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What is the Full Form of ISA

ISA: International Seabed Authority

In accordance with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and its 1994 Agreement on Implementation, the 167 member states of the United Nations and the European Union established the International Seabed Authority (ISA), also known as the Autorité internationale des fonds marins, with its headquarter in Kingston, Jamaica. The ISA's dual missions are to protect the ecosystem of the seabed, ocean floor, and subsoil in "The Area," which is outside of national jurisdiction, and to authorise and regulate the development of mineral-related operations in the international seabed considered the "common heritage of all mankind". The purpose of the ISA is to protect the international deep sea, which are the waters down to 200 metres (656 feet), where insufficient light makes photosynthesis difficult. The ISA, which oversees over half of the ocean's surface area, is tasked with keeping an eye out for actions that could endanger biological variety and damage the marine environment. The Authority conducts business as a self-governing international body with a separate Assembly, Council, and Secretariat.

ISA Full Form


On November 16, 1994, the day the Convention went into effect, the Authority had its first official meeting in Jamaica, its host nation. The rules of the authority were written "taking into consideration the political and economic changes, notably market-oriented methods, affecting the execution" of the convention. The Authority was granted UN observer status in October 1996. There are currently 167 members of the Authority, including the European Union, who represent all UNCLOS signatories. The Authority does business by entering into agreements with private and public enterprises and other organisations, granting them permission to investigate and exploit certain parts of the deep seabed for natural resources such as cobalt, nickel, and manganese.

"Common Heritage of All Mankind"

The Area and its resources constitute the common heritage of humankind, according to UNCLOS, Part XI, Section 2. As a result, ISA must make sure that activities in the Area are conducted solely for peaceful ends and the good of all people, with economic gains being distributed fairly and special attention being paid to the needs of developing countries.

Governance and operations

Two main bodies, the Assembly, which includes representatives from each UNCLOS party, and the 36-member Council, which is chosen by the Assembly, together with a Secretary-General, determine the Authority's policies and oversee its operations.


The Assembly elects the Secretary-General, who heads the Authority staff, holds the position for four years as the ISA's top administrative representative, and delivers an annual report to the Assembly. It is forbidden for the Secretary-General to have a financial stake in any mining operations that the Authority has approved. Michael Lodge of the United Kingdom was chosen by the main Assembly Body, in July 2016 for a four-year term beginning on January 1, 2017. Nii Allotey Odunton of Ghana, who had served two consecutive terms of four years beginning in 2008, is succeeded by him.


The 36-member Council and the Secretary-General are chosen by the Assembly, which comprises of all Authority members, from among the candidates the Council suggests. The Assembly also has the authority to accept or reject the council's proposals for the Authority's yearly budget, the Authority's operating guidelines, and the distribution of financial rewards acquired from sanctioned mining.


The Assembly elects the 36-member Council, which authorises contracts with governments and private companies to explore and exploit the international seabed and establishes, subject to Assembly approval, the rules, and processes for ISA governance. A Secretary-General is also proposed by the council, who must be chosen by the entire Assembly to serve a four-year term. Kingston hosts the yearly plenary sessions of the ISA, which typically last two weeks.

Advisory bodies

Additionally established are a 15-member Finance Committee that manages financial issues and a 30-member Legal and Technical Commission that advises the Council on legal and technical topics. Each member is a professional chosen by government to serve in their own capacity.


The convention also created a group known as the Enterprise, which will operate the Authority's own mines and may produce "hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties" that will be distributed to underdeveloped countries. Concerns about an apparent conflict of interest between the ISA's roles as a regulator and a business operator have been raised by Greenpeace, notwithstanding the ISA's denial of the claim.


Currently, the Authority's Secretariat is authorised for thirty-seven positions, with a 2022 biennial budget of about $10,000,000.


The international seabed area, which is the component under ISA jurisdiction, is defined by UNCLOS as "the seabed and ocean bottom and the subsoil thereof, outside the confines of national jurisdiction." The UNCLOS defines the areas of national jurisdiction as a "12 nautical mile territorial sea; an exclusive economic zone of up to 200 nautical miles; and a continental shelf," unless a nation can demonstrate that its continental shelf is naturally prolonged beyond that limit, in which case it may claim up to 350 nautical miles (650 km). In establishing this limit, ISA has no bearing. Instead, this responsibility is given to another UNCLOS entity, the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, which assesses scientific information provided by coastal nations that assert a wider reach.

International Seabed Authority

  1. The ISA was established by UNCLOS (the United Nations Convention on the "Law of the Sea") in 1982 and is an independent intergovernmental organisation with 167 members.
  2. ISA is the organisation through which UNCLOS Parties plan and supervise all resource-related operations involving minerals in the region.
  3. The International Society for the Advancement of Science (ISA), which has 168 members, including the European Union, started operating in June 1996.

ISA activities:

  1. The primary function of ISA is to control the discovery of polymetallic nodules.
  2. The ISA evaluates contractor requests for the exploration and exploitation of deep-sea resources, evaluates environmental impact assessments, and oversees mining operations in the "Area.".

India and ISA

India is an active contributor to the International Seabed Authority's work. In 2020, India was re-elected as a member to the ISA.

Who are the governing bodies of ISA?

The European Union and 167 parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea make up the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which is headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica. The International Seabed Authority is governed and supervised by these organizations. (ISA):

  1. International Seabed Authority Assembly: The ISA assembly, which consists of all ISA members, is its highest authority. General budgets and policies must be established by this legislature.
  2. Executive Authority: ISA also chooses the 36-member council that serves as the organization's executive authority. This council oversees authorising contracts with both private businesses and governmental organisations. These agreements cover mining and exploration in the designated international seabed regions.
  3. Secretary-General: The ISA secretary-general is chosen to a four-year term by the assembly after being nominated by the council. The International Seabed Authority's current secretary-general is Michael W. Lodge (ISA).

The Finance Committee manages issues pertaining to the budget. Additionally, the Council and Finance Committee are under the jurisdiction of the 30-member strong Legal and Technical Commission. Each member is a professional chosen by government to serve in their own capacity.

International Seabed Authority (ISA) Functions

  • The International Seabed Authority (ISA) organises, regulates, and oversees all mineral-related activities in the international seabed region that fall outside of sovereign authority. The International Seabed Authority of India (ISA) performs a number of important tasks.
  • The authority also promotes marine scientific research and runs training programs, seminars, conferences, and workshops on the scientific and technical aspects of deep seabed mining, as well as protecting the marine environment from the damaging effects of mining, exploration, and exploitation.

What are the activities of the ISA?

The rules governing the exploration of polymetallic nodules have been the ISA's major success. In the year 2000, the relevant legislation was passed. Different concentrations of manganese, cobalt, copper, and nickel can be found in these resources. Mostly in the central Pacific Ocean, but there are also some deposits in the Indian Ocean, they appear as lumps the size of potatoes that are dispersed throughout the ocean floor.

Another set of rules covering the exploration of ferromanganese crusts, which are rich sources of cobalt as well as copper, iron, zinc, silver, and gold, as well as polymetallic sulphides, started to be developed in 2002. The crusts are found on oceanic ridges and other places all over the world, while the sulphides are located around volcanic hot springs, particularly in the western Pacific Ocean.

The ISA agreed in 2006 to create different sets of rules for crusts and sulphides, with sulphides receiving priority. Despite a number of concerns still being outstanding, it focused most of its sessions in 2007 and 2008 on this task. The Authority's fees, the description and layout of the region to be assigned to contractors for exploration, and the issue of how to manage any potential overlapping claims were among the most important of these. Meanwhile, ferromanganese crust research has advanced according to the Legal and Technical Commission.

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