IN RESPONSE TO FRANCE’S STATEMENT ON A BAN ON DEEP-SEA MINING
Bonjour à toutes et à toutes, Monsieur le Président, chers délégués,
Je m’appelle Anne-Sophie Roux, je fais partie d’un réseau international de jeunes engagés pour l’océan, la Sustainable Ocean Alliance, dont je suis la représentante en France.
Ici, avec la Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, je fais partie des quelques jeunes envoyés siéger dans ces négociations, qui sont absolument cruciales pour notre génération. Car cette génération, tout comme les suivantes, fait déjà face aux conséquences dramatiques de la crise environnementale. Et l’exploitation minière des fonds marins ne ferait que l’empirer.
Or, face à l’accélération de la crise climatique, l’océan est notre plus grand allié. Nous ne pouvons pas nous permettre de le compromettre.Face à la 6e extinction de masse, nous ne pouvons pas nous permettre de rayer de la carte des espèces entières que les scientifiques commencent tout juste à découvrir et à comprendre.
Good morning to all, Mr. President, dear delegates,
My name is Anne-Sophie Roux, I am part of an international network of young people committed to the ocean, the Sustainable Ocean Alliance, of which I am the representative in France.
Here, with the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, I am one of the few young people sent to sit in on these negotiations, which are absolutely crucial for our generation.
Because this generation, like the next, is already facing the dramatic consequences of the environmental crisis. And seabed mining would only make it worse.
As the climate crisis accelerates, the ocean is our greatest ally. We cannot afford to compromise it.
In the face of the sixth mass extinction, we cannot afford to wipe out entire species that scientists are just beginning to discover and understand.
I would like to thank France for joining the growing movement of States that raise the alarm on the necessity to oppose the adoption of the mining code and the approval of mining contracts. I would like to congratulate France for setting this level of ambition to stop deep seabed mining. France and the States in this room have made international commitments to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. Today, I can say that I am proud that my country is upholding these commitments.
We are here, at this stage, thanks to a mobilization that started with Palau, Fiji, Samoa and the Federated States of Micronesia – the countries of the Global Alliance of Countries calling for a Moratorium on deep seabed mining in the Pacific and around the world. We are here thanks to Chile, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Spain, Germany, Panama, and Ecuador, who have made bold political decisions that put nature where it should be: front and center.
We are here thanks to the Global Alliance of Parliamentarians that was announced at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon. We are here thanks to the massive civil society and youth mobilization, online and on the field, in France and all over the world.
So the vision is here. And we should not forget that there is an agenda for 2023 and we need to secure that there is no mining code adopted and no exploitation starting.
In response to those who have raised UNCLOS: As France said, our work should meet the challenges of today, including biodiversity. Let us not find obstacles and build fences, but instead find pathways and bridges to protect the ocean. Already BBNJ is close to being finalised. We need that kind of creativity and openness to moving forwards.
The deep ocean is needed to mitigate the climate crisis. The deep ocean is needed to not make the collapse of biodiversity worse. The deep ocean is needed to sustain living conditions on Earth. The deep ocean is the common heritage of human and non-human kind. This is our duty to protect it.
Thank you Mr. President for the floor.
ON THE NAURU OCEAN RESOURCES INC (NORI) ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
Thank you Mr President
We take the floor on behalf of DSCC and Oceans North regarding the recently approved NORI EIS, announced by The Metals Company in September.
We align ourselves with the observations from the IUCN and the States that have raised concerns, and in particular stress our objections to the fact that the revised EIS was examined and approved behind closed doors, by a small sub-group of the LTC under silence procedure, with no notification to stakeholders, the public, or Council. We are concerned that the LTC did not meet its obligations, in that the Guidelines clearly state in paragraph 41f, that in the event the contractor resubmits the EIS, the revision must be subject to stakeholder consultation. And yet, as many others have noted, it was not. Furthermore, at no stage did Council have any opportunity to review the revised document, which, as observed by a number of delegates, still has not been made public – and which allows NORI to mine 3600 tonnes of nodules.
Test mining has therefore begun, without a single state saying “yes” to it. The approval was granted by a mere handful of human beings – hardly representative of humankind as a whole. As we sit here, a dangerous extractive experiment is underway.
Many of us were present for last week’s presentation of the test mining being undertaken in the Pacific Ocean as we speak. The presentation failed to show a single image of the mining area after the removal of nodules, or the marine life that has been harmed or indeed killed over the last few weeks. There was no acknowledgement of the species impacted on the seafloor or throughout the water column. It was also clear that no sampling was undertaken in the water column where the return discharge was taking place prior to deciding the depth of the plume release. The DSCC finds this revelation highly concerning as scientists have repeatedly warned us of the impact of sediment plumes, whether or not the plume is toxic. Additionally, this means a plume of unknown composition was being released into the ecosystem.
Fundamentally, this underlines two conclusions:
- The ISA is not fit for purpose in regulating deep-sea mining and associated activities. If this EIA for a component test could escape scrutiny so easily under the Recommendations, there is no hope for an EIA under the two year loophole where there are no applicable recommendations or procedures in place.
- No amount of manoeuvring can avoid the fact repeatedly emphasized by DOSI and many other scientists that there is no baseline available and will not be for many years, and without that baseline, effects cannot be assessed. As was stressed eloquently by the youth at our side event on Monday, we are seeing shifting baselines in ecosystems we have years of data for, but we simply do not have that data for the deep sea. We cannot continue to tacitly accept and exacerbate the loss of biodiversity.
Paragraph 4 currently provides that an exploitation contract shall provide for security of tenure and shall not be revised, suspended or terminated except in the stated restrictive situations.
We note in this content that Article 19 of Annex III provides in paragraph 2 that “Any contract entered into in accordance with article 153, paragraph 3, may be revised only with the consent of the parties.” (being the ISA Secretary General and the contractor)
This more than any other provision underlines why a moratorium on deep-sea mining is necessary. A contract granted may be in force for 60 years or more, including multiple 10 year renewals. This gives rise to the crucial question of intergenerational equity: multiple future generations would be saddled with these damaging contracts if deep-sea mining were to go ahead. With climate change, biodiversity crises and unanticipated situations, anything can happen. A contractor should not be able to insist on pressing ahead with damaging mining based on a contract granted decades ago, regardless of intervening situations.