African Group – Key Statements

Date: 29 July 2022

March 2024

27/3/24

  • The African Group stated that the environmental plans of contractors should be coordinated with REMPs and the need to establish mechanisms for contractors to share environmental monitoring data and reports.
  • Believes mining plans must be subjected to a rigorous assessment and approval by the ISA before operations begin mechanisms in place to monitor environmental impacts and implement effective mitigation measures
  • The African group emphasized the importance of protection underwater heritage. 

26/3/24

  • On Reg 22 – Supports Costa Rica in their statement 
  • The African Group is of the view that exploitation activities should not commence until the fund contains a minimum pay. 

25/3/24

  • The African Group proposed to delete paragraph 3 in Regulation 16 and replace it with a more general provision on grounds for disapproval.

22/3/24

  • The African Group supports an independent compliance committee and not one that is an appendage of the LTC.

19/3/24

  • The African Group believes it is very important to disclose revenues from deep-sea mining contractors – it is an important addition in dealing with transparency. 

November 2023

7/11/23

  • The African Group is flexible around the language as we can envision circumstances where the Authority must release confidential information from the contractor for good cause. 
  • The African Group aligns with streamlining with relevant aspects for the settlement of disputes. The group also thinks that the mechanism provided is comprehensive enough as has been said.
  • “Perhaps don’t need additional mechanisms, but concerned that mechanism could have a deficient capacity to enforce.”
  • Should retain and give primacy to UNCLOS.
  • The African Group thinks that it is important to have some language around review of regulations. The African Group believe that it’s important because it’s necessary to give confidence to stakeholders that the regulations are progressive and alive, given the fact that there is a lot of pushback on deep seabed mining, and the considerations that science is developing, we don’t have enough of it. So we must give confidence that it will be responsive to those fundamental environmental changes. It’s not unusual to have a review clause in international treaties. There are several of them.

6/11/23

  • The African Group has many concerns about financial incentives for contractors not aligning with UNCLOS except if limited to joint ventures with the Enterprise.  Therefore, we have not come to a position for the changes that have been made.
  • “Brazil has raised important points and we need to look at these further. Contractors should not receive financial incentives for carrying out their obligations – they should not need to be incentives, also known as subsidies.”

1/11/23

  • Draft regulation 49: The African Group supports the inclusion of marine litter and underwater noise.

July 2023

13/7/23

  • The African Group doesn’t consider peer review of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) should be mandatory. The LTC is a competent body that performs independent review and can engage experts as needed.
  • The African Group supports the establishment of a self-standing Compliance Committee and not one within the LTC. The self-standing Compliance Committee should be responsible for overall compliance and enforcement issues. The African Group finds the LTC Compliance Committee approach inconsistent with the need for the principles of effectiveness, independence and impartiality on one hand, and on the other hand, from a practical perspective, it will be difficult reconciling current LTC expertise, and the expertise needed for an effective Compliance Committee. 

March 2023

24/3/23

  • We agree there cannot be commercial activity in the area before all rules, regulations and procedures in place.

23/3/23

  • Stated that EIA is an international system with agreed terminology and systems. EIA processes should be interpreted within this agreed and accepted framework – throughout ISA regulations.

17/3/23

  • The African Group stated that that their position is that providing incentives to invest does not provide best international practices. 
  • The African Group spoke out against ISA incentives to attract investments. “As currently drafted, provides incentives to investment to the Area.”

July/August 2022

29/7/22

  • Supported the operationalization of an Economic Planning Committee (EPC) “as soon as possible.”
  • The delegation stated that “As the recent United Nations Oceans conference has highlighted, there is a need to scale up ocean action based on science for the implementation of SDG 14 and the preservation and protection of the marine environment.”
  • Supported the approval of the ISA’s MOU with the African Union and requested member states to support the MOU.
  • Supported the operationalization of an Economic Planning Committee (EPC) “as soon as possible.”
  • The delegation stated that “As the recent United Nations Oceans conference has highlighted, there is a need to scale up ocean action based on science for the implementation of SDG 14 and the preservation and protection of the marine environment.”
  • Supported the approval of the ISA’s MOU with the African Union and requested member states to support the MOU.

28/7/22

  • Stated that the Area and its resources are the Common Heritage of Humankind and exploitation should be carried out for humankind as a whole.
  • The delegation called for any study of environmental costs of deep-sea mining to include valuation of deep sea and services as well as natural capital and cover direct and indirect impacts on seafloor, subsoil and water column, using a low discount rate used for present and future generation. They added that a Separate study to incentivise contractors to exceed legal obligations for marine environmental protection could enhance protection, but goes against polluter pays, which discourages subsidies for environmental protection, and instead requires full internalization.

27/7/22

  • The delegation urged caution in referring to international treaties and frameworks. They stated that “the BBNJ is still under construction and so if that is what is envisaged, then we really do not know the extent to which it interacts with the rules that we are developing now, and so, we will be cautious around that.”
  • Supported efforts to streamline text.
  • The delegation stated that Article 150 is paramount to take into the interests of developing states, which is fundamental when talking about the common heritage of humankind.

26/7/22

  • Called for developing States to have a fair chance to participate in the activities in the area, stating concerns that “that elements and mechanisms designed to give meaning to the principle of the common heritage of humankind risk being eroded”
  • The African Group also stated concerns that the number of reserved areas available to the Enterprise would decline

25/7/22

  • The delegation called for the deletion of “serious” so that regulations encompass all harmful effects

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