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5 Aug 2022

Media Release – For Immediate Release

Negotiations to open the ocean to the largest mining operation in human history come to a close as resistance from country delegations, scientists and NGOs escalates. The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition have been present throughout negotiations and call for ISA member States to urgently turn words into action and call on the Authority for a stop to the destructive industry before it starts.

Over the past three weeks negotiations have taken place in a hotel in Kingston, Jamaica to agree a Mining Code which if adopted, would see the Earth’s largest remaining wilderness area opened to large-scale commercial deep-sea mining as soon as next July. Observers including NGOs and scientists have been relegated to a windowless basement room for the duration of the meetings.

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) continued to push ahead with developing regulations for the nascent industry. At the same time, an increasing number of countries emphasised the obligation of the ISA under international law to ensure the effective protection of the international seabed (which accounts for around 50 per cent of the total area of the world’s ocean) from the harmful effects of deep-sea mining activities.

As country delegations took the floor, it became quickly apparent that the tide has begun to turn on the controversial industry in the face of growing awareness of the irreversible and large-scale damage deep-sea mining would have for people and planet, if authorised to go ahead. Numerous countries including Costa Rica, Chile, Spain, Ecuador and Micronesia called for the ISA to hit the brakes on deep-sea mining, highlighting concerns that the world is not in a position to move forward with the emerging industry in the absence of the necessary independent scientific information.

Micronesia also raised the prospect of a moratorium on deep-sea mining for the first time during negotiations, stating that they had joined the Alliance of Countries Calling for a Deep-Sea Mining Moratorium launched by Palau at the UN Ocean Conference. Delegations including New Zealand, Brazil, Singapore and Italy also stated that environmental protection must be guaranteed before deep-sea mining could move forward and numerous States and observers clearly indicated that many of the issues under negotiation at the ISA are far from being resolved. Indeed, Tonga, a sponsoring state of would-be miners, Tonga Offshore Mining Limited owned by The Metals Company, commented that they were concerned by the apparent lack of progress to develop regulations.

Credit: NOAA

Australia, the UK and Nauru, the latter two countries also sponsoring states, reiterated their call to progressing regulations and France stated their determination to adopt “a legal framework with rigorous environmental protections to ensure that harm to ecosystems in the marine environment is minimised.” Conversely, during the UN Oceans Conference at the end of June, President Emmanuel Macron called for a legal framework to stop mining on the high seas.

The clock is ticking on deep-sea mining, due to the triggering of an obscure legal provision known as the 2 year rule by Nauru on behalf of the mining company it sponsors, NORI, also owned by The Metals Company. However, calls grew from observers and numerous States that this timeline may not necessarily lead to mining. Costa Rica consistently highlighted that the rule was triggered during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and Chile called for a full discussion on whether the 2-year timeline was indeed meaningful. The debate however was postponed by the President of the ISA Assembly, squeezing it under what was essentially ‘AOB’. 

Concerns mounted throughout the meetings that the ISA is not transparent, fit for purpose, nor acting on behalf of humankind. Tight restrictions on access were imposed on scientists, NGOs, country delegations and media by the ISA secretariat and some journalists were denied access entirely. On the first day of the meeting, the Secretariat turned off the live web stream, cutting off access to the negotiations to stakeholders including state delegations, many observers and media alike that were unable to attend the meeting. The move prompted significant backlash and eventually led to the live broadcast being switched back on. The Authority’s Secretary General, Michael Lodge also faced demands from Chile for United Nations level independent financial audits and complaints from Costa Rica of failing to show necessary impartiality.  

During the ISA’s Assembly crucial debate on the 2 year rule,  NGOs and scientists were cut off after 3 minutes, with no prior warning. Far from having time limitations, the meeting finished a day and a half early.

“Rather than acting on behalf of all of humankind, the ISA continues to demonstrate a deep-rooted industry driven agenda. Silencing voices that question the path to extraction, including NGOs and scientists, during negotiations illustrates the Authority’s clear and inherent conflict of interest.”

Emma Wilson, representing OceanCare throughout negotiations

In recent months, deep-sea mining has become a flagship issue for ocean health with  governments, Parliamentarians, scientists, civil society, companies, fisheries associations and huge swathes of the public all calling for an urgent stop to the destructive industry. The DSCC continues to urge ISA member States to call on the Authority for a stop to the destructive industry and to prioritise planetary health for present and future generations. 

“A growing number of countries are beginning to challenge the arcane rules under which the ISA operates, and reject assertions that the world needs to mine the deep-sea to build batteries for electric vehicles. What is needed is more responsible land-based mining practices, investment in circular economy initiatives, and to make much better use of the metals and materials we already have in circulation rather than opening a whole new frontier of the planet to destructive industrial resource extraction”.   

Matthew Gianni, representing Earthworks at negotiations

“ISA member States are waking up to the critical need to defend the deep in the face of what would be an environmental catastrophe, the likes of which we have never seen. It’s time for States to go further and join the alliance of countries calling for a moratorium on deep-sea mining, launched by Palau.” 

Duncan Currie, Deep Sea Conservation Coalition 
4 Aug 2022

Belgium

  • Noted no consensus on the proposal to allow contractors observer status.
  • Stated that the delegation are all for inclusivity, “but for efficiency, it is good for member states AND observers who work with joint statements or to work together in any other way so that was the gist of my comment”
  • On the two year rule: “During part 1 and part 2 of the Council this year. Some progress has been made on the exploitation regulations but the task ahead is enormous. We should continue the work in a structured and efficient manner. The adoption of royalty mechanism threshold and standards, regional environmental plans and financing are only 2 of them.”
  • “The regulations should be based on the precautionary approach which does not allow for artificial deadlines. The likely outcome is that at the end of the 2 year period this will not be done. Legal uncertainty is something we do not need. The stakes for mankind are too high. We look forward to the November discussion on the what if scenario. As seen in the roadmap we agreed upon in December 2021.”
  • On the next assembly meeting – “It will be a bit strange that we will be holding 2 weeks of council meetings after the deadline has passed. Lots of interventions where a lot of possible legal questions have been raised. Council should meet prior to the deadline. Another two weeks might be necessary to advance even more.”

Chile 

Made the following statement on the two year rule:

  • As we have already mentioned several times including during the council meeting last week actually expresses its concern as to the activation of paragraph 15 of Section One of the agreement”
  • The request, presented by Nauru into 2020 at one of the worst times internationally of the Pandemic has pushed us to a situation that is unprecedented and there are different interpretations as to how to interpret subparagraph C of this paragraph”
  •  We consider that it’s necessary that the assembly as a supreme organ where all the states parties take part on an equal footing can consider and deliberate this topic.
  • There is no better forum than this one, to be able to express ourselves and listen to one another.
  •  And therefore it seems surprising that more than half of the member states are not present today in this room. 
  • To our mind, there are a couple of questions we need to ask ourselves. 
  • Are we really willing to allow the beginning of underwater mining without having to protect the common heritage of mankind? And under that hypotheses, could we look our children into the eye and show them that we have done everything that was possible to defend this heritage? 
  • A week ago, 161 votes four and eight against the UN approved a resolution that states that all beings have the right to a healthy environment. 
  • The contractors that wish to begin activities underwater can they assure us that with their activities we will have a healthy environment and that the submarine ecosystem must suffer severe damage? No they can’t. It’s us. 
  • We who are gathered in this room are called upon to protect the common heritage of mankind, as established by the convention.
  •  And many experts have indicated in all languages, that the scientific knowledge is still insufficient, and that we have a very limited understanding of the effects of the potential exploitation activities on the seabed, and particularly as to the role of the seabed as a carbon sink, and therefore, some of these actions could have devastating consequences on the marine ecosystems and could release untold greenhouse gases into the atmosphere pushing us further away from the objectives of the Paris Agreement. 
  • Are we willing to be accomplices to the unknown and irreparable damages that deep sea mining might cause?
  •  My delegation can only respond on behalf of Chile The answer is no. 
  • As a signatory country, Chile wishes to continue the negotiating process to reach solid rules on exploitation that are solid holistic and protect the seabed but we do not agree that these tasks be carried out by implementing an insufficient deadline or timeline. 
  • This is why Chile is respectfully calling upon this assembly to consider carefully the situation and cooperation with the organs of the authority,  take decisions based on science based on the cautionary approach and with an eye towards sustainability.
  •  As we have already indicated Chile considers it necessary that the authority continue to work towards developing the regulations but without any pressure. 
  • This is why and based on the mandate and powers conferred upon us by articles 151 53 157 161 62 of UNCLOS we suggest the idea that we establish a cautionary pause of 15 years, a period during which we cannot approve plans for exploitation. And this will allow us to continue to work in a serious and responsible way towards developing the exploitation rules that we all wish for. 
  • We need to discuss this idea amongst others which is why Chile will try to create spaces for a dialogue at the highest level during the next meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations in September in order to continue searching for alternatives which ensure a real commitment towards conservation and the health of oceans in the long run. And we also hope to continue the dialogue in November with the members of the council. 
  • We make an appeal to all the member states to commit themselves towards the authority and to work hand in hand to bring our positions closer and find the best solution to move forward and leave the standstill and devote our energies towards crafting the best regulations that we can whether this takes 15,20 or any number of years necessary.
  • Chile also proposed to bring forward the meeting of the Assembly to the first quarter and if necessary to meet in July, stating that delegates would only need to pay for 2.5 days.

Italy 

  • Stated that “we are strongly committed to a sustainable science based use of marine natural resources, for the preservation of the ecosystems integrity and to the creation of an institutional regulatory framework for the exploitation of the mineral resources of the area using scientific knowledge, the precautionary principle and the ecosystem based approach.”
  • “Italy shapes its own mining culture based on sustainability throughout the lifespan of the mind from research to environmental restoration. We believe this should also apply to seabed mining activities. In this context deep sea mining should not commence as we stated also previously, until we prove prior to the authorization exploitation contracts, strong regulatory framework, ensure that the environmental effects associated with activities in the area do not create detriment to deep sea ecosystems.”

New Zealand 

  • New Zealand considered the discussion on 2 year rule important and thanked Chile for proposing it.
  • “We are focused on developing regulations that ensure environmental protection and need to discuss what happens next. New Zealand consider paragraph 15 of the 1994 agreement does not require the council to approve the regulation or a plan of work. It requires the council to adopt those regulations eventually. And if they are not up to the mark environmentally the council should not adopt them. We are committed to protecting our ocean.”

Costa Rica

Costa Rica made the following statement on the 2 year rule:

  • Costa Rica is concerned about the way in which due to the triggering by one delegation of the so called two year rule, there’s an effort to constrain and oblige states to, in a haphazard way come up with a legal framework, which is of the utmost importance when speaking about the exploitation regulations.
  •  Many of the provisions are still at the fledgling stage, we need to be very clear that annex one paragraph 15 is a legal recourse established in the implementation agreement. However, this is one of the many matters in which our legal framework is not clear and is liable to be interpreted in two ways. Firstly, the rule indicates in a) that the council may undertake such an elaboration of rules, regulations and procedures needed for the development of activities in the area in two scenarios. 
  1. Anytime the council deems that all or any of such rules, regulations and procedures are required for the conduct of activities in the area
  2.  Or a request of a state, whose national intends to apply for an approval of a plan of work?
  • Those are the two alternate options. So in this situation, the council had already used alternate option one we had already undertaken the drafting of the regulation for exploitation since July 2019. This gives rise to our first debt. If the article speaks about alternative options, then is it legally viable to resort to the second option when the council has already started the elaboration of regulations in 2019, using the first alternative.
  •  Now to turn to our second doubt, and that is the validity of resorting to the two year rule in the midst of a pandemic, when it was practically impossible to advance in our deliberations much less conclude deliberations. 
  • My deviation would question that validity firstly, because in triggering the two year rule, we did so using none of the rationale for which this was included in the text. 
  • If we read the relevant text, it’s noted that this article is included for it to cover two situations. 
  • Firstly, a state is ready to start exploitation and negotiations of the regulations have not yet begun. That was not the case. 
  • Second scenario is a state is ready to exploit and in the context of the negotiations a stalemate has been reached. Neither does that apply. 
  • We are wondering about the legal validity also because although UNCLOS doesn’t speak to what happens in cases of force majeure, there is a principle that all lawyers learn at the outset of learning of studying the law. 
  • That is ‘nobody is obliged to do the impossible.’ As such, can timeline be triggered when there is force majeure that impedes its fulfilment? My delegation believes not.
  • There are many other matters on which we have very little legal certainty. For example, paragraph C of the article states that if the two year rule elapses and the council has not finished developing the rules and there is a pending plan of action for exploitation, the council may approve that plan of work on a provisional basis.
  • Therefore, what happens if the two years elapsed and that plan of work has not been submitted? In this case, there would not be a pending request. Does that mean that the timeframe elapses and must be reactivated or triggered again, if there is a pending request. What does it mean to provisionally adopt or approve it? In the provisional law of treaties, it speaks of temporality… therefore, could, the council decide to approve it in a short timeframe, while work on the regulations goes on. What type of rights does provisional granting or approval give it? What steps must be taken by contractors to fulfil their obligations vis a vis  the definitive regulations once they have been adopted from approved if the approved initial approval was provisional?
  • There are many more doubts than areas of clarity and this is really open to misinterpretation. Perhaps it might be worth addressing these questions to the body that implements our legal framework. Namely ITLOS In addition, as previously stated, Costa Rica believes that legally speaking, there is no obligation to conclude the negotiations in two years. Firstly, because this very article says that the timeframe can lapse without regulations having been elaborated.
  • Also, because there are principles at play here that we as humanity must apply the precautionary approach. 
  • There are principles at play here namely that when there is nature should be given the benefit of that doubt. And here we are referring to article 145 of the Convention, which imposes on us an obligation to effectively protect the marine environment from the harm that may derive from activities in the area. 
  • Exploration has occurred in less than 1% of the deep seabed
  • We know hardly anything about the marvellous species that live there. And if we don’t know anything about them, how can we protect them? Without the necessary information for establishing baselines without having the knowledge on the effects that mining will have on species but also on the carbon that is captured at the seabed that could be released into the environment, it is impossible to develop rules, regulations and procedures which will allow the LTC to assess plans of work in fulfilment of their obligations under the convention. 
  • Therefore, Costa Rica believes that there is a need to implement a precautionary pause we should use the last eight years that remain of the UN Decade of ocean science to promote and finance marine scientific research that will allow us to gain knowledge with regard to what is at the deep seabed before we take actions that will cause irreversible harm. 
  • This is an immense responsibility and is on all of our shoulders. As a result ,we cannot achieve all of this in one year, two year or five years. We need time to do it properly. And as the proverb says, better to do things properly done with haste. 

On bringing forward the Assembly meeting:

  • “In line with what was said by Chile. When we were speaking about the 2-year rule which has to be complied with by next summer. It’s an important issue to be discussed, if it cannot be discussed now. If the next assembly session is in July, it will be quite late. Therefore, it’s vital for us that we have an opportunity to discuss this as an Assembly not just as a council before July. whether in the form of an extraordinary season in April or a regular session in July or move the session in april and then convene an extraordinary session in July. Either is fine with us.”
  • “Costa Rica is gravely concerned that we are simply told that it is complicated to respond to a request by a state party. We are the authority. We should not simply be told that things are not complicated. In December 2021 – a meeting was arranged in 2 months with venue and interpreter.” 
  • “We are a little surprised that we are simply told that things are complicated. It was more complicated in July. We have not had the chance to discuss a very important issue. Very complicated to prepare a report in 8 months. There should be reports that we can present in July and have a special assembly to present. And not just have the argument that it is complicated because we know it is very important.”
  • On cutting off observers: “Cutting off abruptly the observers is not ideal. It’s not like we have reached 6 pm on Friday and we have to finish. I would like to apologise to the observers because I want to hear what they have to say.”

Cuba

  • Thanked the delegation of Chile for the proposal with regard to continuing to hold discussions on 2 year rule. They also stated “We need to continue the negotiations of the exploitation regulations.”

Australia

  • “Australia respects that in activating the 2-year trigger, Nauru was exercising their rights under international law. There is a considerable amount of work to do on the regulations.  Australia is committed to finalize the regulations and associated instruments by July next year. We want to meet the deadlines on 1994 agreement.”

Russia

  • “We need to think well, not procrastinate, so not be excessively slow. I would like to thank Costa Rica for a solid legal remark which was very well founded. We also agree with the message that in the case of a dispute we would need to refer the issue to the ITLOS.”

Spain

Made the following statement on the two year rule:

  • We have said that the matter of the 2 year rule is concerning for us. That is because it is a Damocles sword that is hanging over us. The time has come for us to decide something. There are legal arguments pro and anti this proposal.It would be very sad if the LTC was obliged to recommend the approval of a plan of work when provisions are not finalized. However there are other provisions for example Art 15 which allow interested states to express their interest in progressing to an exploitation phase.
  • In my view, there are too many legal uncertainties. Therefore, I support what was said by the delegations who took the floor before me. Perhaps it would not be inappropriate to resort to the ITLOS and ask for an advisory opinion, an advisory opinion that would not be made immediately it would be issued when plans have been discussed because general countries aren’t ready to present exploit exploitation plans and so it could be referred to ITLOS when necessary. So we would reiterate the need to find a consensus based solution
  • Here we are dealing with a common good. I’m a diplomat and there are many diplomats here and it’s important that the spirit that we engage in these discussions is to try and find a compromise solution and compromise between the authority, the interested state, other states represented. 
  • So perhaps as those who have spoken before me, we can agree on a pause because article 15 clearly says that the council, and speaking of paragraph C, must ‘consider’ 
  • But ‘consider’ does not mean that the council is obliged to approve. On the other hand, if provisional approval is granted, well, provisional is the key word provisional until there are adequate regulations governing a mining code. So, approval would be definitive from that point on, but provisional would not necessarily mean approval to exploit.

Nauru

  • “We are clear. We propose to  reconsider the new agenda item given the limited time Chile submitted this for the consideration of the Assembly.”

Ecuador

The delegation made the following statement:

  • “Ocean covers roughly 70% of the surface of our planet. And they host more than 80% of the forms of life that exists. 
  • The oceans without a deal to generate are roughly 50% of the oxygen necessary to our life and our fundamental to capture co2 and the heat that this generates. 
  • Moreover, we consider that the oceans are a source of food security, but they protect us against the effects of climate change and are the lung that maintains our Earth and makes it healthy and makes it possible to exercise our rights to life, health, water, nutrition, and of course, the right to a balanced, healthy environment. 
  •  I believe that right now we are not ready. We need to be aware of this and precisely uphold these principles stemming from UNCLOS. If we act with haste, we could put ourselves in irreversible situations affecting the marine environment and its ecosystems
  • We agree with article 145 of UNCLOS which we’ll see clearly establishes specified parameters for the particular for the protection of the marine environment of the area
  • This should be respected and global efforts should aim at protecting oceans appropriately by 2030 using mechanisms of regional alliances which strengthens the migratory routes, the cycles of reproduction and  the resources of the seabed
  • We therefore are grateful for the proposal of Chile, we support this initiative to postpone the timeline that has been supported by others and continue the debate.”

South Africa

  • On the two year rule and referring the matter to ITLOS: “The stakes are very high compared to the stakes in 2011. So the question now is, why are we hesitant if we are in referring this matter to ITLOS for an advisory opinion, when the stakes are high, whereas when the stakes were not as high as this high in 2011, we managed to do that and we did receive a good advisory opinion.”

Singapore

  • Stated that: “We recognize that without robust scientific knowledge, deep-sea mining poses risks of irreversible damage. In the absence of safeguards, DSM should not proceed. We note the invoking of the 2 year rule. A year before this deadline remains. If and when deep-sea mining happens there must be a robust safeguard. We are committed to developing an environmentally robust legal framework and ensure DSM is consistent with IL including rules procedures and regulations of the ISA.”

Kiribati 

  • “Regarding the proposal made by Chile…our capital needs better consultation on this proposal. We request we are not in a position to support this proposal. Could we discuss the inclusion of this item in the next meeting.”

Pakistan

  • “Having heard these arguments on the Chilean proposal – we need universally accepted regulations that ensure the protection of the marine environment and this requires time. We also know that some seek financial advantages with DSM. However we need time to achieve meaningful regulations.”

Argentina

  • “The position of our country is of commitment. After 2 years of suspension of negotiation for the exploitation of resources in the area we consider we should not postpone for an indefinite time. 
  • We should respect however the time needed for a good framework. It is also important to work for a regime that gives us legal certainty and guarantees.
  • Considering the level of importance and specifically there are technical environmental and financial challenges that should be considered taking into account DSM needs to take into account best practices and Ca respect for CHM. We should also figure out royalty systems. 
  • We understand there is legal uncertainty regarding the 2 year clause and its consequences. We need more time for studying possible scenarios in case we do not succeed in adopting regulations in 2 years.”

UK

  • Suggested deciding whether to bring forward the next Assembly meeting in the November Council session.
3 Aug 2022

Trinidad and Tobago

  • The delegation stated that “Speed should not take precedence over quality. Regulations should not be adopted in an attempt to meet a deadline.”

Holy See

  • The Holy See stated that “The words of Pope Francis are pertinent here as well. And I quote, since everything is closely interrelated and today’s problems call for a vision capable of taking into account every aspect of the global crisis, I suggest that we consider some elements of an integral ecology, one which clearly respects its human and social dimensions.”

Chile

  • Chile stated that “for reasons of transparency that auditing should not be monopolised by one firm. Chile requests that the Assembly should make a decision, as recommended by Finance Committee, a UN board of auditors be used. More will have to be paid to do so.  Chile would like to see reduction in expenses to allow more funding to hire UN board of auditors and respond to transparency requirements called for by taxpayers.”
  • The Secretary General stated that “the audit for this year 2022 will be carried out by Ernst & Young, who have already been appointed as the auditor and the contract in place.”
  • Chile stated on their proposal for a discussion on the two year rule that their proposal “is subject to discussion and some countries have objected, such as Tonga and Nauru. Under the rules of procedure we believe a secret vote would go against what we aspire to. Chile would like to evoke article 12 as established practice for issues which are urgent and important. This is an important and urgent item.”
  • On Belgium’s proposal (detailed below), Chile stated that contractor “motives are very different to most of the other observers whose primary objective is to think about common heritage.”

Monaco

  • Stated that capacity development is an obligation, not a choice. “Capacity building and training are extremely important because they are currently insufficiently implemented.
    The realization of the objective of sustainable exploitation of the area will depend on our level of scientific knowledge. Without solid scientific basis, no action is possible in that realm.”
  • They added that “The Principality of Monaco will play its role to the full because capacity development requires adequate implementation of indeed the legal order we’re defining in order to facilitate exploitation that is safe in the area with regard to resources on the ecosystems.”

Senegal

  • Stated “The richness of the area involves an obligation to preserve and protect this common heritage of mankind. Activities undertaken in the area of scientific research in the area, as well as exploration exploitation call for thorough knowledge, with a view to having sustainable development of the deep sea.”
  • They added that “Today in the fisheries sector it’s worth recognizing the existence of fishing techniques that have negative consequences on the deep seabed. On this point we support the implementation of REMPS.”

Belgium

  • Belgium Introduced “proposed amendments to the Rules of Procedure – this rule stipulates who can participate as an observer in the Assembly and the Council of the Assembly”
  • The delegation proposed that “contractors be given the same rights as observers as NGOs and civil society.”
  • Belgium also stated “We encourage the NGOs also to associate themselves to increase the efficiency of the meetings.”

Australia

  • Stated that “this may risk a conflict of interest in ISA processes.”
  • “We recognise that there is currently no industry group representing DSM, but there is no obstacle to one being formed.”

Russia

  • The Russian federation supported Belgium’s proposal on contractors.

Argentina

  • Stated that they had doubts on the Belgian proposal and that in the Authority there is special representation of the States that have carried out the greatest efforts for development of activities in area and therefore their interests are already represented. They also raised questions on the potential conflicts of interest and stated “We are not in favour of including contractors as observers in the interests of the Authority.”

Tonga

  • Stated that they are not supporting Belgium’s proposal but do do see merit in the proposals and would be interested in the proposals from Australia and the Netherlands.

Canada

  • Stated that “maybe we should consider the possibility that the contractor intervenes individually, therefore with an amendment to the rules of procedure.”

Pakistan

  • Stated that “contractors must not be given the right to speak as individuals, given the stakes they hold in the discussion.

Nauru

  • Noted the above proposal and supported it.

Italy

  • Shared concerns about possible conflicts of interest regarding Belgium’s proposal.

UK

  • Stated with regard to the Belgium proposal – “We acknowledge the point made by observers and note that they all have their own policy positions as well in relation to the interventions which they make as well.”
2 Aug 2022

Costa Rica

  • On the ISA’s award for deep sea research, Costa Rica highlighted that the ISA should recognise young people but to also listen to them, remain in contact with them, to take very seriously their contributions and heed closely with what they are telling us. The delegation highlighted Dr Diva Amon who “continues to contribute in note worthy manor.”
  • Called for the achievement of UN standards in transparency and accountability by the ISA and that it would also be appropriate for the Authority to to adopt and implement the Standards of Conduct for International Civil Service, as done by all United Nations organizations.
  • On financial matters, they highlighted that the Voluntary Fund for Extra-budgetary Support for the Authority was not mentioned in the report, which received almost two million dollars, with a balance now of about 700,000. “We do not know the governance scheme of this fund, nor where the expenses it covers are reported, but it seems to us that for the sake of transparency information should be published on all the funds that the ISA receives.”
  • They also highlighted worrying comments by the Secretary General stating: Costa Rica would like to mention that when the Secretary General participates in events on behalf of the Authority, the audiences presume that his statements represent the opinion of the States Parties to the ISA. That is why we have been very concerned about two situations that have occurred in the last year.
  • The first situation occurred in June 2022, when in the framework of the Meeting of States Parties of UNCLOS, the Secretary-General communicated to the UN General Assembly: “the endorsement by consensus of a roadmap for accelerated work on the draft exploitation regulations with a view to adopt the regulations by July 2023”. This assertion is, to say the least, inaccurate.
  • The other event that worries my delegation is in a video on YouTube about an activity of the University of Singapore, where Secretary Lodge appears in it and criticised the current negotiators, saying that there are, and I quote “extreme ideological positions, including a growing environmental absolutism and dogmatism, bordering on fanaticism”. We do not know who the SG was referring to in this video, but we find  his statements extremely inappropriate, even more so when, one of the obligations of the Authority,  for many the main obligation, is to ensure the effective protection of the marine environment, so all ISA officials should celebrate and support the efforts and demonstrations that serve to fulfil this mandate.
  •  The delegation also highlighted that it was not indicated in the Secretary General’s report that Tuvalu withdrew sponsorship from this company, since Tuvalu notified this to the Secretariat in April, and the date of the report is the end of May.
  • They also added that “almost all the delegations that have taken the floor speak about the importance of complying with the effective protection and preservation of the marine environment in accordance with Article 145 of UNCLOS. But the only way to comply with protection and preservation obligations is by not starting exploitation until there is enough scientific evidence to be able to make informed decisions when evaluating a plan of work.”
  • “Some will say that all mining poses risks to the environment. That is true. But seabed mining in the Area is something very different: it is the only resource we govern as an international community snd it is the only resource in human history that we have the opportunity to regulate before we begin exploiting it. That is why we have the enormous responsibility to do good and get it right, taking all the necessary time before exploiting it.”
  • “That is why Costa Rica believes that because we are responsible for the Common Heritage of Humankind, for our peoples and for future generations, we must act with caution.That caution requires us to implement a precautionary delay with regard to starting exploitation activities.”
  • “Article 15 does not mean that our only option is to approve a plan. The same rules provides for the possibility for a decision not being taken. There are several legal options that we should be able to discuss among all States and Observers. That is the idea behind Chile’s proposal, which reiterates a request from 9 Latin American and Caribbean countries in November 2021 to have a space for discussion.”
  • “We cannot ignore that we are far from completing the Regulations and the Standards and Guidelines, also we have pending the operationalization of the Enterprise and the Economic Planning Commission. Neither are we close to reaching an agreement on the financial mechanism, where we have not agreed on the model, nor the royalties, nor do we have the study on environmental costs that was agreed to be carried out by consensus.”
  •  “As representatives of our countries and of humanity, we have an immense responsibility that fate has placed in our hands. My delegation will continue to work constructively with all delegations to advance our work in the right direction. But that direction should not be decided on the basis of the economic interests of a few. We must be guided by the principle of the Common Heritage of Humankind and the precautionary principle.  Our efforts today to conserve the marine environment will determine the world in which future generations will live.”

Jamaica

  • The delegations stated that Jamaica benefits in real ways from ISA and Secretary General as a host country.

Nigeria

  • The delegation highlighted that Africa is highly underrepresented in this Secretariat in senior leadership positions and called for this imbalance to be addressed.
  • Stated that the ISA is meaningfully contributing to SDGs. This claim was made by numerous State delegations throughout the day including Malta, Philippines, Bangladesh, Morocco, Nauru, Italy, India, Algeria, Senegal Argentina and Kiribati.
  • The DSCC stated that this is wholly not the case, and amounted to spin. Deep-sea mining is entirely inconsistent with SDG 14, which requires that States conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

South Africa

  •  Stated that the biggest challenge for ISA is balancing the conflicting obligations, which are the exploitation activities of mineral resources in a sustainable manner, and effective protection of marine environment from harmful effects, which may arise from such activities.
  • South Africa also stated that the precautionary and polluter pays principle must also be taken into consideration.
  • They also raised concerns as to how fair and equitable benefit sharing will be realized, calling for a payment regime that balances commercial interests with a fair and equitable return to the common heritage of humankind.
  • South Africa stated that without the Enterprise, the area’s mineral resources could be effectively reserved for those private corporations to the effective exclusion of the developing countries.

Japan

  • Japan commented that the “deep sea is extremely fragile, and once destroyed, it takes a long time to recover and the protection of the marine environmental area of utmost importance.” They continued that it is essential to develop robust, high quality rules that contribute to both the “sound exploitation and the protection of the marine environment.”
  • The delegation added that “In so doing, we must seek the consensus of all parties concerned and make every effort to otherwise substantive discussions. This is easy to say that difficult to do.”

China

  • Called to “protect the contractual rights and exploitation motivations of contractors while effectively protecting the marine environment.”

Monaco

  • The delegation stated that the annual report of the Secretary General “comes at a time of great change at a geopolitical social and economic level, where the attention given to the ocean as a reservoir of biological and mineral resources has no comparison to the battle that is waged on the cost of the exploitation, both from the economic, and environmental point of view, and the more or less imminent nature of this exploitation.”
  • They added “What is occurring now, pertaining to the resources of the area is just a race in which each decision matters, this race, whose outcome is, I’m sure, will probably decide on the future of our planet. But this race, we still have ways to win it for the benefit of the area thanks to the scientific community whose work allows us to measure the progress of the degradation by mining, as well as the resilient capacity of oceans.”

Malta

  • Called to to “base our actions including the ISA’s work upon what science tells us is the best is in the best interests of our planet and humanity as a whole” and that “public information and outreach are vital in all our work.”

Singapore

  • Urged the Secretariat to continue to find ways to strengthen the voting and governance.

New Zealand

The New Zealand delegation made the following statement:

  • “Deep-sea mining has the potential to cause irreversible changes to this environment and could have a significant impact on the biodiversity within it. As such it is essential that any mining code adopted above all ensures the effective protection of the marine environment.”
  • “This is required under Article 145 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and must be our collective bottom line in these negotiations. As outlined in the council last week, New Zealand’s view is that mining cannot and should not take place in the absence of strong environmental safeguards. This must include robust and comprehensive regulations that embed the precautionary approach such that mining cannot take place, unless there is effective protection of the marine environment.”
  • “New Zealand jointly with Costa Rica, Chile, the Netherlands, the UK and the Federated States of Micronesia put forward a proposal in March which is designed to encode article 145 of UNCLOS into the draft regulations. The proposal aims to fill a gap in the Commission’s decision making process by introducing a new stage requiring the commission to make a substantive determination on whether an application to mine gives rise to a risk of harm to the marine environment. We consider that such a decision making stage is vital to ensure compliance with article 145 and we were pleased to see this proposal included in the various drafts of the regulations released by the facilitators of the working groups this week.”
  • “Finally, we would like to touch briefly on the two year rule, and what this means looking forward in negotiations. New Zealand agrees with those that have expressed the view that paragraph 15 of Section One of the annex to the 1994 agreement does not require the council to adopt exploitation regulations at the end of the two year period. Nor does it require the council to automatically approve a plan of work at that time. Rather, this provision requires the council to make best endeavours to complete regulations within the prescribed timeframe. If that work remains unfinished at the two year deadline, if the regulations do not ensure the effective protection of the marine environment we consider the council is not required to adopt them. It is New Zealand’s view that in these circumstances, mining beyond national jurisdiction should not proceed.”
  • “We would also like to briefly add our support for the proposal made by Chile during yesterday’s session regarding the addition of an agenda item under which discussion on the two year rule could take place in the Assembly. We consider this discussion to be an important one and one that should be open to all ISA members.”

Spain

The delegation stated that:

  • “Protecting and preserving the marine environment is a priority for many delegations and reflects the environmental awareness that exists on national and international levels that we cannot ignore.”
  • “Secondly, at the UN Oceans Conference in Lisbon, many delegations recall that there was a lack of scientific certainty with regard to the environmental impact of deep sea mining, and that there is a need to protect biodiversity, beyond national jurisdiction. Therefore, we believe that as a precaution, The time has come to take a break. This break will serve to slow down the transition to the phase of exploiting mineral resources in the area without diminishing exploration activities, which should continue. As we have said on many occasions, the goal of exploring should be to gain knowledge and protect in a better way.”
  • “We believe that pursuant to Article 145 of the convention, the two year rule does not oblige us to move to the exploitation phase. If environmental guarantees are not adequate, and not while addressing only economic or market based factors.”
  • “The existence of a protective and appropriate regulatory framework that ensures true protection prior to any authorization of exploitation contracts is for Spain a fundamental course of action that we will always ask to be respected.”
  • The delegation also stated that “The interaction between the BBNJ process and the exploitation regulations is clear.”

Russia

  • The Russian delegation stated that “we have made progress on many points of contention over the past year, but there is a lot that needs to be done. The drafting and approval of a document as fundamental to the activities as the regulations on exploitation require a very careful and responsible approach, avoiding taking hasty, not fully thought through decisions. Careful consideration should be given to all issues particularly those relating to the protection of the marine environment, including the assessment of possible impact and the setting of threshold values.”

Bangladesh

  • Bangladesh stated that “Draft regulations and standards progressing but need to move forward.”

Lesotho

  • The delegation stated that “States have obligation to protect and preserve marine environment including in Area, control pollution, not only in national jurisdiction, and also pollution from land-based sources.”

France

  • France stated that “After the Lisbon conference which launched a warning  call with regard to the health of oceans, France is determined to act and adopt a legal framework with rigorous environmental protections to ensure that harm to ecosystems in the marine environment is minimised.”
  • On the two year rule, they stated that “In this regard, France stresses that it has never interpreted the triggering of the two year rule in June 2021 to mean an adaptation of the mining code by 2023 as being an obligation on the council to automatically and provisionally agree all work plans that will be submitted beyond that date. France’s priority is to take the time necessary to define this multilateral legal framework, which should be robust and should offer protection. It should be enforceable for all states.”
  • They added that “There is a particular responsibility on our shoulders. We know now that the destiny of humanity linked to oceans, to the sustainable development of their resources and absolute requirement of respect for the marine environment. Let’s be up to the task that has been given to us.”

Burkina Faso

  • The delegation stated that “This year we’re commemorating UNCLOS’ 40th anniversary however our planet has never before confronted so many challenges. The global climate crisis that has come to bear in recent years through episodes of, intense and recurrent droughts, soil degradation, devastating floods, ocean acidification and rising sea levels reminds of the need to exercise close control of activities at sea in general; but on the high seas in particular.  Since the health of our planet is inexplicably  linked to health of our oceans, this control is so more necessary than ever.”

Nauru

  • Stated “Let us continue to work collectively constructively to finalize a world class ISA mining code. We have a window of opportunity to support the development of a sector that we consider has the real potential to help accelerate our energy transition to realize financial and other economic benefits for the international community as a whole flowing from the principle of the common heritage of mankind, to contribute to a sustainable development agenda and a sector that is subject to a unique robust oversight mechanism through ISA and sponsoring states.”

Netherlands

  • Reiterated “the importance for the authority to continue broadcasting live on the ISA Web TV, the meetings of the assembly and the council, including the informal working groups of the Council on the various elements of the exploitation regulations.”
  • They also agreed with States and observers that mentioned that paragraph 15 of annex to the 1994 Agreement doesn’t require Council to adopt regulations if Council deems they aren’t yet fit for purpose. In absence of such regulations, we believe exploitation activities shouldn’t commence and that the rules don’t require Council to automatically approve plan of work.

Chile

  • Reminded delegates of an earlier letter, dated October 13 of last year, ISBA/26/47 where together with the delegations of Argentina, Bahamas, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guyana, Jamaica, Panama, Dominican Republic, and Trinidad and Tobago, Chile stated that it was important to finish developing an effective regulatory framework framework before the exploitation activities begin in order to guarantee that UNCLOS and the agreement would be taken into account.
  • They stated that “It is hard for us to believe that those who negotiated that agreement, did it believing that one day it would be interpreted in the manner in which certain contractors want to interpret it. That is to say, please the interests of a few above the interests of all of mankind.”
  • They added that “I hope that in November, the convention centre will be available since the treatment given to the rest of our delegations and the observers who did not fit in this room and who travelled from far afield was not the best.”
  • Chile also stated that “We are very far from having a serious responsible and regulation based on the consensus which is the only regulation that our countries deserve as well as the future generations that we all accountable to, which is why we cannot continue our work under pressure. Exploiting seabeds without adequate regulations will be feast today and famine in the future.”

UK

  • Stated that “We recall original deadline of exploitation regulations was 2020, but that has been extended. Welcome the progress that has been made. We are grateful for those taking the work forward. We Believe it’s essential that the authority makes use of the year ahead and potentially up to six weeks of meetings with the Council to take forward the important work on the elaboration of a commercially viable code, which has the strongest levels of environmental protection within it with the precautionary principle at its heart.”

Italy

  • The delegation said “To proceed to the exploitation of mineral resources in the area, increasingly subject to a sparkling debate in the global public opinion, the Authority is called to a growing effort of transparency and involvement of civil society.”
  • Italy stated “We should aim for the creation of an institutional and regulatory system based on sound scientific knowledge on the precautionary principle and on the ecosystem based approach. Again, we underline that deep sea mining should not commence until an adequate regulatory framework ensures the minimization of impacts of the exploitation prior to the authorization of exploitation contracts.”
  • They also highlighted that there will be “Period of intense work in upcoming sessions, and we believe that conclusion of these negotiations should not hinder quality of regulation, particularly the need for highest levels of protection for the marine environment. We support the principle that the quality of regulations should not be weakened because of imposed deadlines.”

Cuba

  • Cuba stated “This is a moment of transition in our work from exploration to exploitation and we hope to make progress in this process as we develop the exploitation rules, maintaining an approach based on transparency, cooperation, cautionary and proportionate that allows to balance the exploitation of real resources and the protection of the environment and particularly the marine environment. We should not hurry in the negotiation process and take into account the environmental studies that allow us to understand the consequences and the impacts of the exploitation of resources in the area.”

Algeria

  • Called upon the finance committee to ensure they work continuously to implement rules and agreement relating to benefit to humankind as a whole, paying special attention to benefit and needs of all peoples.

Tonga

  • Tonga stated that they “stand ready to support work of Authority and relevant bodies especially for completion of regulatory frameworks in timely fashion while assuring due diligence where appropriate.”

Ecuador

  • Supported the initiative of Chile and “shared the concerns of Argentina concerning the deadline established in terms of the annex of the agreement on the implementation of the level of intervention which presents a problem in the activities in the area to be considered in elements linked to the activation of this deadline.”

Brazil

  • Stated that “It’s clear that more scientific knowledge and more expertise are required to address a significant amount of questions and issues related to the impact of the seabed mining on the marine ecosystem ecosystems.”
  • They called for member States’ concerns about issues that demand solid scientific knowledge or complex legal answers to be properly addressed.
  • They also called for the two year rule role to be addressed by the LTC independently of the views of members.
  • The delegation also called for a scientific committee.

Mexico

  • Mexico stated that “scientific data is fundamental to have enough information to move on to exploit exploitation.”
  • They added that “We wish to have a scientific legal framework which gives certainty to exploitation activities while protecting the marine environment and allowing us to sustainable use these resources.”
1 Aug 2022

DSCC Media Advisory

For release 1/8/22

This week, deep-sea mining negotiations in Jamaica enter their third week as backlash surrounding the nascent industry grows. Concerns surrounding transparency and the environmental impacts of the industry remained firmly at the top of the agenda for observers and many States present at International Seabed Authority (ISA) meetings last week. Meanwhile, global support for a halt skyrocketed as a new letter calling for a moratorium was launched, with more than 68,000 people calling on leaders to stop the industry before it begins. 

The ISA’s 168-member Assembly begins a week-long meeting today. The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition has been present throughout deep-sea mining negotiations in Kingston and continues to advocate for a moratorium on the risky industry.

Continue reading Deep-sea mining negotiations demonstrate that the destructive industry cannot go ahead

28 Jul 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.
27 Jul 2022

Spain

  • Remarked on the “organization of this meeting, not being in the conference headquarters, and we think every delegations should be able to speak in the language of the United Nations… we are okay with moving forward with English but at the same time, we’re not saying this is the appropriate way of conducting negotiations with the authority because we are forfeiting our rights. We are not native English speakers, so we are in this disadvantage in this negotiation.” The working group facilitator replied that “We absolutely agree with you. We would have expected for all the audio equipment to have been checked before the meeting starts and thrilled to be working… We don’t like it either”.
  • Spain also commented that “when possible, we need to avoid over regulation given that as such, the legal framework is very complex.” The DSCC urged caution with streamlining “if that means principles are to be removed…. Environmental protection, transparency, including access to information, public participation and review procedures, common heritage of humankind, an ecosystem approach, the precautionary principle, polluter pays, accountability, a prohibition on loss of biodiversity, and best available scientific information are all relevant.”

Mexico

  • Called for references to relevant applicable international agreements be deleted. On this issue, the DSCC stated that “We very much regret losing a reference to relevant applicable international agreements- the current proposal would only be referencing ISA documents in isolation to the important body of international law including the BBNJ agreement for example.”
  • The delegation also called for streamlining of text.

Belgium

  •  Stated that they “hope we can finalise some regulations today.”
  • Commented that the longer we wait to go into work on text paragraph by paragraph, the later we will ever come to the finalisation of the negotiations.
  • Called for simplification of text.

United Kingdom

  • The delegation stated that they are keen “not to hold up progress”
  • The UK also questioned referencing other rules of international law.

Norway

  • Queried references to other rules of international law.
  • Stated that there is merit in simplifying the text

Argentina

  • Stated that they had doubts on references to international law, which could “gives rise to legal uncertainties.”
  • The delegation called for references to be made to the precautionary approach rather than principle in regulations.

Ghana (on behalf of the African Group)

  • The delegation urged caution in referring to international treaties and frameworks. They stated that “the BBNJ is still under construction and so if that is what is envisaged, then we really do not know the extent to which it interacts with the rules that we are developing now, and so, we will be cautious around that.”
  • Supported efforts to streamline text.
  • The delegation stated that Article 150 is paramount to take into the interests of developing states, which is fundamental when talking about the common heritage of humankind.

Canada

  • Cautioned the broad reference to rules of international law and that regulations should not refer to all rules of international law.
  • Supported simplification of the text.
  • Commented that “The Authority shall develop, implement, and promote procedures to ensure effective and transparent communications and public participation.” The DSCC stated that under Article 145 of UNCLOS there is a need to ensure the effective protection of the marine environment, not just the promotion of its protection.

Netherlands

  • Stated that they do not wish to have such a broad reference to other rules of international law.

Federated States of Micronesia

  • Stated that “regulations are subject to the provisions of the convention and the agreement and other rules of international law not incompatible with the convention. So, members have already accepted that sort of formulation in the exploration regulations. So perhaps this can be considered going forward in this context.”
  • Supported specific reference to coastal states who are most relevant in the context of the relevant activities in the Area, particularly those who have close proximity to the mine sites.

Korea

  • Shared concerns regarding other rules of international law and that rules and regulations should not create an internal obligation to comply with other rules we do not know.

Chile

  • Called for identification and inclusion of principles and approaches that are not covered in UNCLOS such as transparency and public participation.

France

  •  Stated confusion on what transparent communication should be and how this obligation would reside with the sponsoring state and not the ISA and that they struggled to see the added value of including sponsoring state in this process.

Singapore

  • Called for clarity on to what is being envisioned in concrete terms on transparent communication for sponsoring states.

Tonga

  • Stated that they were not in favour of including the word “relevant” or “adjacent” commenting It is not clear how these would be determined stating that “Article 142 of UNCLOS provides rights for coastal states across whose jurisdiction resource deposits lie. Tonga does not consider that the Authority is required to consult prior to developing measures to implement the regulations. The powers of the ISA to create adopt rules, regulations and procedures are outlined in the convention. It would be inappropriate to restrict powers by way of regulations.”
  • The DSCC commented that scientific research has shown that sediment from the discharge plume can travel over 1,400 km, so using the word adjacent may not cover all affected States and therefore potentially affected states may therefore not be adjacent.
  • Earthworks stated that they did not know why the regulations would not include relevant coastal states broadly due to impacts on the wider pacific, impacts on migratory populations of tunas and turtles could be affected by mining activities in the CCZ.