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ISA Council reports progress on draft regulations for deep sea mining exploitation


Kingston, Jamaica – The Council of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) has announced it successfully concluded the first part of its 29th session, marking significant progress in the ongoing negotiations of the draft exploitation regulations for mineral resources in the international seabed area.

Under the new leadership of the President of the Council for the first part of the 29th session which ended March 29, H.E. Olav Myklebust from Norway, the session witnessed substantial discussions and advancements.

“I am very pleased with the progress made by the Council. We are moving forward with the development of regulations on the exploitation of deep seabed minerals with strong environmental protection at a good pace,” he said in his closing remarks.

As to the inter-institutional cooperation, a key highlight of the session was the approval of the memorandum of understanding between ISA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, emphasizing the importance of cooperation in deep-sea fisheries and management of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

The Council also discussed the report on cooperation with the OSPAR Commission, underlining the need for enhanced coordination and recognition of the unique mandate of ISA in regulating activities in the international seabed area.

Reflecting on the progress achieved, Andy Aron, Minister Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations, emphasized the critical balance the negotiations aim to achieve: “As the largest archipelagic State and a primary producer of critical minerals, Indonesia attaches particular importance to the Council’s ongoing negotiations on the exploitation regulations. We hope they will result in an outcome that is rooted in United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1994 Agreement, striking a balance between development and the environment and upholding the principle of the common heritage of humankind.”

Closing the meetings of the Council, ISA Secretary-General, Michael W. Lodge, underscored the dedication and collaborative spirit of the Member States. “This session has once again demonstrated the commitment of our Member States to advancing the regulatory framework for the sustainable use of the deep-sea mineral resources. The progress we have made is a testament to our collective effort to ensure that such activities are carried out responsibly, with the utmost regard for environmental protection.”

The Council took note of the ongoing development of environmental threshold values and the progress on regional environmental management plans, highlighting the importance of environmental protection and sustainable management practices. The 29th session also featured discussions on test mining and the definition of intangible cultural heritage, reflecting the Council’s comprehensive approach to addressing the multifaceted aspects of deep-sea mining.

Part 2 meetings of the 29th session are scheduled for July and August.

(Photo from ISA)