ISA 23rd Session Highlights from Tuesday August 2017

Date: August 15, 2017

Source: Earth Negotiation Bulletin

On Tuesday, 15 August, the Assembly addressed outstanding administrative matters and considered the Secretary-General’s annual report.

Canada for WEOG nominated Australia for the remaining position of Vice-President. The Assembly endorsed this nomination, together with China, Jamaica and the Russian Federation, nominated on Tuesday, 8 August. Assembly President Eugénio João Muianga (Mozambique) proposed, and delegates agreed upon, appointing to the Credential Committee: Ghana, Lebanon, Myanmar, Poland, the Russian Federation, Guyana, Panama, Belgium and Norway.

REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: Secretary-General Lodge introduced the annual report (ISBA/23/A/2), highlighting, inter alia: the increase in contributions paid by members, but also the need to regularize their arrears; the technical workshops for the draft exploitation regulations and the May 2017 Kampala sensitization seminar regarding a voluntary commitment to develop a cooperative program promoting sustainable development of Africa’s deep-seabed resources, and related need for partnerships and budgetary savings to meet the increasing demand for sensitization seminars; ISA’s increased efforts to collaborate with other institutions on scientific data; progress in implementing the data management strategy; the need to effectively circulate available training opportunities; and the urgent need for increased contributions to the Endowment Fund for marine scientific research (MSR) in the Area.

LEBANON emphasized: ocean conservation to “protect our past, present and future”; the need for all stakeholders to participate in implementation; the ISA’s role in facilitating the implementation of UNCLOS obligations on technology transfer; and better workflow at the LTC to assess contractors’ annual reports. Noting limited understanding of deep-sea ecosystems, Canada, also on behalf of Australia and New Zealand (CANZ), underscored best available science, flexibility to incorporate emerging scientific understanding, the precautionary approach, as well as swift and pre-emptive action to protect the marine environment in cases of non-compliance. Looking forward to a draft strategic plan to be submitted in 2018, CANZ welcomed the environmental management plan for the Clarion-Clipperton Zone and the intention for management plans for other regions, as well as the criteria on impact reference zones and preservation reference zones. SOUTH AFRICA welcomed the digitalization of contractor data, but cautioned against losing data in the old format.

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