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There are three principle ways ISA carries out its responsibilities to promote Marine Scientific Research (MSR) in the Area and to encourage capacity building of developing States in deep-sea research and technology as stipulated by articles 143 and 144 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Under UNCLOS, ISA Contractors have a legal obligation to provide and fund practical, hands-on programmes for personnel from developing States and personnel of the Authority, in all activities in the Area which are covered by the contract. Since 2013, 134 places have been provided, varying from at-sea training to Masters and PhDs programmes; from dredging seminars to taxonomy workshops; from engineering courses to legal fellowships and internships. In the next five years it is anticipated that up to 200 additional training placements will be made available.
The Fund aims to promote and encourage the conduct of MSR in the Area for the benefit of humankind as a whole, in particular by supporting the participation of qualified scientists and technical personnel from developing countries by offering them opportunities to participate in training, technical assistance and scientific cooperation programmes. Since 2009, 145 individuals have benefitted from MSR related training initiatives in the Area.
ISA and the State Oceanic Administration of China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Friday, 18 October 2019 to establish the first ever joint training and research centre in Qingdao, China.
An essential aspect of the Africa Deep Seabed Resources project relates to the deployment of 10 national experts, including five women, from African States within the Secretariat of ISA in the course of 2020. The main objective of such secondments is two-fold. First, to build on existing capacity-building initiatives to provide national experts with technical skills on deep-seabed related matters. Second, to enable the ISA Secretariat to benefit from the contribution of such experts with a view of advancing specific tasks identified in partnership with the Legal and Technical Commission (LTC).
The ISA internship programme provides a framework through which students and young government officials from diverse academic backgrounds can gain exposure to the work and functions of the ISA, while the ISA benefits from their skills. Since 2013, 29 interns have benefitted.