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In 2017, the UN General Assembly proclaimed the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 to foster scientific research and technological innovation in support of a healthier, more sustainable ocean. This initiative is coordinated by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO).
The objectives of the UN Ocean Science Decade are at the core of ISA’s mandates, which are to promote and encourage the conduct of marine scientific research in the international seabed area (the “Area”); coordinate and disseminate the research and analysis when available; and to facilitate participation of developing States in deep-sea exploration and research programmes.
To formalize and organize its contribution to the UN Ocean Science Decade, ISA has developed a Marine Scientific Research Action Plan aimed at supporting the achievement of the scientific objectives and societal outcomes identified by the Decade. This Plan reflects the vision endorsed by ISA’s 168 members through the adoption of its Strategic Plan and High-Level Action Plan for 2019-2023.
Argentina, which is currently chairing IOC under the leadership of Mr. Ariel Troisi, will act as Champion of the ISA Marine Scientific Research Action Plan and will work with ISA to promote the shared goals of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
“Argentina is proud to have been invited by the Secretary General, to act as Champion of the Authority's Action Plan in support of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development. In this sense, our country is committed to contribute and work together with the Authority to promote the objectives of the Decade, especially those related to the promotion of marine scientific research in the Area, equitable access to its results, and the participation of developing States in the activities carried out there, always respecting the principle of common heritage of humankind of its resources and the protection of the marine environment.”
Argentina Permanent Representative to ISA, H.E. Luis del Solar Dorrego
The Action Plan identifies six strategic research priorities and a list of priority outputs that will, once achieved, materialize the contribution of ISA to the implementation of the UN Decade of Ocean Science.
1. Advancing scientific knowledge and understanding of deep-sea ecosystems, including biodiversity and ecosystems functions, in the Area;
2. Standardizing and innovating methodologies for deep-sea biodiversity assessment, including taxonomic identification and description, in the Area;
3. Facilitating technology development for activities in the Area, including ocean observation and monitoring;
4. Enhancing scientific knowledge and understanding of potential impacts of activities in the Area;
5. Promoting dissemination, exchange and sharing of scientific data and deep-sea research outputs and increasing deep-sea literacy;
6. Strengthening deep-sea scientific capacity of ISA members, in particular developing States.
The Area is defined as the seabed and ocean floor and subsoil thereof beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. It represents around 50 per cent of the total area of the world’s oceans.
Enhanced understanding of the deep-seabed environment and its ecosystems is central to identifying scientifically robust and adequate measures required to protect the marine environment and conserve biodiversity. For this reason, all environmental data collected by contractors while exploring for minerals in the Area, is made accessible to the public in ISA deep seabed and ocean database.
Currently, the database contains biological, physical and geochemical parameters of the marine ecosystems from the seafloor to the ocean surface covering approximately 1 per cent of the Area (correlating to the area under exploration).