JAMAICA, Kingston (27 May 2018) - - The International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association (COMRA) are co-hosting a workshop on the Development of a Regional Environmental Management Plan (REMP) for the Cobalt-Rich Ferromanganese Crusts in the northwest Pacific Ocean in Qingdao, Shandong Province, China, from 26 to 29 May 2018.
The goals of the workshop are to understand the national, regional and international policies and laws; to find a consensus on the design of the REMPs as well as the preliminary ideas for its framework; and to produce a work plan for 2-3 years of scientific collaboration to collect and share the data needed for the design of the REMP.
In his opening statement, Secretary-General Michael Lodge said that the environmental management objectives of the Authority were (a) the prevention, reduction and control of pollution and other hazards to the marine environment; and (b) the protection and conservation of the natural resources of the Area and the prevention of damage to the flora and fauna of the marine environment.
He continued that having REMPs in place in all mineral provinces where exploration occurs will create the enabling conditions to inform better decision-making processes as well as contribute to the effective management of activities undertaken in the Area.
He emphasized that well-structured and organized information for the area where the Authority has issued contracts is of utmost priority for the design of any REMP.
He also reaffirmed the importance of cooperation of stakeholders in the designing of REMPs, adding that while the prime responsibility is with the Authority, the Authority should cooperate with other competent international organizations, contractors and independent researchers, as appropriate.
The International Seabed Authority is the only international organization mandated by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to administer and manage, on behalf of the States Parties to the Convention, the mineral resources in the Area.
It is intended that the REMP will be the second to be developed by the Authority – the first was the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for polymetallic nodules in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone approved by the Council (ISBA/18/C/22) in 2012.