International Seabed Authority Could Benefit From Independent Scientific Expertise in Seabed Mining Decisions

New analysis by the Code Project provides suggestions of how the Authority might incorporate such advice

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International Seabed Authority Could Benefit From Independent Scientific Expertise in Seabed Mining Decisions
 The water is ink dark behind a sea squid that has an opalescent green pouch and a navy blue underbelly that surround an enormous eye. Credit Tracey Jennings/Ocean Image Bank
An opalescent sea squid swims in darkness through the deep sea, a region where numerous marine creatures thrive. New regulations would govern seabed mining in such places, areas currently beyond the jurisdiction of any one country.
Tracey Jennings Ocean Image Bank

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is developing rules and regulations to govern and regulate seabed mining of the ocean floor beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. Robust regulations must be in place before any mining activity is permitted to move forward to ensure the protection of marine ecosystems from this extractive industry.

The latest Code Project report examines the role of the ISA’s technical and advisory body, the Legal and Technical Commission, which assesses scientific information to inform evidence-based, sound decision-making. The Code Project analysis points to shortcomings in the body’s internal scientific capabilities. The paper then elaborates on different models and mechanisms for incorporating independent scientific expertise that the ISA could usefully apply. The paper is designed to inform discussion among ISA member States and observers at the body’s upcoming meetings.

The Code Project is a cooperative enterprise of 19 scientists and legal scholars from 11 nations. Its mission is to provide analyses of the regulatory framework for deep-sea mining under development at the ISA. The project’s efforts are aimed at developing precautionary and environmentally sound regulations that would ensure protection of the marine environment from the effects of mining.

The Pew Charitable Trusts provided funding for this project, but Pew is not responsible for errors in this paper and does not necessarily endorse its findings or conclusions.

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