Key statements from States – 28/7/22

Date: 28 July 2022

Chile

  • Called for transparency in auditing requesting the Council use the UN auditing system.
  • The delegation expressed their displeasure for the timing of conference centre renovations.
  • They highlighted that relating to program expenses, a report stated that “the council approved a roadmap for the study of the draft regs for exploitation in 2022 which will lead to the finalisation of regs in 2023.” They called for clarification and whether the ISA Secretary General meant to say is that the Council agreed it was necessary to accelerate the work, but that nothing was agreed until everything is agreed.” and they didn’t understand why that line was included.
  • Chile stated that contributions from all members of the authority are of equal value.
  • The delegation stated the importance of considering ecosystem services.

Italy

  • Stated that the ISA is at a critical juncture, so we have a responsibility to make necessary decisions.

Cook Islands

  • Acknowledged the lack or presence of other PSID sponsoring State and note that all perspectives should be presented, asking that that their request be taken into consideration.

Brazil

  • The delegation stated that the promotion of marine research in the Area, is one of the ISA’s main priorities and without this knowledge we do not have a clear idea of the consequences of the mining code and exploitation. Without a clear idea of consequences we cannot make the proper decisions.
  • The delegation also called to increase literacy of ISA members, especially developing countries stating that we need to understand more and need more scholars, more stakeholders, more experts, more exchange of knowledge and ideas. They stated that increasing public knowledge and general deep sea literacy is key. The delegation stated that “We have to make an effort to make this more clear for the whole society to be informed about what we are doing, what are the consequences, what are the limits, the difficulties & challenges”

Costa Rica

  • Costa Rica agreed with other delegates on the importance of seeing the Authority manifest austerity. It is not the right time to support the creation of new, non essential positions.
  • The delegation also reiterated that we have seen several important proposals on the protection of the marine environment, but there is no study on the environmental costs for mining. They stated that this was something agreed upon in March and requested that this be added to the budget, replacing non essential expenditure.
  • The delegation called for the Council to work from documents that the included all comments and not only those of the members of council dating from 2019.
  • Costa Rica responded to the LTC Chair who told the Council that the LTC do not identify contractors not fulfilling obligations, stating that ultimately Council has responsibility for deciding if a contract is extended or not, so think it’s important for the members to know the work of the contractors. Earthworks also called for more transparency and making this information public.
  • Costa Rica stated that the objective of a study on environmental costs of deep-sea mining would be to determine what the value is of what we would be losing. We need to know that there is net benefit to humankind.
  • The delegation called for an inclusive and transparent space wherein scientific experts can work together to define these thresholds.

Ghana (on behalf of the African Group)

  • Stated that the Area and its resources are the Common Heritage of Humankind and exploitation should be carried out for humankind as a whole.
  • The delegation called for any study of environmental costs of deep-sea mining to include valuation of deep sea and services as well as natural capital and cover direct and indirect impacts on seafloor, subsoil and water column, using a low discount rate used for present and future generation. They added that a Separate study to incentivise contractors to exceed legal obligations for marine environmental protection could enhance protection, but goes against polluter pays, which discourages subsidies for environmental protection, and instead requires full internalization.

France

  • Commented “Forgive me but I am lost, which of the documents we are referring to? and later “I don’t understand why we aren’t using the most recent document with all the comments” amid confusion regarding which documents Council were working from.

Belgium

  • The delegation expressed frustration with the process, stating that “it is unfortunate that we are not working with the most recent text available.” The DSCC also expressed disappointment that the full compilation document, reflecting the contributions of all stakeholders, appears to be sidelined suggesting that the massive confusion that has resulted is a direct result of this.

Singapore

  • Pushed back on OceanCare’s call for the ISA to demonstrate that they take women’s inclusion seriously and changing references to ‘mankind’ to ‘humankind’, stating if there are terms used in the convention these should be maintained in the regulations and not be changed
  • The delegation called for an environmental cost study of the impacts of deep-sea mining to include opportunity costs. They also stated that other forms of non-monetary benefits generate value and should be considered.

India

  • Stated that contractors are not only polluters but innovators

Germany

  • Commented that contractors are required to adhere to best environmental practices, but it will be based on the technical abilities of the contractor at the moment of approval. Incentives are to keep improving their technical abilities even after their contract is approved. They stated that contractors who go beyond what is technically required by the contract and should be able to market their goods in a form that is less costly

Trinidad & Tobago

  • Stated that as the area is the common heritage of humankind, every effort should to be taken to ensure best practices are adopted.

Mexico

  • Supported mandatory environmental thresholds and stated that they must be adopted before any exploitation activity.

Argentina

  • The delegation stated that “The establishment of environmental normative thresholds is important for protecting the marine environment as per article 145 of UNCLOS.”

Netherlands

  •  Supported the development of “normative thresholds to effectively protect the marine environment and see it as a priority in development of mining code.”

Nauru

  • Called for contractors should be explicitly mentioned alongside observers and members.
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