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Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the International Seabed Authority

"As a young man, I had a dream. I dreamt of a world ruled by law and not by might. I dreamt of a world in which big countries and small countries, developed countries and developing countries will cooperate with one another as equals and with mutual respect. I dreamt that we will be good stewards of the oceans which give us life. I dreamt that we will succeed in negotiating a new legal order to govern all activities in the oceans. I dreamt that the mineral wealth of the deep seabed and ocean floor will be shared by all countries, including the landlocked countries, as the common heritage of mankind. I dreamt that one day seabed mining will become a reality. I believe that the time for seabed mining has come. It is now within our power to turn the ideal of the common heritage of mankind into reality. The future is in our hands."

Those were the final lines of the memorial by Ambassador Tommy Koh of Singapore on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the International Seabed Authority.

On Tuesday, July 22nd,, the Assembly of the Authority convened for a commemorative session honoring the 20th anniversary of the International Seabed Authority. In a day flu of speeches, many recited the accomplishments of the Authority and the LOS negotiations, honored key individuals, thanked the host country of Jamaica or went into details about the Convention and the Authority that an LOS geek would love. For many, though, it was the comment by Ambassador Koh, quoted above, that captured the feelings of those attendees who had helped negotiate the convention or the 1994 Agreement, contributed to the work of the Preparatory Commission, or helped build the Authority into the body it is today.

After introductory comments by the President of the Assembly and the Secretary General of the ISA, the following officials and representatives gave their remarks:

  • The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Portia Simpson Miller, was the opening speaker.
  • A message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was presented by Mr. Stephen Mathais, Assistant Secretary-General of Legal Affairs.
  • The keynote address was given by Ambassador Tommy T.B. Koh, president of the Third United National Conference on the Law of the Sea, 1981-82.
  • Satya Nandan, special representative of the UN Secretary General for Law of the Sea and founding Secretary General of the ISA (1996-2008).
  • Judge Jose Luis Jesus of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the ISA (1987-94).
  • Professor Hasjim Djalal, first President of the Assembly of the ISA.
  • Judge Vladimir Golitsyn. President of the Seabed disputes Chamber on behalf of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.
  • Regional Group Representatives.
  • Mumba Kapumpa, Ambassador of Zambia to South Korea, delegate of Zambia to UNCLOS III, 1977-82.
  • Baïdy Diène, President of the ISA Council, 2004.

These presentations are available at the ISA web site from the link below.

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