Africa Group delegation in seabed mining on Wednesday attended a workshop in Accra to discuss how to enrich the Deep Seabed Mining Policy for effective governance.

Deliberations at the workshop, organised by the International Seabed Authority (ISA), would input into the first part of the 25th Session of the ISA, scheduled for August 2019, which would focus on the draft Exploitation Regulations.

The workshop will ensure the African delegations are equipped to develop legal instruments for the governance of all aspects of deep seabed mining.It is being co-hosted by the Permanent Missions of Algeria and Ghana to the United Nations in collaboration with the African Mineral Development Centre, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, said Ghana was privileged to host the workshop, which would offer Africa the opportunity to contribute effectively to the ISD policies.

She said Ghana’s Constitution highlighted a key foreign policy objective for the country to establish a just and equitable international economic and social order for all manner of persons.

The Minister said to that effect, Ghana had keenly participated in the activities of the Seabed Authority since its inception. “Issues pertaining to the protection of our oceans are now taking centre stage globally as a result of the threats posed to the oceans, a major source of our economic survival,” she said.

“In our part of the world, eliminating the pollution of our water bodies has been difficult and it is even a more daunting task to manage those risks in areas beyond our national jurisdictions.”Madam Botchwey said Ghana, therefore, attached a lot of importance to the current negotiations to protect the marine space beyond national jurisdiction.

She said it was heart-warming to know that issues related to capacity building are dear to the hearts of developing countries and urged the experts in the negotiation to continue making constructive inputs to the process.

“It is imperative that we position our continent to benefit from the international protocols and regimes that our governments subscribe to through these treaties, conventions and agreements.” Madam Botchwey said the ISA was at a critical stage where the appropriate legal framework was being developed to govern the exploitation phase of the activities in the area, adding that those instruments were to safeguard and fulfill the underlying principle of Part XI of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the common heritage of mankind.

She, therefore, entreated the delegations to show commitment to the issues on the agenda and make contributions to produce a document that would help shape an effective and efficient exploitation of the marine resources to protect the marine environment. 

Mrs Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, the Ghana Permanent Representative to the UN, said the initiative started as a conversation amongst a small group of African delegates in Kingston in 2017 and was grateful for all those who made the dream a reality.

She commended Nii Allotey Odunton, the former Secretary-General of the ISA, for his contributions towards the activities of the African Group delegation on Deep Seabed Mining. She announced that the group made a proposal for the establishment of a Museum in his honour at the Headquarters in Kingston and was grateful for their thoughts.

Mr Youssef Delileche, the Ambassador of Algeria to Ghana, said the workshop demonstrated yet another example of Africa group’s commitment towards achieving the common heritage of mankind enshrined in the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea.

He commended them for their purpose of unity and selflessness, which has made the Ghana workshop a reality.

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