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The first part of the 26th session of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) convenes in Kingston, Jamaica, and will include meetings of the: ISA Council (17-21 February); and Legal and Technical Commission (LTC) (24 On Tuesday, the first part of the 26th session of the Council of the International Seabed Authority (ISA-26) met for its second day in Kingston, Jamaica. Delegates started with a discussion of the report of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on the financial model.

In interventions on the financial model, divergent views emerged on whether to focus on refining a subset of ad valorem payment mechanisms, or to continue consideration of all models, including profit-based options. There was broad agreement that more work is needed in the OEWG prior to the second part of ISA-26, with several encouraging increased participation.

Much of the day was taken up by extended procedural discussions regarding how to organize work on the draft exploitation regulations and whether to conduct this work in an informal setting in plenary or in a working group setting. Several lamented that the organization of the work was taking up valuable time that could be spent on substantive discussions. At the end of the day, delegates started the substantive discussion in an informal setting, providing detailed comments on the content of Part IV of the draft exploitation regulations, related to the protection and preservation of the marine environment.

Highlights of the day included:

  • discussions on the report on the financial model;
  • agreement on holding a fourth meeting of the OEWG on the financial model before the second part of ISA-26;
  • informal discussions on how best to discuss, and make progress on, the draft exploitation regulations, including proposals related to the establishment of facilitated working groups, and remote intersessional work by Council members; and
  • informal plenary discussions on Part IV of the draft exploitation regulations related to the protection and preservation of the marine environment.

At lunchtime, a side event was organized by the Pew Charitable Trusts under the title ‘Scientific Consideration for the Environmental Management of Inactive Polymetallic Sulfide Ecosystems.’

For more details on the day’s events and to learn what delegates said in the breezeways, see our daily Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB).