On Wednesday, the Council of the International Seabed Authority convened for the third day of the first part of its 26th session (ISA-26) in Kingston, Jamaica. Delegates discussed aspects related to the draft exploitation regulations, specifically proposals related to regional environmental management plans (REMPs). The Council also discussed issues relating to the election of members of the Legal and Technical Commission (LTC).
In discussions on the former, delegates considered proposals tabled by Germany, the Netherlands, and Costa Rica on a procedure for the development, approval and review of REMPs, and on a standardized approach for REMPs. While welcoming the proposals, many raised concerns over the implications of the proposed procedure, particularly the role and mandate of a new expert committee to deal specifically with REMPs. They were also concerned about a perceived duplication of efforts, with several pointing out the fact that the LTC is already working to address this issue.
In the afternoon, discussions on the membership of the LTC took center stage. Vladislav Kurbatskiy (Russian Federation), who served as facilitator for the closed-door discussions on the issue, reported that the informal group could not agree on the issue of equitable geographical balance. Still unable to agree on this issue in the informal plenary, the meeting was suspended to allow for closed-door negotiations to resume. These consultations resulted in delegates agreeing to allow Facilitator Kurbatskiy to prepare a draft decision for consideration on Thursday morning.
Highlights of the day included:
- discussions on the development, approval and review of REMPs;
- discussions on a proposed template for REMPs; and
- extended informal and closed-door discussions on the composition of the LTC.
At lunchtime, a side event was organized by the Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. (NORI), titled “NORI Environmental Programme Update.”