By ISA Secretary-General Mr. Michael W. Lodge

It is with great sorrow that I learned of the passing of my predecessor as Secretary-General, Nii Allotey Odunton on 13 February 2022 at his home in Ghana.

Nii Allotey Odunton served as Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority for two consecutive terms starting in 2009 and ending in 2016. He had worked continuously with ISA since it was established in 1996, and during that time held several positions including Deputy to the Secretary-General, Head of the Office of Resources and Environmental Monitoring and Interim Director-General of the Enterprise.

Mr. Odunton first joined the United Nations Secretariat in New York in 1980. He served as an Economic Affairs Officer in the Department of International Economic and Social Affairs (1980–1983) and subsequently as Chief of the Mineral Resources Section, Ocean Economics and Technology Branch (1984-1988). He also worked in the office of the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Law of the Sea where he was assigned to the Preparatory Commission for the International Seabed Authority and for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. He served as Deputy Secretary of Special Commission 3 on the mining code for polymetallic nodules and Secretary of Special Commission 2 on the Enterprise. In 1988, he became the first officer-in-charge of the United Nations Office for the Law of the Sea in Kingston, Jamaica.

Mr. Odunton, who was from Ghana, earned a Master of Science degree in Mineral Economics and Mine Finance from the Henry Krumb School of Mines of Columbia University, New York (1972-1974), from where he also obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Mining Engineering. His wife, Naa Jama Odunton predeceased him in July 2008. He leaves behind four children; Efua, Aku, Sena and Akiode.

Mr. Odunton was the first African to serve as Secretary-General of the Authority. During his term of office, Mr. Odunton was particularly committed to improving the current state of knowledge of deep-sea mineral resources, standardizing data collection methodologies and promoting classification of ocean mineral reserves. The museum of the Authority, established in 2019, was named the Nii Allotey Odunton Museum in his honour in 2021 following a proposal by the Government of Ghana.

My sincere condolences to Mr. Odunton’s family and to the Government and people of Ghana.


A book of condolences will be open for signature at the Authority’s headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica, (14-20 Port Royal Street) as well as the office of the Authority in New York (1 United Nations Plaza, Room 1140) from 21 February to 4 March 2022, between 12:00 and 16:00.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Ms. Stefanie Neno, Communications Specialist, International Seabed Authority M: +1 (876) 838 8323/ E: