Kingston, Jamaica – On 29 March 2024, the Council of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) successfully concluded the first part of its 29th session, marking significant progress in the ongoing negotiations of the draft exploitation regulations for mineral resources in the international seabed area (the Area).

Under the new leadership of the President of the Council for the 29th session, H.E. Mr. Olav Myklebust from Norway, the first part of the session witnessed substantial discussions and advancements. “I am very pleased with the progress made by the Council. We are moving forward with the development of regulations on the exploitation of deep seabed minerals with strong environmental protection at a good pace,” said H.E. Mr. Myklebust in his closing remarks.

As to the inter-institutional cooperation, a key highlight of the session was the approval of the memorandum of understanding between ISA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, emphasizing the importance of cooperation in deep-sea fisheries and management of areas beyond national jurisdiction. The Council also discussed the report on cooperation with the OSPAR Commission, underlining the need for enhanced coordination and recognition of the unique mandate of ISA in regulating activities in the Area.

Reflecting on the progress achieved, Mr. Andy Aron, Minister Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations, emphasized the critical balance the negotiations aim to achieve: “As the largest archipelagic State and a primary producer of critical minerals, Indonesia attaches particular importance to the Council’s ongoing negotiations on the exploitation regulations. We hope they will result in an outcome that is rooted in United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1994 Agreement, striking a balance between development and the environment and upholding the principle of the common heritage of humankind.”

Closing the meetings of the Council, ISA Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge, underscored the dedication and collaborative spirit of the Member States. “This session has once again demonstrated the commitment of our Member States to advancing the regulatory framework for the sustainable use of the deep-sea mineral resources. The progress we have made is a testament to our collective effort to ensure that such activities are carried out responsibly, with the utmost regard for environmental protection,” said Secretary-General Lodge.

The first part of the 29th session featured several thematic discussions, including equalization measures and the inspection mechanism. The Council made significant progress concerning the negotiations on the draft exploitation regulations for mineral resources in the Area. The Council also took note of the ongoing development of environmental threshold values and the progress on regional environmental management plans, highlighting the importance of environmental protection and sustainable management practices in the Area. The first part of the 29th session also featured discussions on test mining and the definition of intangible cultural heritage, reflecting the Council’s comprehensive approach to addressing the multifaceted aspects of deep-sea mining.

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About ISA

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is an autonomous international organization mandated by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to protect the seabed for the shared benefit of humankind. As a science-based organization acting as Trustee for the protection and sustainable management of the Area and its minerals, ISA is committed to the principle that all nations of the world should benefit from responsible, sustainable and regulated economic activities in the deep seabed, including deep-seabed mining. ISA works to ensure that the voices of all States and stakeholders, including developing States and civil society organizations, are effectively heard in discussions around the sustainable development of the deep seabed.


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