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International Seabed Authority’s Secretary-General Presents 2024 Annual Report

International Seabed Authority’s Secretary-General Presents 2024 Annual Report

The Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge, has presented ISA’s annual report for 2024, marking its 30th anniversary. The annual report, titled “Leading precautionary and responsible governance of the ocean global commons based on science, solidarity and transparency”, is submitted as per Article 166(4) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

This annual report provides an overview of ISA’s progress since 2023 in discharging the mandate and competencies assigned to it by UNCLOS, particularly in relation to the various activities implemented to achieve the objectives set out by the strategic directions agreed upon by the ISA Member States in the ISA Strategic Plan and High-Level Action Plan.

A dedicated chapter of the report focuses on the 30th anniversary of the establishment of ISA upon entry into force of UNCLOS and other key achievements to be celebrated this year.

A historic milestone highlighted in the report is the decision by the Council and Assembly to initiate the full operationalization of the Enterprise, which is in line with the evolutionary approach outlined in the 1994 Agreement. This institutional development represents a significant step towards achieving the active participation of developing States in activities carried out in the Area.

The report also underscores the substantial progress made in developing the draft exploitation regulations for seabed minerals in the Area, reflecting the Council’s renewed commitment to completing the adoption of rules, regulations, and procedures as per UNCLOS and the 1994 Agreement.

Other key achievements noted in the report include advancements in the implementation of the regional environmental management plan for the Area in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, ongoing development of similar plans for other regions with exploration activities and initiatives under the Action Plan in support of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, such as the Sustainable Seabed Knowledge Initiative aiming to describe over 1,000 new deep-sea species.

The report also highlights the successful implementation of the 2022 Capacity Development Strategy, the expansion of the Contractors’ Training Programme, and the establishment of the ISA-China and ISA-Egypt Joint Training and Research Centres, demonstrating ISA’s commitment to enhancing the capabilities of developing Member States.

A detailed account of exploration activities in the Area for the existing 30 active contracts is also provided with updated information on the latest extension agreement signed, the relinquished areas that have been reverted to the Area, outcomes of supervisory inspections and progress achieved through the review of annual reports submitted by contractors.

The Secretary-General commented on the importance of the report, “The past year has seen important progress in the development of the draft exploitation regulations and the operationalization of the Enterprise.” Mr. Lodge continued, “ISA’s commitment to transparency, inclusivity, and scientific rigor throughout this process demonstrates the dedication of its Member States to a balanced approach that respects both the imperatives for environmental protection and equitable economic development that will, ultimately, ensure that the resources of the Area can be used sustainably for the benefit of all humanity. The Secretariat has been, and remains, fully committed to supporting Member States in this endeavor.”

The complete 2024 report contains the official Assembly document (ISBA/29/A/2) and the Secretary-General’s illustrated report.

The full report may be accessed here:

Secretary-General Annual Report 2024 – Leading precautionary and responsible governance of the ocean global commons based on science, solidarity and transparency


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