Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority Announces Key Initiatives at World Maritime University Global Ocean Conference 2018

JAMAICA, Kingston (15 May 2018) – - International Seabed Authority Secretary-General Michael Lodge announced various efforts undertaken by the Authority to develop Transformative Partnerships for Ocean Sustainability at the recent World Maritime University Global Ocean Conference 2018 that was held in Malmö, Sweden, between 8-9 May 2018.

Recognizing the power of partnerships, and the role of the Authority in achieving greater impact, particularly in strengthening the capacity of developing countries to conduct marine scientific research in the deep-seabed, Secretary-General Lodge pointed to how critical this was to ensuring the development of deep-sea minerals as part of countries’ Blue Economies, is carried out in an environmentally responsible manner.

In the context of the preparation phase of the UN Decade for Ocean Science, Secretary-General Lodge said the Authority had significantly enhanced its cooperation with IOC-UNESCO to work towards common scientific objectives including improved mapping of the seabed and enhancing ocean observing networks.  He added that the Authority was also working closely with the UN and the African Union to increase socio-economic benefits for Small Island Developing States and African countries.

“One of the most important mandates of the Authority is to promote and encourage marine scientific research in the deep seabed, and build capacity to help realize the benefits of the Convention. It is in these areas that the Authority is interested in building inclusive, innovative and transformative partnerships to meet our strategic objectives.”

He stressed that a priority objective for the Authority in 2018 would be the launching the world’s first public database containing all the data collected over several decades by deep-sea mineral exploration and marine scientific research programmes.

He also highlighted the Authority’s programme to enhance the vital role of women in marine scientific research and informed the Conference that the inaugural winner of the Secretary-General Award for Excellence in Deep-seabed Research, aimed specifically at young scientists and researchers from developing countries, would be announced in July 2018. 

Secretary-General Lodge said there was a need to work collectively to ensure the effective implementation of international law through the Convention, noting that half of the remaining non-parties to the Convention were least developed and land-locked developing States, which comprise some 14 countries and 268 million people. 

“I believe that it is essential that we all reach out to these States to encourage them to join the Convention and participate fully in decision-making processes as well as share in the benefits to mankind of greater scientific knowledge in the ocean.”

Full Statement

ISBA/PR/2018/014