In a significant stride towards fostering international cooperation and expertise in international law of the sea with a specific emphasis on the legal regime of deep-sea activities in the international seabed area (the Area), the International Seabed Authority (ISA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the International Relations Institute of Cameroon (IRIC), establishing the first-ever African Academy for Deep-Sea Diplomacy (ADSEA). The signing ceremony took place on Friday, 17 May 2024, in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Building on a proposal submitted by the African Group to ISA and approved by the Assembly in July 2023, the formalization of the cooperation between ISA and IRIC aims at designing and implementing a dedicated capacity development programme to address the specific needs of African Member States. Such initiative is poised to become a beacon of knowledge and training in the law of the sea and seabed diplomacy, empowering current and future generations of African diplomats and the law of the sea experts. This collaboration marks a milestone in ISA’s commitment to enhancing the diplomatic and technical capacities of countries involved in the stewardship of deep-sea resources.

Welcoming the signing of the MoU, H.E. Lejeune MBella MBella, the Honourable Minister of External Relations of Cameroon, expressed the full support of Cameroon for this new partnership representing “a key achievement that opens a new chapter for a more fruitful cooperation between ISA and Africa.”
ISA Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge, underscored the importance of this new partnership, stating, “This new initiative represents a groundbreaking step towards equipping future African leaders with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the complex landscape of international seabed affairs. We are committed to supporting the African Academy for Deep-Sea Diplomacy in its mission to cultivate a new generation of diplomats who are well-versed in the challenges and opportunities of deep-sea and ocean governance.”

Reflecting on the strategic element attached to the scope of the partnership established between IRIC and ISA, Dr. Daniel Urbain Ndongo, Director of IRIC, noted that it was “A great honour for IRIC and an appropriate and timely capacity-building opportunity that will strengthen Africa’s contribution to the activities of ISA.”

Building on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the ISA Capacity development strategy, ADSEA will be hosted by IRIC in Yaoundé, Cameroon. It will facilitate the conception, design and implementation of a series of activities for the dissemination of knowledge and expertise on the law of the sea and in relation to matters pertaining to the implementation of Part XI of UNCLOS and the 1994 Agreement in Africa.

About ISA
The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is an autonomous intergovernmental organization mandated by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to manage the mineral resources of the seabed beyond national jurisdiction for the shared benefit of humankind. ISA is committed to the principle that all economic activities in the deep seabed, including deep-seabed mining, must be regulated and responsibly managed using the best available scientific evidence for the benefit of all nations of the world. ISA works to ensure that the voices of all States, including developing States and other stakeholders, are effectively heard in discussions around the sustainable development of the deep seabed.

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