The International Seabed Authority is holding the International Workshop to Develop an Environmental Management Plan for the Clarion Clipperton Zone in Kingston, Jamaica, from November 8-12, 2010.
Consultants will create a proposal outlining an Environmental Management Plan for presentation at the workshop. The proposal will take into consideration how the nine areas of particular environmental interest identified in documents ISBA/14/LTC/2 and ISBA/15/LTC/4 relate to areas explored by contractors and future mining activities. The Environmental Management Plan will address the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in its entirety.
During its fourteenth and fifteenth sessions (2008 and 2009), the Authority’s Legal and Technical Commission considered a proposal to establish a network of areas of particular environmental interest in the CCZ in the Central Pacific Ocean.
The proposal identifies nine areas of particular environmental interest in nine different regions of the CCZ, configured so as to protect natural ecosystem structure and function and allow for recolonization of impacted areas, while avoiding any conflict with existing uses of the CCZ.
While noting that the design of the proposed network was based on existing scientific work, the Commission considered it premature to propose that the Council use its powers under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention to institute a permanent closure of the areas concerned. The Commission nevertheless considered that the scientific information that could be generated from such areas could be usefully applied to the adoption of rules, regulations and procedures incorporating applicable standards for the protection and preservation of the marine environment, and also greatly facilitate the periodic review of environmental regulations and recommendations.
To prevent irreversible future damage, and taking into account its mandate under article 165, paragraphs (d), (e) and (h), of the Convention, as well as regulation 31(2) of the Regulations, the Commission considered that the development of polymetallic nodule resources in the CCZ demanded a rational and comprehensive environmental management plan for the CCZ as a whole. Such a plan should include a clear definition of the conservation objectives for the CCZ and a comprehensive environmental monitoring programme. The Commission also recalled that the General Assembly of the United Nations had called upon States and relevant international organizations at all levels urgently to consider ways of integrating and improving, on a scientific basis, the management of risks to vulnerable marine biodiversity within the framework of the Law of the Sea Convention, in a way that is consistent with international law and the principles of integrated ecosystem-based management.
To better inform the work of the Council and the Commission, the Commission recommended that the Authority convene, as a priority activity, an international workshop, to include members of the Commission with relevant expertise, representatives of contractors and other experts to consider and develop the proposal further.
Accordingly, the objectives of the workshop are to:
Review further the proposal currently under consideration by the Legal and Technical Commission for the establishment of a network of areas of particular environmental interest in the CCZ, and identify how the establishment of such a network could contribute to the general objectives of the environmental regime established by the Authority.
Advise on the formulation of a regional scale environmental management plan for the CCZ, based on the best available scientific knowledge, including the conservation objectives for the CCZ and a comprehensive environmental monitoring programme.
Identify the data available, including that collected by existing contractors with the Authority, to support such a management plan and future scientific research needs.