- The establishment of the Economic Planning Commission is for the working of the ISA in the discharge of its mandate. We understand that it is important and we look forward to having the composition of this commission defined, based the on criteria you mentioned before, special interests, geographical distribution, equity and gender equality.
- It is a relevant commission because it will follow the market on a consistent basis. Need a clear diagnostic of deep-sea mining over the economies of land-based mining countries.
- Need clarification on informal informals – would these be parallel meetings? Some concerns with these kinds of modalities – be honest that with these modalities some delegations will be left outside of the process.
- Not clear if the advice or recommendation to have informal informals was actually accepted or endorsed by the Council.
- Our goal is just to ensure that rules for future exploitation of deep-sea resources meet high standards.
- We have a responsibility to the common heritage of humankind in the Area. Collective responsibility.
- Brazil indicated they are worried about incentives for mining companies that are disguised as subsidies to mining.
- “Although it seems that financial subsidies are something simple and clear this is something we need to define perhaps in the S&G what we are envisioning here (e.g. tax breaks). This is important to avoid forum shopping and to ensure equality among contractors.
- “We must understand what kind of financial incentives we are providing. Incentives are supposed to promote excellence not ensure compliance.”
- “Financial incentives should be balanced with consideration of fairness and consistent with ESG goals”.
- Brazil asked what happens if a contractor is persistently in breach of their obligations? What to do in this case? Would the country be responsible, what’s the level of responsibility of the Sponsoring State?
- Brazil warns that you can’t have a fair and predictable effective system if you don’t incorporate the environmental cost.
- Join other delegations, including Costa Rica, Germany, France, and Spain about the importance of regional environmental management plans and their role in the consideration of a plan of work.
- Draft regulation 49:we would favour maintaining harmful effects and also the inclusion of marine litter and underwater noise in the definition of pollution.
- Draft regulation 50: It is the responsibility of the ISA to develop the standards, and to regulate the circumstances of discharges.
- Would like to discuss the technology involved with deep-sea mining more. We need to have more events that explain a bit more the technology for us to have a more informed approach on the subject.
- I think that the purpose of the fund is to finance the implementation of any necessary mitigation/compensation measures when the contractor is not able to assume the burden of costs, but I understand this is the last resort
- The Compliance Mechanism should be in place before any plan of work is approved. This is our condition. It is in harmony with our position in favor of a precautionary pause.
- Brazil is in favor of a compliance committee under the Council, with a role for the LTC in assisting, in those areas of its competence
- Brazil stated that they have followed the events of this week with concern. The delegation commented that many other delegations made statements favouring the inclusion of the item earlier in the week so they were surprised that there is a move to adopt the agenda without the item.
- Brazil said: “It’s extremely important to know why we have reached this point of deadlock. Who is to blame for this? Brazil is not comfortable with how the things are being conducted at this moment”
- The delegation stated that they do not believe we have exhausted all means or truly applying rules of procedure.
- The also stated that the level of mutual concessions have not been balanced so should still explore all options and asked respective delegations to sit and discuss
- They stated that we should do our best effort next time to avoid this next time
- Brazil noted the short time countries had to review the Strategic plan and requested more time to review before adoption
- Brazil stated that it is clear that more knowledge and more expertise are required to address a significant amount of questions and issues related to the impact of the seabed mining in the area on the marine ecosystem. The delegation stated that they regretted that there wasn’t enough time to discuss the environment cost study last week.
- Brazil stated that the current level of knowledge is not enough to approve any seabed mining projects in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
- Brazil reiterated its support for a precautionary pause on deep-sea mining in areas beyond national jurisdiction for a minimum period of ten years and stated that their goal was not to meet ‘artificial deadlines’
- Brazil called for discussions around a precautionary pause to be acknowledged as the legitimate concerns of an increasing number of member states and other stakeholders.
- Brazil supports the inclusion of agenda item establishing a general policy by the Assembly related to the consultation of the marine environment under the two year rule, proposed by Chile, Costa Rica, France, Palau, and Vanuatu.
- Brazil welcomes stakeholder consultations that will be taking place as they’ve been advocating for more participation and more openness. Brazil encourages the commission to continue this process of openness and more transparency
- Brazil emphasized the importance of the protection of the marine environment and the common heritage of mankind.
- Urged the LTC to hold open meetings as much as possible to improve transparency.
- Brazil announced a precautionary pause in areas of this jurisdiction for a minimal period of 10 years. This is made without prejudice but in accordance with international mandates.
- Brazil believes the current level of scientific knowledge is insufficient to approve projects in areas beyond national jurisdiction. The State parties should therefore refrain from supporting any application for exploitation and also until exploitation regs with sound enviro standards are in place, including monitoring and compliance provisions to ensure the marine environment is not seriously harmed.
- Priority must be given to the protection of the seabed until conclusive studies are available, including to the loss and damage of biodiversity, metals and toxins produced, damage to the seabed and its consequences related to climate change, noise pollution and the introduction of toxic metals into marine food chains.
- Brazil believe these measures would bring the ISA in line with UNCLOS.
- Support test mining being mandatory and before any exploitation activities.
- Brazil called for consideration of the vulnerable communities that will potentially be affected by seabed mining if deep-sea mining were to go ahead.
- Brazil stated that the untimely activation of the two year rule during the pandemic’s has brought us to a point where we all know the deadline will be not will not be met. The July deadline will represent one way or another unprecedented situation, so we would prefer to see a much higher degree of legal certainty regarding the next steps follow its exploration. We want to safeguard the Authority and prevent it from a dive into the unknown which could potentially have detrimental effects to the USA, including reputational damage, financial illegal liability and internal division among others, in line with the precautionary approach, and quite frankly, with the world that’s around us in 2023.
- Brazil also stated that it is important to take a step back from all articles, regulations, interpretations, so we can remind ourselves they reconnect to the fact that this Council is the executive body of the ISA.
- Brazil stated that “Protection to the seabed must be given priority”
- The delegation stated:
- Brazil believes that the current level of knowledge and best available science are insufficient to approve any seabed mining projects in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
- State parties should therefore refrain from sponsoring any plans of work for exploitation until further research on deep sea ecosystems, and the impacts of mining activities are available, and until exploitation regulations with sound environmental standards are in place, including monitoring in compliance provisions in order to ensure that the marine environment is not seriously harmed.
- In this regard resources significant merit in the proposal of a call for precautionary pause in deep-sea mining, without prejudice to the continuity of discussions and negotiations of the mining code in good faith and in accordance with the institutional mandate or the International Seabed Authority.
- Brazil is committed to work constructively to reach an agreement, a comprehensive robust and environmentally sound legal framework.
- At this point in time, priority must be given to the protection of the international seabed until conclusive and comprehensive studies referring to the potential environmental impacts of mining activities in the area available, including:
- Loss and damage on marine biodiversity
- Production of extensive plumes of sediments
- Toxins that affects marine species and ecosystems
- Damage to carbon retention in the seabed, and its consequences related to climate change
- Noise pollution due to to the activity of industry machines
- Introduction of toxic metals into marine food chains
- A precautionary approach does not undermine the development of a new of new markets and technologies, not the mandate of the authority.
On behalf of GRULAC:
- GRULAC is convinced that deep-sea mining should not begin before rules, regulations and procedures and robust legal and institutional framework in place.
- Assessment of plan of work must be based on best scientific info available and be well informed.
On behalf of Brazil:
- Part 11 agreement does not impose an obligation to approve an application for a plan of work.
- Brazil questions who is in charge of restoration measures or other measures if a contractor is not able to fulfil its duties and has paid penalties?
- Reminded of a general obligation to protect the marine environment and adopt the required measures to ensure effective protection of the marine environment.
- Brazil called for a robust and environmentally sound Mining Code to be put in place before any activity is approved in the Area -” Activities should not be approved before all the rules as well as S&G are elaborated and adopted. We need to uphold UNCLOS provisions, i.e. Article 145 and be guided by precautionary principle.”
- Brazil also highlighted that the secretariat and subsidiary bodies, e.g. LTC and financial committee do their work in a transparent matter and under the guidance of Council.
- Stated that it is not realistic that regulations will be agreed by July 2023.
- Commented that naming and shaming contractors that are repeatedly violating obligations could be counterproductive in reaching the opposite of the desirable effect, which is full compliance with the contract and with the authorities regulation
- No exploitation should begin before the elaboration and adoption of robust, science-based mining code.
- Echoed Costa Rica’s concerns about the role of contractors in the creation of environmental thresholds and the appointment of experts agreeing that the appointment of experts should occur in full transparency, independent of contractors.
- Brazil stated we still are not in a position to start mining, because we still have not decided yet about certain aspects that are involved and we are going to discuss the implications of this to the room tomorrow.
- Brazil called for “close attention to environmental externalities so that exploitation of minerals in the area starts only when robust and science-based legal frameworks are developed, completed and adopted, without any plan of work for exploitation being approved or any contract being granted.”
- They also highlighted that “There is an increasing awareness of the dramatic impact of these activities on the marine ecosystems.”
- Brazil also called for the ISA to be more transparent – including the Legal and Technical Commission, and that issues of confidentiality need to be discussed.
- Stated that Chile’s proposal was important and that they “believe it is important to include it in the agenda because the time has come, maybe not to discuss in depth, but to discuss methods and a way to move forward with this so therefore the Brazil delegation would like to support the proposal to include the topic.” They highlighted the need for greater understanding of human activities on the ocean and full transparency.
- They also called for promotion of deep sea literacy and “fundamental steps towards strengthening the ISA role in the ocean global governance.”
- The delegation added that “A robust code of conduct, standard & guidelines must be put in place before any activity is approved. Interrelated with ISA mandate. The ISA needs to ensure coherence between our mission and the evolution of international law, for example BBNJ. “
- 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”
- Raised concerns raised about contractors that were unable to comply with obligations and that these issues must be followed closely by ISA to allow for more transparency. They stated that it wasn’t too much to expect that names of contractors, by the same way that States are part of a list when in arrears – giving the Council opportunity to know which contractors not up to challenges.
- The Brazilian delegation commented that a “big discussion is still needed, so the ISA can establish environmental thresholds to balance and can be considered acceptable”. They continued that “As far as separate impacts are concerned like sediment, life noise, etc, several concepts still need to be clarified, like serious harm, rare and unique systems etc.”
- Delegates also highlighted concerns around effective control