The 27th session of the Assembly of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) closed on 4 August 2022 after three days of in-person meetings held in Kingston, Jamaica. Some delegations attended the session virtually. The meetings were presided by Mr. Olav Myklebust (Norway), who served as Acting President of the Assembly for the 27th session in the absence of the elected president, H.E. Mr. Satyendra Prasad (Fiji).
Key highlights of the meetings include the presentation by the Secretary-General of ISA, H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge, of his Annual Report under Article 166(4) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, detailing the progress realized in the implementation of activities identified to deliver against the nine strategic directions and associated relevant high-level actions of the ISA Strategic Plan and High-Level Action Plan for 2019-2023 for the period 2021-2022. During the general debate, one regional group, 38 Members of ISA and nine observers made statements.
The Assembly also adopted the capacity development strategy for ISA, which aims at further promoting and strengthening capacity development programmes and initiatives for developing States to ensure more effective participation in activities carried out in the Area and in the work of ISA.
On the recommendation of the Council, the Assembly approved the budget of ISA for the period 2023-2024. The Assembly elected 18 members to fill vacancies on the Council for the period 2023-2026 and elected 15 members of the Finance Committee for a five-year term from 1 January 2023 to 13 December 2026.
The Assembly approved five requests for observer status with ISA submitted by the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense, the Ocean Foundation, Cluster Maritime Français, Oceans North and the World Organization of Dredging Associations. This brings the number of non-governmental organizations with observer status with ISA to 37 and the total number of observers to 99.
Secretary-General Lodge presented the Third Edition of the Secretary-General's Award for Excellence in Deep-Sea Research to Dr. Kirsty McQuaid from South Africa. Dr. McQuaid is a marine scientist working at the interface between environmental management and marine conservation. She was recognized for designing networks of marine protected areas around South Africa and using habitat classification to assess the representativity of the network of areas of particular environmental interest in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone.
While accepting her award, Dr. McQuaid declared: “I am honored to have been selected as the recipient of this year’s award. This recognition is important for raising the profile of early-career deep-sea scientists from developing nations and providing further opportunities to grow in this field. I would like to thank the Secretary-General, the advisory committee, the Government of Monaco, Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. and my academic mentors for their generous support.”
A special event was held on the afternoon of 1 August 2022 at the request of the Government of Jamaica to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the adoption and opening for the signature of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Senator the Honorable Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, the Honorable Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria and the Honorable Athill Dean Jonas, Minister of Social Transformation, Human Resource Development and the Blue Economy of Antigua and Barbuda were among the distinguished delegates in attendance. Delegations also congratulated Jamaica on its 60th anniversary of independence.
The Assembly also paid tribute to the memory of Nii Allotey Odunton, who served as ISA Secretary-General from 2009-2016 and passed away on 13 February 2022.
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 The following members were elected to fill the vacancies in the Council of ISA from 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2026. Group A: Italy, Russian Federation. Group B: France, Germany, Republic of Korea. Group C: Australia, Chile. Group D: Fiji, Jamaica, Lesotho. Group E: Cameroon, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Tonga.