KEY STATEMENTS BY STATES – 10.11.22

Date: 10 November 2022

FRANCE

  • France reiterated President Macron’s call at COP27 for a ban on deep-sea mining. Read the full statement here.

COSTA RICA 

  • Congratulated and applauded France for their action. 
  • Oceans are already facing many challenges. We should not put additional pressures on this ecosystem, such as seabed mining, without respecting the effective protection of the marine environment. 
  • Effective protection is a precondition for mining and Costa Rica therefore suggested that the Authority lead an ambitious and strategic scientific programme to ensure there is enough information to assess applications and protection of the environment can be ensured. 
  • Regarding the approval of the NORI Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Costa Rica raised concerns about the contents of the EIS, the submission and publication process, and the inclusion of stakeholder consultation. 
  • The Legal and Technical Commission (LTC) should make public the final EIA, including the way in which comments were taken into account and the detailed process followed for the decision to approve it without rationale. 
  • There need to be consequences for non-compliance and Costa Rica supports the intervention by The Netherlands for the names of the contractors that did not fulfill their contractual obligations to be shared. 
  • Costa Rica also called for the LTC to not use the silence procedure for future substantive issues

CHILE 

  • Congratulated France and do not believe deep-sea mining should happen until there is sufficient science and regulations to guide operations.
  • Regarding the the approval of the NORI EIS, which was approved online through the silence procedure by a small group within the LTC, Chile highlighted that this was a process which generated various reactions including in the international press, questioning procedures not only of the LTC but of the Authority itself.  
  • Chile questioned the use of silence procedure in important decision making – such as the approval of the NORI EIS. This procedure was used during the exceptional circumstances stemming from the COVID pandemic and Chile questioned whether the LTC or the Secretariat ensured that all members of the LTC had read the message on time to obtain consensus on the NORI EIS. 
  • Supports the request made by the Netherlands that the names of the contractors that did not fulfill their contractual obligations to be shared. 

NORWAY 

  • A prohibition against deep-sea mining seems an unfortunate departure from our collective endeavours to complete the mining code and thus achieve our legal obligations under UNCLOS. 
  • Norway shares many of the concerns raised and believes in the objective that mining should not occur without the complete regulations in place. In our view, the best way to achieve this is to continue and to redouble our efforts to finish these regulations. 

GERMANY

  • Welcome the growing momentum towards precaution amongst members of the Authority. It is our responsibility to determine the conditions under which seabed mining could occur.
  • On the NORI EIS – proper public consultation should be mandatory even and especially after an EIS has been substantially revised by a contractor. While NORI’s initial EIS was subject to stakeholder consultation, significant revisions were made to the second and third versions of the EIS without further consultation.
  • Requested that a discussion be held regarding whether it is advisable to use the silence procedure in decision making of such important matters. 
  • Assume that NORI will provide the Authority with all environmental information collected during the mining tests after a reasonable period of time to evaluate the data and this information be made publicly available. 
  • Reiterated call from The Netherlands for the LTC to report back and explicitly mention the names of the contractors that have repeatedly ignored the call from both the Council as well as the LTC to abide by their contractual obligations. 

SINGAPORE

  • Cannot support such a proposal for a complete ban on deep-sea mining.  
  • Each of us should make every effort to develop the best possible exploitation regulations taking into account environmental protection and benefit sharing in the basis of our cooperation and mutual trust. 

PANAMA 

  • Panama reaffirmed their position that they will not support mining without sufficient scientific information. 
  • Support Costa Rica and the need for an independent scientific research programme. 

POLAND

  • Do not understand a complete ban in the Area. 

NEW ZEALAND

  • New Zealand reiterated their call for a conditional moratorium in areas beyond national jurisdiction until regulations can be agreed that ensure the effective protection of the marine environment. 
  • On the NORI EIS, New Zealand raised concerns about the stakeholder consultation process and encouraged Council members and the LTC to review stakeholder requirements. 
  • Raised that it is essential to have transparency on matters of great public interest and the issue of Council members being made aware of a situation through press releases of a contractor rather than the ISA. 

COOK ISLANDS

  • Disappointed by France’s position on a complete ban on deep-sea mining and questioned France’s continued role in the ISA as a council member and their expression contracts. 
  • The Cook Islands remains committed to working collectively and constructively on finalizing the draft expiration regulations with robust environmental standards in line with a firm and responsible precautionary approach. 

BRAZIL 

  • No exploitation should begin before the elaboration and adoption of robust, science-based mining code. 

NAURU 

  • Nauru recognises the need for a robust regulatory framework for the responsible exploitation of seafloor minerals to ensure deep-sea ecosystems are adequately protected. 
  • Remain committed to the conversation on solutions to the global climate crisis, including the sourcing of minerals critical to a low carbon future of which nodule collection, Nauru considers to form an integral part of. 
  • Echoed questions raised by the Cook Islands, including those concerning France’s two exploration contacts.  
  • Supports The Netherlands’ proposal for contractors that have ignored calls by the Council to be named. 

SPAIN

  • We cannot begin exploitation until there are adequate regulations that guarantees the protection of the marine environment in accordance with the precautionary principle. 

RUSSIA 

  • Do not believe we can move into exploitation without robust regulations. 
  • Emphasized that the exploitation of mineral resources should be done in the interests of all countries, including developing countries. 

FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA 

  • Micronesia welcomed points raised about the urgency to protect the ocean & by extension all of humankind and noted that the biodiversity and climate change crises were not in mind when UNCLOS was agreed.
  • Deep-sea mining cannot happen without sufficient scientific information. 

INDIA 

  • Mining should only occur under robust regulations and can only proceed when these regulations are in place. 

ARGENTINA 

  • Wish to continue negotiations to develop a robust framework for the exploitation of the mineral resources in the Area, respecting the protection of the marine environment and the common heritage of mankind. 
  • Echoed concerns by other delegations relating to the use of the silence procedure in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and linked to the decision-making process of the LTC. 

THE NETHERLANDS

  • Drew attention to the LTC annual report which noted that contractors are not complying with standard clauses of their contract. 
  • It is crucial that contractors during the exploration phase abide by their contractual obligations.  
  • Propose that the Council actually name those contractors that have repeatedly ignored the calls from the Council and the LTC to comply with their contractual obligations. 

REPUBLIC OF KOREA 

  • Frustrated to hear of repeated violationd of obligations by contractors. 
  • Want those contractors who have ignored calls by the Council to be named. 

BELGIUM 

  • Regarding the NORI EIS, Belgium questioned whether information was missing from the approved EIS and Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan (EMMP), and raised questions regarding the approval process by the Legal and Technical Commission. 
  • Belgium called for greater transparency and more open information sharing with the Council and the wider public. 
  • Supports The Netherlands’ proposal for contractors that have ignored calls by the Council to be named. 

ITALY 

  • Supported The Netherlands’ proposal for the names of the contractors that did not fulfill their contractual obligations to be shared as a necessary step towards greater transparency. 
  • Italy believes the revised NORI EIS and EMMP should have been released publicly and see merit in releasing the revised EIS for full stakeholder consultation. 
  • Italy requested additional information on the Secretariat’s inspection of NORI’s exploration test, as well as the inspection process.  

PORTUGAL 

  • Stressed the need to ensure transparency in the processes related to the environmental management of the common heritage of humankind. 
  • Called for the NORI EMMP to be disclosed to all stakeholders as soon as possible. 
  • Fully supported The Netherlands’ proposal for contractors that have ignored calls by the Council to be named. 

CANADA

  • Called for a more in-depth discussion on effective control.

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