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ISA Secretary-General Underscores Progress and Collaborative Achievements in Annual Statement to the United Nations General Assembly

ISA Secretary-General Underscores Progress and Collaborative Achievements in Annual Statement to the United Nations General Assembly

On 5 December, the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge, provided a detailed update at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly on ISA’s recent progress, highlighting the significant achievements and ongoing collaborative endeavors since 2022.

Secretary-General Lodge opened his address by celebrating the recent adoption of the third agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdictions adopted in June 2023, and reiterated the willingness of ISA to support States Parties in its implementation.

Mr. Lodge further underscored the evolutionary and the precautionary approach followed by ISA to the development of activities in the Area as stipulated in the 1994 Agreement.

“The 1994 Agreement is at the heart of our global governance regime, balancing the interests of all State Parties,” he said. “It is in pursuance of this balanced and evolutionary approach that the Council of ISA continues to advance its work on the draft regulations for exploitation of marine minerals in the Area, including through the adoption of a roadmap to guide its further work during 2024 with a view to adopting the regulations during the thirtieth session of ISA”, he added.

“These decisions are a clear expression of the commitment shared by the majority of States Parties to work together decisively, constructively and in good faith to ensure that a sound regulatory framework is in place prior to the commencement of exploitation”, he further stressed.

Looking ahead, Secretary-Lodge acknowledged that there is a wealth of accomplishments to celebrate as 2024 will mark the 30th anniversary of the entry into force of the 1994 Agreement and the work of ISA, including the fact that over the last 30 years, ISA has been able to offer world-class training and capacity development opportunities to more than 1,000 individuals from developing States and that significant amount of data and information is being collected through exploration cruise informing the work of ISA in delivering against the six strategic research priorities of the Global Deep Sea Research Action Plan adopted by ISA members in 2020.

Mr. Lodge also emphasized the importance of the contribution of ISA in establishing and managing effectively the largest marine protected area beyond national jurisdictions, covering 1.9 million square kilometers of the sea floor of the central Pacific Ocean.

Mr. Lodge also highlighted ISA’s leadership and commitment in promoting women’s empowerment and leadership in ocean affairs, particularly for female scientists from developing states and specially those of least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States.

Concluding his address, the ISA Secretary-General expressed optimism for ISA’s continued role in managing the deep seabed equitably and sustainably trough a single global regime, founded on principles of equity, for the benefit of all humanity.


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