At the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York this week, Mr. Michael Lodge Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) highlighted the organization's efforts towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development over the last year, and welcomed the Assembly’s acknowledgement of ISA’s key role in advancing Goal 14 on sustainable oceans.
“I am pleased to see that the General Assembly, for the second year in a row has recognised the Authority’s fundamental role in collecting and sharing data and information on the deep seabed,” said Mr. Lodge in his annual statement on the Oceans and Law of the Sea resolution. “I particularly welcome the references in the draft resolution to the value of cooperation between the Authority and other relevant organizations under the umbrella of the Seabed 2030 project.”
Mr. Lodge highlighted that the Council has made significant progress on the elaboration of the draft Mining Code to regulate exploitation of marine minerals in the international seabed area, including measures for the protection of the marine environment, as well as the financial terms of contracts for mineral exploitation.
“The Council is working hard to achieve the target it had set for itself to finalize the draft regulations by 2020 and to set the framework for sustainable use of deep seabed mineral resources for the long-term,” said Mr. Lodge. “It is of the utmost importance that all States Parties participate in this process, which represents a unique opportunity to ‘get it right.’”
At its next session beginning on 25 February 2019, the Council will consider key policy issues arising from the 42 written submissions received on the draft exploitation regulations, with a view to provide clear direction to the Legal and Technical Commission as it works to finalize the draft.
Mr. Lodge noted the significant progress made on the development of regional environmental management plans in areas where exploration activities are taking place, and thanked the governments of China and Poland for hosting important scientific workshops in 2018 to advance this work.
He also congratulated the Governments of Kenya, Canada and Japan, for the successful organization of the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi last month, underlining that the best way to realize the benefits of the Blue Economy, while conserving our ocean for future generations, is through the legal regime set out in the Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The Secretary-General noted that the Authority’s role in environmental management of the international deep sea bed area is of particular relevance to the work of the Intergovernmental Conference on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.
He further highlighted that 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of ISA, and announced that the Authority will organize a series of special commemorative events with the participation of all States Parties, as well as sister organizations.
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