JAMAICA, Kingston (13 June 2017) – – Addressing the Meeting of States Parties for the first time as Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority, Michael Lodge drew particular attention to issues for discussion at the 23rd Session of the Authority in August which include the consideration of the report of the Review Committee of article 154 review, the ongoing development of a mining code, the status of exploration contracts and the financial situation of the Authority.
He stressed to the Meeting that he looked forward to working with States Parties over the next four years of his term.
He urged Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) not party to the Convention to join the Convention and not miss out on the provisions in Part XI specifically intended for their benefit. He also urged States Parties to ratify the Part XI Agreement, and encouraged States Parties to join the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the Authority.
The Secretary-General emphasized one of the most important tasks for the Assembly this year as being the consideration of the final report of the Committee established under article 154 of the Convention to undertake a periodic review of the way in which the Part XI regime has operated. The final report of the Committee contains 19 recommendations for consideration by the Assembly – reduced from the original 55 draft recommendations.
Among the most important are recommendations for a strategic plan to guide the work of the Authority; an enhanced role for the Assembly in setting policy; an increase of transparency across all the organs of the Authority; an enhanced internal functioning of the Secretariat; and a revised pattern of meetings to promote broader participation, to reflect the fact that the work of the Authority has changed radically since 1994. As regards the latter recommendation, he mentioned that he has prepared a proposal for a revised schedule of meetings for 2018 and 2019 and has devised a system to give pre-eminence to the Assembly as the supreme organ of the Authority.
On other activities of the Authority, Secretary-General Lodge said “The chief priority for the Authority at this time is to deliver a Mining Code that will enable contractors to move from exploration to exploitation.”
He said the Authority had collaborated with two German agencies, BGR and UBA, to convene an international workshop in Berlin on environmental regulation of deep seabed mining and had collaborated with AMDC, GRID-Arendal and Pew Charitable Trusts in convening a workshop in Kampala, Uganda on the prospects for Africa of developing the resources of the continental shelf and deep seabed beyond national jurisdiction.
Mr. Lodge referred also to the active participation of the Authority at the recent United Nations Conference to support the implementation of SDG14 (Ocean Conference). He indicated that the Authority has registered seven voluntary commitments for the Ocean Conference, including one in collaboration with UN-DESA and two in collaboration with the African Minerals Development Centre of UNECA and had made interventions in Plenary as well as in Partnership Dialogues 5 and 6. He continued that he was also privileged to be invited as a panelist in Partnership Dialogue 7, on the implementation of international law as reflected in UNCLOS, so as to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources.
He concluded by expressing appreciation to the host government of Jamaica for their tremendous support of the Authority.