Greenpeace calls out Seabed Authority over deep-sea mining laxity
Greenpeace has taken the International Seabed Authority to task about what it callsits laxity with regards to deep-sea mining.

GREENPEACE campaigner Arlo Hemphill is continuing the body’s agitation to get the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to make improved rules around the start of deep-sea mining by next summer 2023.

ISA member states have sped up negotiations on the rules to regulate the industry and met in Kingston, Jamaica, in March 2022. ISA is headquartered in Jamaica’s capital city.

In a release sent to the Jamaica Observer on April 20, Greenpeace said that allegations of lack of independence and transparency between the ISA and the mining industry reinforce the need for a moratorium on deep-sea mining.

In response to an LA Times article published on April 20, “A gold rush in the deep sea raises questions about the authority charged with protecting it,” Greenpeace USA senior oceans campaigner Hemphill said the direction of the ISA is questionable.

Hemphill said, “The issues outlined in the LA Times piece are reflective of broader concerns that civil society has with the direction that the International Seabed Authority (ISA) has taken under the leadership of Secretary General Michael Lodge.

“The ISA has a mandate to protect the seabed and to regulate any future deep-sea mining industry, yet it seems they are only focused on the launch of a new destructive global extractive industry. The conservation aspect of their mandate has been all but ignored.”

ISA not fit for purpose

Hemphill said that yet another crucial reason that it is essential that deep-sea mining is not allowed: the ISA is not fit for purpose.

He noted, “The LA Times report uncovers questionable practices that seem to blur the line between regulator and profiteer in the ISA, which operates outside the UN umbrella and is not subject to existing UN impartiality and staff regulations. Under Lodge’s stead, the ISA has never turned down a licence application.

He said, “it also raises the question of whether Lodge can lead a UN body responsible for protecting the depths of our planet. The deep ocean, one of the world’s largest, most fragile, and important ecosystems, must remain off-limits to the mining industry.”

Greenpeace USA is part of a global network of independent organisations which seeks to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions.

Avia Collinder

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