How to Improve Environment Impact Assessments in the 2019 International Seabed Authority Draft Regulations

Sixth report of the Code Project

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How to Improve Environment Impact Assessments in the 2019 International Seabed Authority Draft Regulations

Due to technological advances, mining the deep ocean floor is becoming a reality, with potential consequences for the sea’s ecosystems. To anticipate these effects, environment impact assessments (EIAs) are necessary. The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is incorporating EIAs into its draft of exploitation regulations.

This sixth and most recent Code Project report is an assessment of the ISA’s Draft Exploitation Regulations of 25 March 2019, taking into account text amendments proposed by some member States in December 2019.  

The Code Project is a cooperative enterprise of 17 scientists and legal scholars from 11 nations. The project’s mission is to provide analyses of the latest drafts of the rules and regulations that will comprise the Mining Code of the ISA. This month marks the fourth year of Code Project publications.

This latest white paper is focused on the EIA provisions of the draft exploitation regulations. The paper includes some proposed language changes designed to improve the regulations’ treatment of EIAs. It is designed to inform discussion among ISA member States, contractors and observers at the body’s July 2020 meeting. The Pew Charitable Trusts is hopeful that, based on those discussions, the ISA will write precautionary final rules for environmental management of seabed mining beyond national jurisdiction.

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