STATEMENT: Conservation International on ISA’s Decision to Delay Deep-Sea Mining Negotiations until 2024
July 29, 2023
ARLINGTON, Va. (July 29, 2023) – Today, the International Seabed Authority’s (ISA) Assembly agreed to postpone discussions on deep-sea mining guidelines and to consider a policy on conservation of the marine environment in 2024. Conservation International’s Vice President of International Policy, Lina Barrera, released the following in response to the decision.
“The International Seabed Authority’s decision to postpone final decision on formal deep-sea mining regulations – likely until 2025 – is both encouraging and a moment for pause. The ISA also agreed to consider a general policy on the conservation of the marine environment in 2024, where a moratorium would be discussed. While it is disappointing that a full moratorium has not been adopted, the current outcome shows that a growing community is committed to ensuring clear, science-backed guidelines are in place should full-scale mining eventually move forward.
“Conservation International is hopeful that productive and thoughtful conversations will continue about the risks of deep-sea mining and maintains that a full moratorium is the best eventual outcome for the health of the planet and ourselves.
“Vast and largely unexplored, the deep sea holds an unknown number of species and potential discoveries that are not yet known to science. In choosing to delay negotiations, the ISA has allowed the global community time to better understand this mysterious and important ecosystem.
“While there are deep-sea minerals that could benefit a green energy transition, a growing body of scientific evidence continues to show that it may not be the only option. It is worth continuing to explore alternatives as the process of mining could prompt other unexpected environmental disasters. These could impact our future food supply, damage the ocean’s carbon storage potential and speed biodiversity loss at a time when it’s increasingly important that we stop and reverse nature loss – rather than accelerate it.
“The Assembly’s decision today reinforces the belief that there is opportunity to ensure future deep-sea development is not rushed and done with science in mind. There are too many unanswered questions about the seafloor to move forward and Conservation International supports a moratorium moving forward.”
About Conservation International: Conservation International protects nature for the benefit of humanity. Through science, policy, fieldwork and finance, we spotlight and secure the most important places in nature for the climate, for biodiversity and for people. With offices in 30 countries and projects in more than 100 countries, Conservation International partners with governments, companies, civil society, Indigenous peoples and local communities to help people and nature thrive together. Go to Conservation.org for more, and follow our work on Conservation News, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.