GERMANY, Berlin (28 September 2017) – –  Secretary-General Michael Lodge, yesterday addressed participants attending the ISA Workshop on the Design and Monitoring of Impact Reference Zones (IRZ) and Preservation Reference Zones (PRZ) that is being held in Berlin from 27-29 September 2017.
He told participants that the objective of the workshop was to help the ISA develop criteria for the design and monitoring of those zones in the Area. 

He said that the concept of the IRZs and PRZs had been around for a long time.

“We need to keep in mind that IRZs and PRZs are no more and no less than a tool to be used as part of an environmental monitoring programme. They are not marine protected areas and they are not intended as a vehicle to meet broader conservation objectives.”
“Their legitimacy flows from the recognition of a need for monitoring programmes in accordance with UNCLOS and the ISA Regulations, and through the use of recognized scientific methods for such monitoring. Their spatial and temporal extent should therefore be proportionate to their true function”.
He encouraged workshop participants to use good practice examples from the oil and gas dredging and mining industry, consider the practical and feasible in terms of anticipated scale and magnitude of actual mining operations, and the importance of giving clear and consistent guidance to contractors.

Full Statement
Workshop Agenda
Background Note