On Monday, the Council of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) opened for the first part of the 25th annual session in Kingston, Jamaica.
The Council elected its President and Vice-Presidents for 2019, addressed organizational matters, and heard reports on the status of exploration contracts, the implementation of the 2018 Council decision relating to the summary report of the Legal and Technical Commission (LTC) Chair and a strategy for the development of regional environmental management plans for the Area.
The Council also considered components of the draft regulations for exploitation of mineral resources in the Area, focusing on the financial model, as well as on standards, guidelines, and key terms.
Highlights of the day include:
· election of Lumka Yengeni (South Africa) as Council President for 2019;
· final steps towards the public launch of the database;
· development of a work programme for the period 2019–2020 to implement the preliminary strategy for the development of regional environmental management plans;
· progress towards developing common understanding on the financial model, notwithstanding varying opinions, and a decision to continue work under the relevant working group; and
· the need to prioritize certain guidelines and balance certainty for industry against flexibility to keep pace with expanding knowledge.
Two side events took place during the day, organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI).