Date: September 8, 2021

Marseille: A motion calling for a moratorium on deep-sea mining was adopted with overwhelming support by the IUCN World Conservation Congress today.

Among governments and government agencies 81 voted for the moratorium with 18 against and 28 abstentions. Among NGOs and civil society organization the vote was 577 for, 32 against and 35 abstentions, sending a strong message to governments that there is global opposition to deep-sea mining.

We are very pleased to see so many governments, agencies and NGOs voting for a moratorium on deep-sea mining; the support has been overwhelming” said Matthew Gianni Co-Founder of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC).  “Member countries of the ISA, including France which hosted this Congress, need to wake up and act on behalf of civil society and the environment now, and take action in support of a moratorium.

Credit: Sian Owen

Scientists have warned that deep-sea mining will cause large-scale, irreversible biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation if permitted to occur, particularly in the international areas of the world’s ocean. The International Seabed Authority (ISA), a multilateral regulatory body established under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1994, is debating whether to begin licensing commercial deep-sea mining in as little as two years. 167 countries plus the EU are members of the ISA.

The German Environment Ministry, the government of Fiji and many other government agencies voted to support motion 069.

Nauru has triggered a so-called Two Year rule at the ISA which it expects will result in the Authority issuing a commercial license to mine. 47 African countries have challenged the trigger. Sian Owen, Director of the DSCC said “Hopefully the vote in Marseille will translate into a vote at the ISA to adopt a moratorium on deep sea mining.”

Government institutes, departments, agencies and Ministries from the following 37 states voted in favour of motion 069, calling for ‘protection of deep-ocean ecosystems and biodiversity through a moratorium on seabed mining‘. These were, by region, the following:


Benin, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda

Asia/South Asia

Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand


Albania, Austria, Georgia, Germany (Sponsoring State), Italy, Kosovo, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland 

Latin America & Carribean

Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay

Middle East:

Iraq, Jordan



Amongst others, the government agencies amongst EU Member States and EFTA countries which voted in favour of the motion were as follows:


Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology


Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)


Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA – part of the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Territory and Sea)


Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests


Ministry of Environment


Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica y el Reto Demográfico and Ministry of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda (Regional Government of Catalonia) and Fundacion Biodiversidad


Regeringskansliet (Sweden) Swedish Species Information Centre (SSIC)

Posted on Categories Mining