Netherlands – key statements
10 November 2022
- The Netherlands highlighted that when developing environmental thresholds, we need to consider that there will be another main impact, habitat loss due to removal of nodules.
- They stated that nodules host species that cannot live in surrounding sediments, and inc key structural species, inc glass sponges. Their removal means removal of creatures on geological timescales and key species support a high diversity of associated fauna
- “We would like to ask council to reflect on how loss of habitat can reflected and included in thresholds”
- The Netherlands also drew attention to Belgium’s intervention on a recent pollution event that occurred during test-mining and asked if the contractor responded promptly and what procedure was followed subsequently.
- The delegation reiterated their commitment to engage in the in work of authority to achieve a robust and holistic regulatory framework that protects marine environment from harmful effects.
- They stated that this means deep-sea mining can only take places if strictly within capacity of marine ecosystems and ensuring continued health and biodiversity.
- The delegation called for sufficient scientific knowledge, a strict application of the precautionary principle a full understanding risks and that the technology is able to demonstrate no serious harm, stating that these requirements need to be full enshrined in rules and regulations.
- Only then will the Authority be in a position to review and decide upon licenses for exploitation
- The delegation also recalled that the they believe that Council should further exchange on what if scenario – support continuing intersessional dialogu and collectively progress work at ISA
- We need the Council to provide clarity about situation arising after 9 July 2023. The lack of clarity and legal certainty raises a lot of question and concerns and requires explaining at national level.
- Called for contractors to do no “serious harm”
- The Netherlands backed Canada’s proposal to allocate more time for discussion on “what if” scenarios.
- Drew attention to the LTC annual report which noted that contractors are not complying with the 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.
- The Netherlands stated that in the absence of a fit-for-purpose regulatory framework exploitation of deep seabed should not commence.
- The Netherlands joined Australia, Belgium, the United States, Chile, New Zealand and Costa Rica in pushing back on proposed restrictions by the ISA that would limit observers (including NGOs and scientists) to one intervention at the end of each working group.
- They stated that it is “crucial to have full participation from observers and we need to have modalities for efficient proceedings.”
- Supported the development of “normative thresholds to effectively protect the marine environment and see it as a priority in the development of mining code.”
- Stated that they do not wish to have such a broad reference to other rules of international law.
- The delegation stated that “thresholds are important in informing our future work.”