By Jamshed Baruah

GENEVA (IDN) - India has surpassed the United States to become the world's second largest Internet market, with 333 million users, trailing China's 721 million. But a new United Nations report says that six nations – including China and India – together account for 55% of the total global population still offline, because of the sheer size of their populations.

While Internet access is approaching saturation in richer nations, connectivity is still not advancing fast enough to help bridge development gaps in areas like education and health care for those in poorer parts of the world, according to the 2016 edition of The State of Broadband report.

- Photo: 2021

Donations for International Seabed Authority to Support Programmes in the Developing States

By Caroline Mwanga

NEW YORK (IDN) – Three countries – Norway, France and Mexico – have reaffirmed their commitment to support, through three separate grants, the implementation by the International Seabed Authority (ISA) of capacity development programmes and activities targeted at developing States members of ISA and to improve their integrated participation in the work of the organization based in Kingston, Jamaica.

In a media release, ISA said, Norway’s contribution will take the form of a new partnership for the execution of the “Abyssal Initiative for Blue Growth” project currently being carried out by ISA and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) in close cooperation with the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and the Pacific Community. A grant of US$250,000 will support the development of new activities designed to meet the needs identified by the participating countries.

“We must protect the oceans, but at the same time ensure that the oceans can continue to provide livelihood, food and energy,” Norway’s Minister of International Development, Mr. Dag-Inge Ulstein, said, adding: “Responsible management is key to creating long-lasting new jobs and sustainable industries. This project will support small island developing States to achieve several of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

France made a contribution of over US$30,000, which was received at the end of 2020, to be allocated to the voluntary trust funds for the members of the Legal and Technical Commission and the Finance Committee and to the multi-donor trust fund for extra-budgetary support in favor of capacity-building internships provided in cooperation with Ifremer, the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea.

The voluntary trust fund for the members of the Legal and Technical Commission and the Finance Committee was established in 2002 to cover the costs of participation of members of the committees coming from developing States and enable the full participation of developing States in the activities of ISA.

The contribution by France brings the total amount contributed to the fund over its lifetime to US$966,464 and the total funds available at this date to US$45,994. The multi-donor trust fund for extra-budgetary support was created in 2019 to attract voluntary contributions from member States and other donors to pay for non-regular activities or activities not funded by the approved budget of ISA. Since its creation, the fund has raised US$1,322,614 and had a net balance of US$758,004 as at 31 December 2020.

“France considers that the Legal and Technical Commission and the Finance Committee are essential for the proper functioning of ISA and wishes to promote the participation of developing States in these organs by contributing to the dedicated voluntary trust funds. France also remains committed to support capacity-building in cooperation with its contractor, Ifremer,” said H.E. Denys Wibaux, French Ambassador and Permanent Representative to ISA.

Mexico’s contribution (US$10,000) will be allocated to the Endowment Fund for Marine Scientific Research. Established in 2006, the Endowment Fund aims at enabling ISA to promote and encourage the conduct of marine scientific research in the Area, including through the development of programmes designed to benefit developing States and technically less developed States.

Building on the key findings of the review commissioned by the Secretariat on the capacity-building initiatives and programmes implemented by ISA as well as the outcomes of the workshop on “Capacity development, needs and resources assessment” held in Kingston in February 2020, and in line with the decision of the Assembly adoption in December 2020 (ISBA/26/A/18), the functioning of the Endowment Fund is currently under review and new terms for its operation should be put in place in 2021. 

Ambassador Juan Gonzalez, Permanent Representative of Mexico to ISA said: “With this contribution, Mexico once again shows its commitment to support and strengthen the work of the International Seabed Authority in the field of marine scientific research and capacity building, for the common welfare of humanity.” [IDN-InDepthNews – 29 January 2021]

Photo credit: International Seabed Authority.

IDN is flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

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