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Yesterday the International Seabed Authority (ISA) opened its workshop on Marine Scientific Research in the Area, which will identify ways to establish a collaborative platform to improve the state of knowledge of biodiversity in mid-ocean ridge ecosystems, in particular in the Indian Ocean.
The virtual workshop, organized in collaboration with the China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association (COMRA), and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), will last three days.
Participants, including experts and practitioners from Members of ISA, observers, contractors, as well as international and regional organizations, and academic/scientific institutions, will review the progress made by contractors and scientific communities in advancing scientific understanding of hydrothermal vent / mid-ocean ridge ecosystems in the Indian Ocean, identify priority areas for addressing knowledge gaps, and outline ways to collaborate for promoting scientific research.
Specifically, the workshop aims to enhance collaboration among and between contractors, and the scientific community to support long-term observation and monitoring.
The workshop is the first since ISA formally presented its Action Plan for Marine Scientific Research in support of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The Action Plan, which is currently being considered by the Assembly for adoption by the end of the year, identifies six strategic research priorities, including one that explicitly focuses on facilitating technology development for activities in the Area including in relation to ocean observation and monitoring.
“Through this [workshop], we are confident that it will be possible to advance scientific knowledge and understanding of deep-sea ecosystems and biodiversity,” said ISA Secretary-General Michael W. Lodge in his opening remarks. “To deliver successfully against this strategic research priority, improved cooperation and coordination among contractors and the scientific community are a prerequisite,” he added.
HKUST President Wei Shyy expressed his wish for “a robust and successful platform for science-based environmental management in the Indian Ocean to be established” and that “we should develop ways and means to address knowledge gaps, share best practices and innovative ideas, […] ultimately conserving the ocean while contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.”
It is expected that the workshop will identify the necessary elements and priorities to start developing a collaborative platform to support ISA’s mandate on marine scientific research in mid-ocean ridges in the Indian Ocean.
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