IORA Ministerial Conference Group

Effective international cooperation in collecting and sharing knowledge of ocean resources will be critical to realizing all aspects of the Blue Economy in the Indian Ocean region, particularly data on marine biodiversity, highlighted the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) Mr. Michael W. Lodge, at the Third IORA Ministerial Conference held in Dhaka on 5 September.

In his opening remarks at the inaugural session of the Conference, chaired by H.E Sheikh Hasina, Honourable Prime Minister of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Mr. Lodge commended Bangladesh for its commitment to ocean governance and the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“As a member of the Council, and a past President of the Assembly of ISA, Bangladesh has provided strong and wise leadership on ocean affairs since the entry into force of UNCLOS 25 years ago, and I commend you for your commitment to the rule of law in the ocean,” said Mr Lodge.

“As the world focuses on the implementation of Agenda 2030 and particularly on accelerating progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 14, the importance of the implementation of international law through UNCLOS and international cooperation concerning marine areas beyond national jurisdiction should be foremost in our minds,” he added.

Mr. Lodge further underscored ISA’s commitment to increased cooperation with the Indian Ocean region including through enhanced cooperation with the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

“ISA is pleased to be in dialogue with IORA towards establishing a closer relationship that will be of direct benefit to the member States of IORA,” said Mr. Lodge. “This will also enable ISA to fulfil its mandate in this region to promote and encourage marine scientific research in the deep seabed, whilst at the same time building capacity among developing States,” he added.

In her opening address, H.E Sheikh Hasina, Honourable Prime Minister of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, said, “The Oceans and Seas are the potential and versatile resource frontiers for the mankind, which are still remained under-explored mostly. Ocean-based industries such as shipping, fisheries, energy and minerals, renewable energies, sea-ports, tourism, marine genetic resources, and marine biotechnology are contributing as key driving forces to the flourishing global economy.”

Held from 4 to 5 September, the 2-day conference was attended by over 100 ministers and officials from 31 countries and focused on the most strategic and efficient ways of promoting sustainable development of the Blue Economy among the nations bordering the Indian Ocean.

On 4 September, Mr. Lodge also delivered two presentations at the Committee of Senior Official’s Meeting held prior to the Ministerial segment, where he shared perspectives on current practices of seabed mining and the role of the legal regime for the international seabed Area in fostering ocean governance in the areas beyond national jurisdiction.

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