New Delhi, 30 January 2023 – The Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge and the Director General of the National Maritime Foundation of India (NMF), Vice Admiral Pradeep Chauhan, signed a letter of cooperation during a ceremony held at the Office of the Indian Navy in New Delhi today. The letter of cooperation formalizes a new strategic partnership aimed at promoting inclusive policy dialogue among stakeholders on deep-sea-related matters and contributing to expanding scientific knowledge of the world’s oceans towards achieving the 2030 Agenda and opportunities the blue economy offers, including the global transition to green energy.
ISA and NMF are united in their commitment to fostering the growth of India’s blue economy livelihoods and promoting scientific knowledge of the marine environment. The deep seabed holds many minerals and metals vital to a global green energy transition and the development of renewable energy technologies, including solar panels, batteries and electric cars.
“I welcome this new partnership with NMF very much. It can serve as a platform for increased collaboration and cooperation in the development of a sustainable blue economy for India and the broader region. I am sure that NMF has the necessary expertise to support ISA’s programmatic activities, and I look forward to further developing our collaboration in the future,” highlighted Secretary-General Lodge. “Many synergies exist between our respective organizations when it comes to advancing policy dialogue among stakeholders and generating knowledge to support informed decision,” he added.
“As India’s sole think tank that is wholly focused on all aspects of the maritime domain, NMF is extremely proud and privileged to partner with the ISA Secretariat and the Ministry of Earth Sciences of India in supporting the Government’s deep and unwavering commitment to the sustainable and intensely ‘blue’ development of not only its own economy but also the economies of India’s proximate and extended maritime neighborhood,” stressed Vice Admiral Chauhan.
“The Deep Ocean Mission announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi stands eloquent testimony to this commitment. Perhaps its most visible manifestation in the immediate future will be the fructification of the Samudrayaan Mission incorporating seabed exploration at depths of 6,000 metres by a three-member crew under the aegis of the National Institute of Ocean Technology,” he added.
As India assumes the presidency of the G20 for 2023, ISA and NMF will work together to contribute to vital discussions on the potential for deep-seabed economic activities to drive the development of a sustainable blue economy in India and the region.
The letter of cooperation lays out future joint activities in marine scientific research, the protection of the marine environment, technology transfer and capacity-building. This collaboration will contribute to the implementation of strategic priorities for ISA. It will act as a stepping stone towards further implementation of priority actions of the Action Plan for Marine Scientific Research in support of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the Capacity Development Strategy.
Notes to editors
About India’s National Maritime Foundation
India has been a party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and a Member of ISA since 1995. The Government of India holds two contracts with ISA for the exploration for polymetallic nodules (since 2002) and polymetallic sulphides (since 2016) in the Indian Ocean. India also has a seat as a Member of the Council of ISA until 2024.
The NMF is an Indian nongovernmental maritime think tank acting as the resource center for developing and advocating strategies for the promotion and protection of India’s maritime interests. It reviews opportunities, challenges and vulnerabilities in order to provide policy recommendations relevant to the formulation of India’s national security strategy. This includes implementing diverse activities and programmes on a large spectrum of maritime issues to support national strategic objectives identified in India’s Blue Economy Framework, notably those associated with the Deep Ocean Mission.
ISA is an autonomous international organization mandated by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to protect the seabed for the shared benefit of humankind. ISA is committed to the principle that all nations of the world should be able to benefit from responsible, sustainable and regulated economic activities in the deep seabed and the potential resources it holds for a global green energy transition. ISA works to ensure that the voices of all States and stakeholders, including developing States, civil society organizations and all ISA Member States, are effectively heard during discussions on the sustainable development of the deep seabed.
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