In order to raise awareness among African states on the significance and prospects accruable from developing their continental shelf as well as increasing the participation of African indigenous companies in exploration activities undertaken in the international seabed areas, Nigeria has successfully co-hosted an International workshop on Africa’s Deep Seabed Resources.
The fourth workshop of the Africa’s Deep Seabed Resources (ADSR) project was successfully held in Abuja, Nigeria from 5 to 7 October 2022.
The workshop was hosted by the ISA in partnership with the National Boundary Commission, Federal Ministry of Transportation, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was targeted at fostering international and regional cooperation to encourage the sustainable development of Africa’s deep seabed resources in support of Africa’s blue economy.
The ADSR project emanated from a joint Voluntary Commitment (#OceanAction16374) registered by ISA in cooperation with the African Mineral Development Centre of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (since transferred to the African Union) at the 2017 UN Ocean Conference to foster international and regional cooperation in support of sustainable development of Africa’s blue economy. This voluntary commitment was further renewed at the 2022 UN Ocean Conference (#OceanAction40945). The project is implemented by ISA in partnership with the African Union and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) in close cooperation with States Parties to UNCLOS, relevant international and regional organizations and experts. The goal of the ADSR project is to provide enabling conditions for African countries to fully benefit from the blue economy through sustainable development of their deep-seabed resources.
One of the key deliverables of the project is to organize five regional workshops with a view to raising awareness among African decision-makers about the importance of sustainable development of activities on Africa’s continental shelf and in the adjacent international seabed area (the Area). It is also envisaged that these workshops will provide an opportunity to discuss capacity-building strategies that could help African States benefit fully from their blue economies, particularly with regard to increased participation in deep-seabed exploration activities.
The first Three, similar workshops in the series previously held include the following:
- The first workshop of the ADSR project, co-hosted by ISA and the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, was held in Abidjan, in October 2018.
- The second workshop of the ADSR, co-hosted by ISA and the Government of South Africa, was held in Pretoria, in May 2019.
- The third workshop of the ADSR project, co-hosted by ISA and Mauritius, was held virtually in June 2021.
The Fourth ADSR workshop brought together seasoned professionals and experts from Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda. Key stakeholder in Nigeria such as Federal Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigeria Geological Survey Agency, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, etc., participated in the workshop.
The three day workshop had a total of six (6) Sessions and twenty seven (27) presentations by specialists from Nigeria, the ISA and other international bodies. Surv. Adamu Adaji, Director-General of National Boundary Commission Chaired the first session of the workshop titled “The United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea and the 1994 Agreement”. In his address the DG informed the workshop that the Session will shed light on the legal frameworks and the rights awarded by UNCLOS to States for the exploration and the exploitation of the Area. It will also address some of legal frameworks and maritime laws governing the activities of
The workshop came to end with closing remarks from Nigeria’s High Commissioner/ Permanent Reprehensive to the ISA and the Secretary-General of the ISA. The Secretary-General expressed his gratitude to the Nigeria Government for hosting the workshop, and thanked the national, regional and international experts for making the workshop a memorable one.
Due to the success of the workshop, it was recommended that similar workshops on the development of Africa’s deep seabed resources and Africa’s continental shelf should be held subsequently to build on the growing momentum so as Nigeria and the African States are not left behind in the activities of the Area.