Pacific Island Girls

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is committed to contributing to the delivery of the 2030 Agenda and supporting Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) to achieve the sustainable management of their marine resources, highlighted Mr. Michael W. Lodge, Secretary-General of ISA at an Our Oceans conference side-event held in Oslo today, hosted by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

“We know that one of the critical challenges faced by SIDS is to be able to participate effectively in marine scientific research and more importantly, to access and utilize the results of such research to conserve and sustainably use their marine resources,” said Mr. Lodge.

“It is in this spirit that the Authority, in partnership with UN-DESA, the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Commonwealth Secretariat, is implementing the Abyssal Initiative,” he added. “This two-year project is a concretization of one of the Voluntary Commitments registered by ISA at the 2017 UN Ocean Conference and has been designed to advance the implementation of SDG14 through a series of capacity-building initiatives in Pacific SIDS.”

The Secretary-General highlighted several examples of how ISA working to ensure that SIDS can engage in deep seabed exploration and exploitation, including the Africa Deep Seabed Resources (ADSR) project, carried out in partnership with the Africa Union and with the generous support of Norad, along with the first-ever ISA international workshop dedicated to capacity-development and resources assessment, to be held in Kingston, Jamaica in February 2020.

Mr. Lodge further underlined that unlike any other ocean activity, deep sea mining is regulated by global rules. Without compliance to this legal regime and the work of ISA, deep sea mineral resources would be open to all, on a first come, first served basis, without international management and with no global environmental standards.

“It is because of ISA and its legal regime that the mineral wealth of the deep seabed beyond national jurisdiction is to be shared between all countries, including landlocked and disadvantaged countries as the common heritage of mankind, and should not be appropriated by a few technologically advanced countries,” he added.

The seminar on ‘Ocean management: opportunities, challenges and experience’ was held by Norad ahead of the Our Ocean conference organised by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 23 to 24 October. The conference will bring together leaders from governments, businesses, civil society and research institutions to share their experience, identify solutions and commit to action for a clean, healthy and productive ocean.