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ISA and Japan Host International Scientific Workshop for the Development of a Regional Environmental Management Plan for the Northwest Pacific

ISA and Japan Host International Scientific Workshop for the Development of a Regional Environmental Management Plan for the Northwest Pacific

The International Seabed Authority (ISA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security, Deep Ocean Resources Development Co. Ltd. and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, opened the third international expert workshop for the development of a regional environmental management plan (REMP) for the Area of the Northwest Pacific Ocean.

The workshop brings together about 40 international deep-sea experts from 15 countries with diverse expertise and experience. Participants were nominated by ISA Member States, observers, scientific and regional organizations.

To date, ISA has been proactive in the sustainable oversight of the ocean’s resources, issuing four contracts for the exploration of cobalt-rich crusts in the region alongside a recent contract in 2019 for the exploration of polymetallic nodules.

This workshop is set to build on the successes and findings of previous REMP workshops held for this region. The current workshop is aiming to achieve several objectives, including: (i) synthesizing the latest scientific data and insights to foster an informed approach to environmental management, (ii) validating and enhancing the design of potential area-based management tools and the assessment of cumulative impacts, and (iii) identifying priorities for research and monitoring at the regional scale.

It is anticipated that the outcomes of this workshop will significantly contribute to formulating a comprehensive REMP for the Northwest Pacific Ocean, guiding future policy and management discussions. The insights gained will be instrumental for the ISA’s Legal and Technical Commission to draft and finalize the REMP for this priority region.

In his opening remarks, ISA Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge, underscored the continued efforts of ISA to ensure decision-making processes are informed by the best available science, including by leveraging the collective expertise of the global community to ensure the responsible exploration and use of the resources in the Area. “Today, we stand on the precipice of a new era in environmental stewardship of our ocean’s most remote frontiers. Developing a REMP for the Northwest Pacific underscores our unwavering commitment to the principles enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It exemplifies ISA’s dedication to deploying the most effective tools and collaborative approaches to safeguard the marine environment for the benefit of all humankind,” he said.

“We believe that the continued efforts to achieve both “the protection and preservation of the marine environment” and “equitable benefit-sharing” in relation to the “common heritage of [hu]mankind” will lead to a new future for humankind. The REMP workshop will contribute greatly as a first step towards the appropriate management of deep-sea mineral resources,” said Mr. Ichiro Takahara, Chairman & CEO of Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security.

Mr. Hiromasa Oba, President of Deep Ocean Resources Development Co. Ltd. further stressed the significant importance of the workshop for anchoring further the work of ISA in support of the protection of the marine environment and the conservation of marine biodiversity. “We believe that discussions of the workshop will progress toward preserving the marine environment in the Area of the NW Pacific. As one of the ISA exploration contractors, we stand firm in our commitment to cooperate and contribute to the development of the REMP,’’ he said.


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