Message from chair no. 8

Soon after taking over the chairpersonship of InterRidge three years ago, I thought the global pandemic will be over in a year or so. However, that outlook was very optimistic as things have not returned to normal. InterRidge which depends heavily on face-to-face meetings and gatherings is being greatly affected by travel restrictions both by air and sea. The InterRidge Office has managed to collect only 60% of the proposed budget during the last three years. Even among those countries that contribute to InterRidge, for many, the possible development of seafloor mineral resources appears to be a selling point, directly or indirectly. As the Chair, these recent developments are concerning, to say the least, and at the same time, raise the question of whether InterRidge (which was created some thirty years ago when member countries had their own ongoing national scientific programs such as RIDGE, RIDGE2000, BRIDGE, Dorsales, InterRidge-Japan) has outlived its lifetime.

Still, I think it is worth going back to the drawing table, to look back at what has been achieved in the past decade (InterRidge Third Decadal Plan 2014-23), and review what objectives have been achieved and what have not, including an assessment of those issues that need further studies. This task can be an opportunity to come up with a new InterRidge decadal scientific plan (2024-33). It will also allow us to change the governance of InterRidge (if necessary) to better manage the international collaboration in our effort to understand ocean basins and adjust to the new set of global circumstances, including new ways to pull together much-needed resources. The Chair intends to announce the timeline for such an effort in the next few months.

Thank you very much for your attention and look for your continued support.


Sang-Mook Lee

Chair of InterRidge

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