not only do we have a woman presiding over the Assembly on the 25th Anniversary but this is the first year in history that we have women presiding over the Assembly, the Council and the Legal and Technical Commission - three out of four organs of ISA,” said Mr. Lodge.

Members of the Assembly, which include all 168 Members of ISA, also elected Vice-Presidents of the Assembly from each regional group, namely Ghana (Africa), Nauru (Asia-Pacific), Norway (Western Europe) and Poland (Eastern Europe).

The ISA Assembly will be held from 22 to 26 July and will hold a Special Commemorative Session to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of ISA on 25 July 2019.

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For media enquiries, please contact: Ms. Katie Elles, Communications Specialist, International Seabed Authority M: +1 (876) 835 3801/ E: kelles@isa.org.jm.  For more information visit our website www.isa.org.jm or follow us on Twitter @ISBAHQ