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Initiating a series of visits in the Pacific region, the International Seabed Authority (ISA)’s Secretary-General Mr. Michael W. Lodge, met with the Prime Minister of Fiji, Mr. Frank Bainimarama, as well as other high-level officials to discuss the sustainable development of mineral resources in the international deep seabed area and the commitment of the Organization to ensure increased participation of Pacific Islands Developing States (P-SIDS) in its work.
Highlighting the significant contribution Fiji has made to the work of ISA since it was established 25 years ago under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Mr. Lodge commanded Fiji for its contribution and long standing support to the Organization, particularly through its leadership as a Council member.
In response, the Prime Minister of Fiji, Mr. Frank Bainimarama, stressed that ISA had a “significant role to play for ensuring the sustainable management of deep-seabed resources and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
During his visit to Fiji, the Secretary-General of ISA met with the Hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Inia Seruiratu and the Hon. Minister for Lands and Minerals Resources, Mr. Ashneel Sudhakar to discuss potential areas of cooperation.
Meetings were also held with regional organizations such as the Pacific Community (SPC), the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and the Pacific Island Development Forum (PIDF) to discuss current initiatives and future areas of cooperation with a view of addressing the needs of ISA P-SIDS members.
Also, on 2 August, the Secretary-General participated in a public lecture at the University of the South Pacific on ‘The issue of deep seabed mining and the engagement of Pacific Islands States.’
Mr. Michael W. Lodge departed Fiji for Nauru and Kiribati where he attended, together with representatives of P-SIDS Sponsoring States, ISA led regional training and capacity building workshops designed to implement the Abyssal Initiative Project (#OceanAction16538) implemented in partnership with UNDESA.