Latest News and Updates

31 Mar 2023

I make this statement on behalf of the environmental organisations that have been in the room for the past two and a half weeks: AIDA, Environmental Justice Foundation, Greenpeace, Oceans North, Pew, WWF, The Ocean Foundation, and Sustainable Ocean Alliance. Collectively, we represent millions of people, and under the umbrella organisation of the Deep-Sea Conservation Coalition, we work together towards a shared goal: a moratorium on deep-sea mining. We note with gratitude the States defending our right to participate in this process and supporting the inclusion and recognition of indigenous people and their deep connection to the ocean. We also congratulate the Dominican Republic on their announcement this morning that they are joining the call for a precautionary pause. 

As State representatives, you are tasked with making decisions on behalf of all humankind. On this day, the 31st March 2023, you have exactly 100 days until the ISA could receive an application from any sponsoring State to mine the deep. This is not about the LTC per se, it is about States fulfilling their duty to ensure that risk and uncertainty are minimised as much as possible. This is about implementing safeguards and acting as guardians for both our institutions and our planet. This can be achieved by a directive from the Council to its subsidiary organ, the LTC – not to undermine the LTC, but to support and guide it in the biggest decision the ISA has seen to date. 

Although this week it’s proven difficult to reach agreement, one thing we believe we can agree on is that the ISA is a very different place today to what it was just one year ago. Deep-sea mining is no longer the obscure technical issue it once was: today there are political, ethical and philosophical choices to be made. Do we perpetuate an extractive paradigm to the detriment of other more sustainable pathways? Do we literally bulldoze ahead despite the fact that swathes of people from across the spectrum of society are saying “no”? 

Biodiversity conservation is a major viable route to mitigating and reversing climate change. The ocean and the rich web of life it supports play a vital role in carbon cycling and provide much of the very oxygen we breathe. Without a healthy, functioning ocean we risk becoming the fish on the deck of the boat, gasping for air. 
To finish, we’d like to stress that this debate goes beyond the two year loophole and we urge States to start looking beyond July and towards the more distant horizon. Just yesterday, the CEO of The Metals Company said (and I quote) “The ISA isn’t down there deciding whether this is going to happen or not, that is decided.” These misleading comments fail to account for the opinions of millions of private citizens and send a signal to a global market. There will be continued pressure to hastily adopt regulations. States should not be held to ransom by commercial interests. It is your responsibility to ensure you have the time and space required to make evidence-based decisions that will keep our oceans safe, and that will keep us safe.

30 Mar 2023

Under Appendix I notifiable events, 

Under 5 bis, notifiable marine mammal issues should not be limited to fatalities or marine mammals in evident distress; any effects on marine mammals or their behaviour would need to be notifiable; and we support the US that this should not be limited to marine mammals but would need to apply other fauna.

Under item 10.    Adverse environmental conditions with likely significant safety and/or environmental consequences [such as serious harm] needs addressing.

The list of adverse and potential environmental consequences of any DSM is far broader, more open ended and unknowable than is expressed here.

Firstly, the term  significant is problematic.

Secondly, The term serious harm is too high a threshold.  Any environmental harm should be notifiable.

And thirdly the term “adverse environmental conditions” is vague. We would need to include ‘situations, issues, and consequences.’

29 Mar 2023

On DR 32:

It is unacceptable for the contractor to be able to not reduce risk to the “point where the cost of further risk reduction would be grossly disproportionate to the benefits of such reduction, and taking into account the relevant Guidelines.” The environment should be effectively protected without cost being a consideration. Art 145 is not predicated on practicability or cost.

DSCC intervention on DR 2, paragraph 4

For Paragraph 4:

There would need to be a fundamental principle regarding the management of activities in the international seabed area being to ensure no loss of biodiversity, as well as additional references to obligations in Articles 145 and 194, and more recent global high level political commitments that we believe should be included in the paragraph drawing on Sustainable Development Goal 14, the calls to halt and reverse biodiversity made at Rio+20 and in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework adopted by COP-15 and the COP-15  decision on marine and coastal biodiversity related to deep-sea mining. These include protecting rare or fragile ecosystems and their habitats, depleted, threatened or endanger species; that other forms of marine life will be also protected; and that there will be no interference with the ecological balance of marine ecosystems and with ecosystem services, degradation of their resilience, or other harmful effects to the marine environment including its biological diversity and ecological integrity;

These capture additional relevant obligations in UNCLOS and key political commitments made in regard to the protection of the marine environment and the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in ABNJ

Para 4 of the Regulation should also refer, in particular, to the principles and approaches agreed in BBNJ in its Article 5 including:

    (f)  An integrated approach to ocean management;

    (g) An approach that builds ecosystems resilience, including to adverse effects of climate change and ocean acidification, and also maintains and restores ecosystem integrity, including the carbon cycling services that underpin the ocean’s role in climate;

(h) The use of the best available science and scientific information;

(i) The use of relevant traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, where available;

(j) The respect, promotion and consideration of their respective obligations, as applicable, relating to the rights of Indigenous Peoples or of, as appropriate, local communities when taking action to address the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction;


  (k) The non-transfer, directly or indirectly, of damage or hazards from one area to another and the non-transformation of one type of pollution into another, in taking measures to prevent reduce, and control pollution of the marine environment;

These are additional obligations and high level political commitments high level adopted more recently that should give greater substance and specificity to the obligations contained in article 145 of UNCLOS.

Thank you

28 Mar 2023
  • Referring to the discussion on the floor, as France noted, it is important to remember that Article 145 is not qualified. We strongly support the UK and Pew’s interventions in this regard.
  • In addition, we would add that under Art 192 of the Convention, States have the obligation to protect and preserve the marine environment. There is no qualification attached to this crucial provision.
  • Nor is there any balance referred to in  the agreed general principles and approaches in the very recently agreed BBNJ Agreement.

  • We thank the facilitators for their proposal. As you will see from the very top of the document, we believe these would need to set out   fundamental principles rather than Principles, Approaches and Policies. 
  • We believe that it would be problematic if this regulation does not set out fundamental principles which may not be contravened, such as common heritage of humankind, the precautionary principle and effective protection of the marine environment which cannot be weighed against other matters. That is why they should be fundamental.

  • As everyone in the room is aware, there is something new, and that is that since the last meeting, BBNJ was concluded. Marine biodiversity and the need to prevent its loss is of course central to the discussion taking place here. 
  • For these reasons we believe that a reference to BBNJ once it is open for signature would be appropriate in para 8. 
  • Thank you
27 Mar 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.
24 Mar 2023

Good morning everyone, Mr. Chairman, Dear Delegates,

On this day of discussions dedicated to the Two-Year Rule, which could see seabed mining begin long before there is sufficient scientific data to ensure the effective protection of our greatest ally in the climate crisis, the deep ocean, I wish to address you to bring the voice of my generation. 

Before that, I would like to thank and congratulate Vanuatu for its decision to join the call for a precautionary pause; along with twelve other states, including the pioneer country, Palau, and Chile, the Federated States of Micronesia, France, Fiji, Germany, New Zealand and Panama, who reiterated their positions at this meeting.

I would also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Hinano, Uncle Sol, Jonathan, Alanna, the representatives of the Pacific Peoples whose voices must resonate here. The Pacific communities they represent will be the ones directly impacted by the decisions you, the delegates, make here. As part of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition delegation, I am speaking today to bring the voice of another group that is not well represented here: those of my generation and the next.

My name is Anne-Sophie, I am the French representative of the Sustainable Ocean Alliance, and with the #LookDown collective, which I created with the activist Camille Etienne here, we have mobilized tens of thousands of young people asking our governments to take a stand against deep sea mining, first in France, then today in Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands and other countries around the world. Today more than ever, these tens of thousands of young people are watching you. 

Dear delegates, we are witnesses to the decisions you will make in the coming months. These decisions that will be taken here, in the shelter of this conference center, will have irreversible consequences, for biodiversity as for the climate. The young people whose voices I represent today must be an integral part of these decisions, because they will affect our lives.

Delegates, the science is clear: we do not have the luxury of opening the Pandora’s box of deep-sea mining. We cannot afford to sacrifice our greatest ally in the climate crisis, the deep ocean, on the altar of the extractivist model that is already a thing of the past.

The living conditions of my generation, and those of the next, will already be profoundly altered by the devastating impacts of the environmental crisis. Deep-sea mining will only exacerbate them. And you still have the power to prevent it. 

Dear delegates, you, who represent the member states of the Council of the International Seabed Authority, must be at the helm of the decisions that will impact our lives. You must ensure that my generation, your children’s generation, will have a healthy ocean, that is, livable conditions on land. 

When you make your decisions here, I ask you to keep in mind the cry of those tens of thousands of young people of my generation. We are standing on a narrow and decisive line: you are at the place where you can choose to have the courage to take that step aside, to listen to the scientists, and not to make decisions that will send us into the abyss of history. 

It is now or never. 

We have a very brief comment on DR 104. It is not only the costs and expenses incurred by the Authority that the contractor must be liable for, but all effects, including environmental effects, of the violation. This would seem obvious, and is completely missing, due to the lack of a liability regime. The polluter pays principle requires nothing less.

Effective compliance is dependent on effective control, and the issue of effective compliance has yet to be discussed by the Council. A recent example of the issue of effective control and compliance is the takeover of UK Seabed Resources by Norwegian company Loke Minerals. It seems blindingly obvious that effective control has changed from the United States to Norway, yet like previous takeovers such as DeepGreen’s takeover of Nautilus’s ownership of Tonga Offshore Mining Ltd (TOML), and other issues with TMC subsidiaries the LTC does not investigate the new owners and, in practice, new operators, at all. Not only are changes in control going uninvestigated, longstanding issues of effective control like the question of where effective control of The Metals Company and NORI lies, are not being pursued. This is not only contrary to the principle of common heritage of humankind, which underpins the Convention and which is reinforced by BBNJ, but is, as was shown in a paper for the ISA by Andre Rojas and Freedom Ka Phillips, inconsistent with the requirements of UNCLOS. Of course effective control of UK Seabed Resources in any sense has now changed to Norway. 

So to address  the concept of effective compliance, as is required by the liability provisions of Article 139 of the Convention, without addressing effective control is meaningless.

24 Mar 2023

A brief comment relating to 101bis

We take the floor simply to remind the room of a recent whistle-blowing incident, where scientists aboard the TMC ship, the Hidden Gem, put their jobs on the line in order to signal the spill of sediments during the NORI test mine, that had been given the green light by a sub-group of the LTC under silence procedure at the end of last year.

We note that this draft regulation suggests that whistle-blowing incidents be followed up by independent investigations, but of course no such thing happened in the instance of the NORI spill, although this would have seemed like the next logical step.  

This feeds into a wider concern: we know that contractors have violated the terms of their contracts under the exploration regulations, but we are yet to be informed of the nature of the violations or the names of the contractors concerned and the ISA has never taken punitive action. We would suggest that if a contractor has been found to be non-compliant during exploration, they should be automatically barred from exploitation.

On behalf of the DSCC, WWF and TBA21.

Starting with the first paragraph of this regulation, we would like to take this opportunity to stress that even if mining operations are restricted to a certain area, words on paper will not be enough to restrict the effects of those operations. The ocean and the life it holds is characterised by its connectivity – it cannot be bound by artificial demarcations imposed by human hands. Plumes are carried by numerous forces, the destruction of organisms in one area will affect those in another, and recent studies have found that noise from one mine alone could travel 500km, resulting in potentially fatal impacts on a multitude of marine life, including iconic species such as whales. 

We would also like to express our concern that the term “Plume dispersal” in paragraph 2 bis fails to account for plume trajectory, composition and biological effects, including the effects of chemical contamination of the water column. 

We share Germany’s concerns regarding the addition of adaptive management. We suggest adaptive management is misplaced in the context of deep-sea mining, due to the irreversible and permanent nature of damage. Once a species is wiped out, no amount of ‘adaptation’ will bring it back. Adaptive management must not be used where it is inconsistent with the precautionary approach – such as when there is inadequate information and where the damage could be significant, as is clearly the case here.

22 Mar 2023

Environment Working Group

Bula Madam Facilitator,

We have some brief overarching comments on this section which serve as our comments on the whole Annex. We support DOSI’s intervention and emphasise that this Annex cannot be developed properly as there is simply not enough scientific information to do so, for any of the three types of mining (nodules, cobalt-rich crusts and hydrothermal vents). As our friends at DOSI often note, we are many years or even decades away from even being in a position to establish the environmental baseline. 

Secondly,  in terms of process, and building on Pew’s intervention on independent scientists, we’d like to draw delegates’ attention to the fact that an EIA is only as good as the process under which it takes place. There is no proper structure to consider EIAs; limited provision for independent scientific evidence and peer review  of applicant’s evidence; no hearing including of cultural perspectives; and no appeal or review of decisions or recommendations. There is no scientific committee, and no place for stakeholders to submit independent scientific information and make comments on the applicant’s scientific evidence.  So these concerns are applicable throughout.

Bula Madam Facilitator,

We want to join others in thanking you for your leadership and for your transparency and good humour.

We have 2 short comments.

Firstly in the definition of ‘environmental effects” we support Germany in the removal  of ‘material’ from environmental effects

Secondly we would observe that  the current definition of “Cumulative environmental effect” only covers effects from mining; not other effects. This is a major omission.

We thank the United States for their suggestion on the definition of cumulative environmental effects.

We draw the attention of delegates to the definition of cumulative effects from the BBNJ Agreement in Article 1 (8)


21 Mar 2023

Environment working group

This intervention is for DSCC, Oceans North, WWF and TBA 21.

We support the statements just made by Greenpeace.

On Environmental Impact Statements, we agree with comments made in earlier sessions that EIA and EIS should be merged.

As has been noted earlier, EIA processes should be consistent with the BBNJ Agreement, where there is no such split. An EIA is simply the process and an EIS the report: in BBNJ there is no such split. The split has brought confusion, duplication, and omissions.

Subject to these observations:

Like the rest of the Regulations, this Regulation does not include provisions for full public participation, including access to information and participation in the EIA and EIS process and access to review procedures, including ongoing processes. Commenting on work that has gone before is not enough. For example, there is currently no framework for  stakeholders to introduce independent scientific information, traditional knowledge, cultural perspectives and other matters. 

On the final report, there should not be a ‘substantive’ qualification in para 3(c ). This was also discussed in the previous regulation. Cultural and social aspects should not be excluded.

Nor should there be a restriction to “main” uncertainties and knowledge gaps in para 3(b). The relevance of uncertainties and knowledge gaps is highly relevant to the ability to assess impacts. 

We support the inclusion of traditional knowledge, which is not currently included here, but also of free prior and informed consent, a key requirement under, for example, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Labour Organization Convention 169. 


Seabed mining would cause significant pollution, including noise throughout the water column.

But it is not acceptable to only “reduce” or “control” pollution such as noise. No pollution including noise should be permitted. The effects of noise on marine mammals was well documented in Thompson et al in the journal Marine Science in February.   Disturbance on any scale is likely to be long lasting and irreversible, and noise from deep-sea mining would add to other noise in the marine environment, from ships. This is why it must be prevented, not just reduced or controlled.

We support New Zealand’s intervention.

Para 1 would allow any discharge as long as such discharge is permitted in the Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan. This does not address the amount of discharge, rate of discharge, components discharged, or manner of discharge.  The wording “is permitted in accordance with” is too vague. Better yet is not allowing the discharge to the ocean in the first place.

In para 2 and 2bis a threshold of ‘serious harm’ is too high. Article 142 speaks of “harmful effects”

Reg 51

As proposed, paragraph (b) would only require an operator to  “Apply best endeavors to improve Mitigation and management measures to ensure the effective protection of the Marine Environment from harmful effects,

This is far short of  ensuring effective protection.

The need for the Environmental Compensation Fund underlines that deep-sea mining will inflict damage on the marine environment, inconsistent with article 145 of UNCLOS and other international commitments to protect the environment.

The provision on the Environmental Compensation Fund also brings to light the complete absence of discussion in the Council to date of liability, despite the African Group proposing a discussion 4 years ago in 2019.

In the absence of a liability regime, or any attempt to follow the advice of the Seabed Disputes Chamber and engage in the development of further rules regarding responsibility and liability under international law under Article 304, this Fund is  ineffective.

This provision also highlights the absence of an appropriate definition of effective control consistent with the Convention, since contractors may have only thinly capitalised shell companies in sponsoring States and then leave when damage was caused, as was  noted by the Seabed Disputes Chamber in the seabed Advisory Opinion.

DR 55

Article 145 of UNCLOS demands “effective protection” of the marine environment and prevention of damage to the marine environment and its inhabitants – anything weaker contravenes these provisions and transgresses the environmental ethics of the 21st century. We would like to reiterate our objection to permissive language such as “limit”, “reduce” and “control”.  The ISA does not have the mandate to authorise limited, reduced, or controlled damage to the marine environment.

The concept of  “environmental damage outside of consented activity” speaks volumes: consenting, or approving a contract, will cause environmental damage.

The idea that a compensation fund can be used to implement measures to “prevent” damage is flawed and misleading. The point has just been made: by the very nature of compensation, the damage would already have been done. How does the Authority propose to prevent damage, other than by stopping mining, when mining has already begun? 

Deep-sea mining simply must not go ahead unless and until it can be clearly demonstrated that there will be no damage to the marine environment. Given the irreversible nature of damage, compensation would be too little, too late.


20 Mar 2023

Environment working group

Bula Madam facilitator and delegates,

Firstly, Madam Facilitator, we are very happy to see you back in the facilitation role.
This is a very important working group and we look forward to the discussion
Madam Facilitator, delegations would have seen that there a growing number of civil society observers here, including some indigenous representatives from the Pacific area who have journeyed great distances. We were hoping there would be an opportunity for them to address this working group. We are talking about stakeholder participation and they would have left by Monday. It would only take perhaps 10 minutes. I think delegates will find their participation helpful.
But if that is not possible, we have a suggestion to see if it gains your approval, and that would be after the session is closed at 1 oclock, the indigenous representatives be able to speak for perhaps 10 minutes, should delegates who are able to stay here for that segment. We hope that the interpreters will indulge us.


Delivered by – Hinano Murphy

Thank you Madam Facilitator, Im speaking on behalf of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition.

Kia Orana, I am Teurumereariki a Teavai Murphy  from French Polynesia (…)  I am hear today to represent the thousands of voices to ban mining exploitation in the high seas. This includes the voice of 33 different countries and 56 different indigenous groups. 

For millennia our people have lived in a relationship with the natural world that is defined by respect, gratitude, responsibility, and love. Our genealogies, woven across space and time, connect us physically and spiritually to animals and plants from the highest mountains to the deepest ocean.

Cultures across the Pacific consider the ocean to be sacred space for creation, a provider, an ancestor, and a link to places and people across the horizon. We would no more harm the ocean than we would a member of our family. And as with our family, we depend on each other for survival.

Western culture’s relationship with natural ecosystems of land, and sea and sky have proven to be deeply harmful for the only place we know as home, planet Earth. The ocean’s health, people, and natural ecosystems are already reeling from pollution, overfishing, acidification and extreme weather events. These problems need serious attention.

With a ban on deep-sea mining, however, we see the chance to stop the needless damage before it starts. There is ample evidence that deep-sea mining will cause irreversible harm to our ocean. The arguments in favor of deep-sea mining, produced only by those that stand to profit from it, have been shown to be false. There is no reason to disturb the tranquil and life-supporting depths of our oceans, causing harm that will last forever, for the short-term economic gain of a very few.

We refuse to allow any further harm to our sacred ocean. We refuse to further damage the intricate web of life that we are part of and depend on for our survival. We refuse to allow governments and corporations to sell out the future of our children and life on our planet.

We call on the governments of the world and on the International Seabed Authority to enact a ban on deep-sea mining effective immediately. Our ocean and our lives depend on it.

Thank you.

Madam facilitator,

We speak on behalf of DSCC and WWF on this part of the intervention on the stakeholder consultation.
We welcome the initiative of the informal group discussing Standardization of Stakeholder consultation, and, as Stakeholders ourselves, we would be glad to be involved in such discussions in the future in order to support this important effort.
We would like to take this opportunity to ask that States take this one step further and provide not only for consultation but also public participation which goes further than consultation. For example, in any environmental impact assessment, stakeholders should have the opportunity to introduce independent scientific advice and advisers to contribute to the EIA process. When we are contributing here in Council, this is public participation, not consultation.
It is worthwhile noting that the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters rests on three pillars: access to information, public participation, and access to justice. All three go hand in hand: the information pillar to ensure that the public can participate in an informed fashion, and the access to justice pillar to ensure that participation happens in reality and not just on paper. It can be traced back to Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration.
Public participation also entails access to relevant documents, the ability to speak, to circulate written documents, including reasonable timeframes to participate effectively. In brief, it involves effective notice, adequate information, proper procedures, and appropriately taking account of the outcome of the public participation.
It is far more than just commenting, and, under Article 6 para. 7 of the Aarhus Convention, requires allowing the public to submit, in writing or, as appropriate, at a public hearing or inquiry with the applicant, any comments, information, analyses or opinions that it considers relevant to the proposed activity.
So in the context of the ISA, this means not just commenting on documents on a website, but meaningfully participating in the Legal and Technical Commission, the Council or any other body.
Regarding the identification of Stakeholders to be directly notified of participatory processes, firstly we urge the systemic involvement of independent scientists, indigenous people, coastal communities, youth, and environmental groups. We agree it would be useful to have a list of types of Stakeholders that should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis, with contact information. We suggest that Stakeholders themselves should be invited to contribute to these lists.
In order to ensure that this is not left as ‘Guidance’ alone, we would urge a definition of ‘key Stakeholders’ in the regulations, but one that remains sufficiently broad to allow for the rapidly growing and evolving interest in the common heritage of humankind.

Vinaka  Madam Facilitator

This intervention by DSCC is also on behalf of WWF, Oceans North and TBA 21.

I think our objections are quite specific.

Consistent with your comment at the outset, and as highlighted by Germany and the Netherlands, it is highly relevant that the BBNJ Agreement on marine biodiversity has been concluded. Finally, a framework and mandate on the conservation of marine biodiversity – an issue of core relevance and importance to all of us – has been agreed by consensus of all States.

Its authoritative Principles and Approaches should be followed by the ISA parties, most of whom we presume will be party to the BBNJ Agreement, including in para 1(a)(i) the Precautionary principle: We thank the Netherlands for drawing our attention to the BBNJ language which includes “as appropriate” and would suggest that with so much uncertainty, the precautionary principle, rather than approach, certainly is appropriate here.

We also highlight an approach that builds ecosystem resilience, including to adverse effects of climate change and ocean acidification, and also maintains and restores ecosystem integrity, including the carbon cycling services that underpin the ocean’s role in climate; the use of the best available science and scientific information; an integrated approach to ocean management; and the use of relevant traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

Para 1(a)(iii) lacks a  reference to independent and peer reviewed science as well as traditional knowledge. The best available science will not be obtained if stakeholders do not have the opportunity to bring forward independent scientific information.

In Para 1(a)(v) our indigenous colleagues remind us of the importance of underwater cultural environment, as so eloquently expressed by the kupuna (or native Hawaiian elder) this morning.

Paragraph (b) has no  reference to ensuring no loss of biodiversity.

With respect to Paragraph (c ) we note that mitigation is not sufficient; Article 145 requires that  effective protection for the marine environment from harmful effects is ensured. Merely mitigating harm is not enough, moreover, mitigation, which is noted by many scientists as not being adequate or even meaningful, would require substantial understanding of the extent of the harm, including a baseline, which we do not have.

Paragraph (c)should not include reference to restoration and offset. We support DOSI’s comments and those of the United States in this regard.

In all of DR 44  there is no reference to cumulative impacts, including the impacts of climate change and noise, and the need to prevent environmental damage not only in areas directly impacted but in all affected areas. 

Following international commitments such as the global biodiversity framework, there must be an imperative to “Ensure there is no loss of biodiversity, damage to the flora and fauna of the marine environment, or degradation of ecosystems and ecosystem services.”

This is key to implementing Arts 145 and 194(5) and to ensuring consistency with the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 14, Target 2, as well as protecting biodiversity in the face of the growing biodiversity crisis.

Dear Facilitator,

We deliver this intervention on behalf of both the DSCC, oceans North and WWF.

Regarding the chapeau of Para (1), we join Germany in their suggestion that the threshold of ‘serious harm’ to the marine environment is too high. Article 145 requires the prevention of damage to the flora and fauna. The obligation should therefore be ‘no harm’. Deep-sea mining cannot go ahead if we can’t guarantee that there will be no biodiversity loss. The recently concluded BBNJ Agreement (and I quote) “recognises  the need to address, in a coherent and cooperative manner, biodiversity loss and degradation of ecosystems of the ocean”. 

States cannot allow biodiversity loss to occur under ISA regulations when there is a recognized and overwhelming need to halt and reverse the phenomenon.  

We suggest that the term “Compensation’ for harm to the marine environment should be deleted from para 1(c), as ‘Compensation’ is not featured in the mitigation hierarchy so should equally not feature here. The notion of compensation essentially provides that you can always pay your way out of obligations to protect the marine environment, thereby manifesting a permissive attitude toward environmental damage that cannot be accepted in the 21st century.

Collaboration with the BBNJ agreement needs to be provided for under BBNJ Article 23 paragraph 2, and the BBNJ Agreement in Part IV extensively addresses environmental impact assessments. These EIA procedures need to be completely revised to take into account and reflect the BBNJ provisions, which must be seen as best practice and enjoying widespread support.