- The delegation stated that the ISA shouldn’t allow exploitation activities before standards, regulations and procedures are robust, solid and complete
- Chile called for no plans of work for commercial mining to be approved before there is a regulatory framework guaranteeing effective protection through rigorous structure and while applying precautionary approach and ecosystems principle, science, transparency and guarantee a solid inspection mechanism
- The delegation stated:
- Since July of last year, Chile has clearly insisted on the need of beginning of precautionary pause for the exploitation activities of the seabed in order to develop and further scientific knowledge and agree on a regulatory and institutional framework that are in concurrence with the frameworks of the convention.
- We should work on this without the pressure of time upon us.
- Our delegation firmly believes that the work that we will develop in the Authority should be coherent with the international context, and that we cannot continue to act in isolation from the processes and decisions that are adopted elsewhere.
- We have a clear mandate. We need to guarantee the health of the long term health of the oceans.
- Our country considers that the time has come to take decisions on this matter. We appeal to the states to renew our efforts to find the required agreements that will allow us to establish a common vision for the future.
- For Chile, given that we don’t have the Rules, Regulations and Procedures, it is is legally possible to postpone until conditions are met.
- Called to add ‘mitigation’ to draft regulations. The Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI) reminded Council that any notion of mitigation is scientifically meaningless.
- Stated that an application cannot be approved till there is a framework that can guarantee protection and preservation of the marine environment
- Emphasised that we shouldn’t work under the pressure of a time bound framework and that we need to take a precautionary pause.
- Highlighted that in the case of damage to the environment, contractors should not have their contract renewed and shouldn’t have the opportunity to find sponsorship with another country “because we already know that this is a contractor who does not abide by the contract and who puts the environment at risk.”
- Chile expressed concern that on the transfer of rights and obligations, UNCLOS does not discuss the ability to transfer partial rights.
- Stated that an Environmental Performance Guarantee should be presented before activities in the marine environment commence
- Congratulated France and do not believe deep-sea mining should happen until there is sufficient science and regulations to guide operations.
- Regarding the approval of the NORI EIS, which was approved online through the silence procedure by a small group within the LTC, Chile highlighted that this was a process that generated various reactions including in the international press, questioning procedures not only of the LTC but of the Authority itself.
- Chile questioned the use of the silence procedure in important decision-making – such as the approval of the NORI EIS. This procedure was used during the exceptional circumstances stemming from the COVID pandemic and Chile questioned whether the LTC or the Secretariat ensured that all members of the LTC had read the message on time to obtain consensus on the NORI EIS.
- Supports the request made by the Netherlands that the names of the contractors that did not fulfill their contractual obligations to be shared.
- Agreed with Costa Rica regarding transparency around the appointment of experts and the development of environmental thresholds. The delegation considers that information that needs to be made public, wholly public because we do not believe that there is here any information that needs to be confidential, as has occurred with the LTC.
- Chile stated that they do not see how damage from deep-sea mining would be fixed by planting trees or by making our lives greener…
- They stated that it is no secret that ⅓ of the members of this Council are sponsoring States so it’s no secret they are interested in granting contracts for exploitation. But a lot of these countries agree with us.
- Chile reiterated the need for a precautionary pause, to protect the heritage of this generation and future generations.
- Chile stated that a large number of delegations has not been taken into account in the proposed roadmap.
- Chile highlighted the importance of effective control.
- The delegation also reminded Council of the need to bear in mind that Article 192 of UNCLOS states that states have the obligation to preserve and protect the marine environment. Article 145 also calls for us to protect the marine environment
- Chile reminded delegates that fisheries are part of the biological domain which will be affected by the physical domain.
- 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 hypothesis, 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.
- 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.”
- Stated that “We all know that there’s an elephant in the room… and we have not had the opportunity to debate in person and I believe this is the best opportunity to discuss here in the assembly. I believe that more than taking a decision, we need to hear one another and present various ideas in order to find what to do next. We are less than a year away from the deadline mentioned in Part 15 of the implementation agreement, of Part 11 of UNCLOS, and this is why we decided rather than waiting until next year, that we need to consider to discuss this now and present our ideas on what we hope to do.”
- The delegation highlighted the absence of certain experts in the ISA’s Legal and Technical Commission, including economic accountants, economists commercial engineers, lawyers, experts in private law and environmental ecologists.
- 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 finalization 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.
- Called for identification and inclusion of principles and approaches that are not covered in UNCLOS such as transparency and public participation.
- The Chilean delegation requested to return to France’s statement yesterday.
- The delegation referenced a statement by DOSI stating that “we don’t know how much we don’t know about the deep sea.” They added that “scientific knowledge is currently insufficient and our understanding of DSM activities on the deep sea is limited in particular on carbon sequestration.”
- They stated that “Chile is in agreement with a process for negotiation of regulations that are robust, holistic and respect the seabed, but can’t agree with the task being undertaken in a way as to prioritise a contractor starting work running counter to interests of humanity.”
- Chile commented that “As can be observed during this meeting, we are far from reaching a consensus on regulations.”
- The delegation also highlighted the need for greater transparency across negotiations, stating that “I insist respectfully for this Council to apply the best standards of transparency. We believe it’s necessary to have a space for at least 2 reps of civil society to participate in the meeting in this room. At IGC4 BBNJ, the Secretary General of UN underscored the need for participation of NGOs. That’s why during the second week, space was given to those participants to join in the room.”
- They also highlighted short window for review of key documents on financial matters
- Called for full transparency in negotiations and the reinstatement of UN Web TV so that remote delegates, observers and media could follow meeting proceedings.