Group photo at ISA turns 25 conference

Today, 16 November 2019, marks the 25th anniversary of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the entry into force of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). To celebrate this momentous occasion, ISA together with the Centre for Oceans Law and Policy of the University of Virginia School of Law (COLP), organized an international conference in Kingston, Jamaica, with the generous support of the Centre for International Law of the University of Singapore (CIL), the Institute for China-America Studies (ICAS), the Korea Maritime Institute (KMI) and the World Maritime University (WMU). 

Held from 14 to 16 November, the international conference on the ‘Legal, scientific and economic aspects of deep seabed mining,’ brought together high-level government officials, international experts, researchers and scholars from the legal and scientific community, along with representatives of the diplomatic corps, to celebrate this milestone and to discuss the many achievements realized within 25 years, and the future of deep-sea mining. 

At the opening session, Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica underlined that the immediate priority of ISA “must remain the development of regulations to govern the exploitation in the international deep seabed area.”

“As ISA looks ahead to the next 25 years, we must carefully and urgently prepare to mine the resources of the Area,” said the Minister. “The exploitation phase promises socio-economic benefits for all peoples and it is important that our contributions place us on the right side of history for the care and diligence we take now in this process.”

In his opening remarks, ISA Secretary-General Mr. Michael W. Lodge highlighted the evolution of ISA, noting the significance of this day 25 years ago, when the inaugural session of ISA was held in Kingston in the presence of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

“The world now is very different to what it was in 1982, when the Convention was adopted, and even compared to 1994, when ISA was established,” said Mr. Lodge. “The priorities and concerns of States have changed, and we need to recognize that ISA needs to change as well. Going forward, it is vitally important that the work of ISA is made consistent with the aspirations of Sustainable Development Goal 14 and that ISA makes its contribution to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Professor Myron H. Nordquist, Associate Director and Editor of COLP further noted the significant role ISA has played in the implementation of international law and in upholding the principles of the common heritage of mankind.

“The practical implementation of the common heritage concept by ISA for over 25 years has credibly dispelled original skepticism about the viability of exploration of seabed minerals in areas beyond national jurisdiction,” he added.

Over the two-days, seven expert panels focused on topics related to the future of deep-sea mineral resources; the future exploitation of seabed minerals; sponsoring States and liability issues; the Caribbean and Part XI of UNCLOS, and innovative thinking in capacity-building.


For media enquiries, please contact:  Ms. Katie Elles, Communications Specialist, International Seabed Authority M: +1 (876) 835 3801/ E:
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