Deep seabed mining has the potential to accelerate progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by increasing scientific knowledge of the deep ocean whilst at the same time providing opportunities for economic growth on the basis of fairness and equity , highlighted Mr. Michael W. Lodge, Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) at the High-Level UN Global Compact meeting held in Oslo, Norway, last week.
“Mining and metals are essential for a low carbon future and are an integral part of achieving the 2030 Agenda,” said Mr. Lodge in his remarks at the UN Global Compact Action Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business High-Level meeting on Ocean.
“But even under the most optimistic scenarios, total materials requirements will increase at a pace faster than can be compensated by increased recycling or new discoveries on land – the deep seabed harbours the largest untapped mineral resource known to mankind, including the copper, manganese, nickel and cobalt that will be needed to support mass electrification.”
The Secretary-General reminded the audience that, “Unlike any other part of the global commons, the deep seabed is subject to a unique global regime, managed through ISA, with an emphasis on equity in allocation of access to resources, combined with environmental protection. No other resource on the planet is managed in this way.”
Accordingly, Mr. Lodge, emphasized the importance of the work of ISA in ensuring that the development of the regulatory system for deep seabed mining be done in compliance with international law, balancing the need for environmental protection with the need for new sources of critical minerals.
In his address, Mr. Lodge also underscored ISA’s role in promoting and sharing increased scientific knowledge of the deep ocean.
“Scientific knowledge of the marine environment will be critical to achieving SDG 14 and I cannot emphasize too highly the important role that ISA, the deep sea minerals industry and the scientific community, working together, will play in financing, supporting and sharing this work to all humankind,” he said.
The Secretary-General highlighted several examples of the contributions made as a result of deep sea mineral exploration including the joint work of ISA and IOC-UNESCO and the Seabed 2030 project in mapping of the seabed, improving and standardizing taxonomic knowledge and sharing deep ocean data.
Mr. Lodge further underlined the potential benefits of deep seabed mining in advancing the sustainable development of the Blue Economy in developing countries.
“For many developing States, particularly those that lack resources on land, seabed mining is seen as an avenue to accelerate progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda by expanding their resource base while at the same time building human and technological capacity,” he added.
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