Date: 27 March 2023
  • We would like to begin by thanking and congratulating Finland and Vanuatu, the two latest countries to join the group of States calling for the suspension of deep-sea mining activities. We would also particularly like to celebrate Palau, who for the first time, brought their pioneering moratorium position to the floor of the ISA on Friday, and also France for their initiative of the joint call to action announced this morning. Our thanks to all the other countries in the ever-growing group sending the strong political signals that are required at this critical stage. We stand beside you.
  • Dear delegates, as country representatives, you are charged with making decisions on behalf of humankind as a whole. But have you asked the populations you represent what they think about deep-sea mining?  Hundreds of thousands of people from around the globe are signing petitions against deep-sea mining, indigenous leaders and youth groups are speaking out loud and clear, scientists are raising alarm, corporates are stepping back. They do not consent. We ask you to keep that in mind as you proceed with the important decisions you are making at the ISA on our behalf. 
  • In the presentation by The Metals Company last week, we saw images of the fabulous creatures of the deep examined during the exploration phase. There is so much beauty in the deepest reaches of our earth. But these creatures are not just pictures on a screen – they are the inhabitants of the very area that is penned for destruction. But there’s still so much we don’t know. We must allow time to establish comprehensive scientific understanding and legitimate processes, to ensure that we make the right decisions on behalf not only of humankind, but of all-kind. 
  • With a voting structure that is heavily weighted in favour of Plans of Work being granted if the LTC issues a recommendation, it’s imperative that States remain in control of the process – any other scenario is simply too risky and runs counter to States’ obligations to effectively protect the marine environment and prevent damage to the flora and fauna. States cannot leave these decisions in the hands of an LTC that meets behind closed-doors, particularly when we have already seen an example of the lack of due process of this organ when the NORI test mine was granted approval last year. 
  • Numerous states have expressed the opinion that there should be no exploitation in absence of regulations, but there should also be no regulations in the absence of independent science and the guaranteed protection of the marine environment. We remind delegates that the regulations you are discussing here would pertain not only to polymetallic nodules in the CCZ, but to all other deep-sea environments marked for extractive activities. We cannot accept a scenario where mining could proceed in circumstances steeped in uncertainty – likely to inflict everlasting damage. For this reason, we urge you to seek ambitious solutions that ensure there is no risk of the LTC providing a positive recommendation of an application to mine. Anything less would contravene States’ duties under UNCLOS to protect the marine environment.
  • Thank you.
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