Statement to the Council of the International Seabed Authority
15 March 2023
EJF urges the Council to take action to prevent irreversible harm to the environments and biodiversity of the deep sea. [...] Consistent with a precautionary approach, the Council and the member states of the Authority are obliged to take preventive measures to ensure these environmental harms are not caused through the authorisation of deep-sea mining operations. [...] The Seabed Disputes Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea held that the obligation to adopt a precautionary approach applies where there are ‘plausible indications of potential risks’, even if the available scientific evidence is insufficient to determine the magnitude and extent of potential negative impacts. [...] EJF therefore calls on the Council to fulfil its mandate to protect and conserve the marine environment for the benefit of all of humankind under Articles 145 and 140(1) of UNCLOS. [...] In particular, we call on the Council to adopt the following measures, consistent with a precautionary approach: (1) Pursuant to Article 162(2)(x), disapprove the entirety of the Area for exploitation, for a defined period of time, to be renewed unless the available scientific evidence establishes that mining would not cause any biodiversity loss or damage to marine ecosystems.