On 18 March 2022, the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the Secretary-General of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) signed the Memorandum of understanding between the Indian Ocean Rim Association and the International Seabed Authority which aims to “provide a framework of cooperation and facilitate collaboration […] in the areas of common interest” (para. 1). This follows approval of the MoU by the IORA Member States (16 April 2020) and the Council of the ISA (10 December 2021) (ISBA/26/C/13/Add.1, para. 36). Such arrangements on consultation and cooperation by the ISA with international and non-governmental organizations is initiated by the Secretary-General of the ISA by virtue of the competence found in Article 169(1) of UNCLOS. As per Article 169(2) of UNCLOS, IORA now “may designate representatives to attend meetings of the organs of the Authority as observers” and “procedures shall be established for obtaining the views of [IORA] in appropriate cases”.
Areas of co-operation in the MoU, to implement through supplement arrangements (para. 3), include:
(a) To consult, where appropriate and practical, on matters of mutual interest with a view to promoting or enhancing a better understanding and coordination of their respective activities in respect of such matters;Memorandum of understanding between the Indian Ocean Rim Association and the International Seabed Authority, para. 2 (ISBA/26/C/16, Annex)
(b) To develop joint capacity-building programmes related to seabed exploration, legal and policy formulation, and environmental management planning;
(c) To cooperate, where appropriate and practical, for the sharing and managing of information and non-confidential data related to offshore hydrocarbon and seabed mineral deposits;
(d) To promote, where appropriate, exchange of information and sharing of technologies related to seabed exploration and mining;
(e) To promote and encourage marine scientific research.
See further the ISA press release.