The meeting of the Council of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which consists of representatives of 36 countries, including the Czech Republic, ended last night in Kingston, Jamaica, CET. However, this was again missing from the meeting. If it is not interested in negotiations in the future, the Czech office of the Greenpeace organization will ask the government for the possibility of leaving the mandate for negotiations.
At the meeting, the states addressed, among other things, regulations known as the Mining Code, which are supposed to regulate the controversial deep-sea mining industry. During the meeting, the UK became the 23rd country to announce its support for a moratorium, or precautionary pause, on the development of the deep-sea mining industry. A few weeks earlier, Monaco officially announced its support for stopping the development of this destructive industry. In the past, the Czech Republic has spoken out against the immediate start of mining, but it has not officially joined the states that support a moratorium or temporary ban on mining.
At the end of the last ten-day round of negotiations, the mining code is still very far from its final form, and a number of significant differences of opinion on the future of deep-sea mining remain among the contracting states. There is considerable resentment among some delegations that they are being pushed to speed up these negotiations simply because one single company, The Metals Company, is ignoring the need for further scientific research and using legal hoops to speed up the process to start mining.
A provision known as the “two-year rule” enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) obliges the International Maritime Safety Authority to “assess and pre-approve” deep-sea mining applications two years after they are submitted, even if it does not have an approved regulations for this industry. The Metals Company is asking for the start of mining, thus pushing world governments to make a quick decision.
Lukáš Hrábek, press spokesman for Greenpeace CR, says:
“As the Seabed Authority continues to negotiate, more and more scientists, companies and indigenous peoples are voicing their opposition to deep-sea mining. This industry would bring irreversible loss of biodiversity to the world’s oceans, which are already under enormous pressure from climate change, acidification, pollution and other human-caused impacts. That’s why we want states to abandon negotiations on a mining code that would pave the way for another destructive mining industry to begin, and instead focus on implementing a moratorium on deep-sea mining.”
Jan Freidinger, head of the Oceans Without Mining campaign, says:
“It is inexcusable that the Czech Republic, the only inland representative in the ISA Council, ignores the negotiations on mining on the deep seabed and is unable to send its representative to it. The seabed is the last untouched area that, unlike any other area on Earth, is the common property of humanity, managed collectively. The Czech Republic was absent from the last three meetings, and if this practice continues and the Czech Republic does not commit to participating in the key meeting of the ISA next summer, we will ask the Czech government to hand over the mandate to Greenpeace.”