During the meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea from 13-17 June at UN headquarters in New York, the government of Chile called for a 15 year moratorium on adopting regulations that would open the deep-sea in the international areas of the oceans to large-scale deep-sea mining.
The international Seabed Authority (ISA) is currently engaged in an accelerated process of negotiating regulations to allow deep-sea mining with a view to finalizing and adopted the regulations by July 2023. Chile has called on the 167 countries that are members of the ISA to agree to extend this ‘deadline’ to adopt regulations for another 15 years.
In a written submission to the meeting at the United Nations, Chile urged “That States Parties agree to extend the deadline for the elaboration of such rules, regulations and procedures [for allowing deep-sea mining], contained in subparagraph b of the aforementioned paragraph for a period of 15 years, in order to obtain more evidence and scientific certainty to ensure the protection of the marine environment.”
The submission highlighted the damage that deep-sea mining could cause if allowed to go ahead and the lack of sufficient scientific information to effectively monitor and prevent damage from deep-sea mining. It also pointed out that the global pandemic has prevented a thorough discussion on whether deep-sea mining should be allowed and, if so, under what circumstances.
The Deep Sea Conservation welcomes Chile’s call for a moratorium for the reasons outlined in the submission and is also calling for a review and reform of the ISA, in particular its decision-making structure, to better reflect the obligation in the UN Law of the Sea that the ISA operation “for the benefit of” and “on behalf of” humankind as a whole.
Read the letter in full here.