DSCC Interventions – 22/3/24

Date: 22 March 2024

Thank you Mr. President,

This intervention is on behalf of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, AIDA, Oceans North, and Pew Charitable Trusts.

We align with the statement made by Greenpeace International and all observers who have spoken before us.

The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental human right, and States have a duty to respect, facilitate and protect it. As many have raised, the proposal to establish a 500 meter safety zone around a vessel would be contrary to UNCLOS, as well as an unacceptable attempt to limit the right to protest. We thank the many States that have spoken today in defense to this fundamental right. 

It is not uncommon for an industry that lacks social licence to attempt to exempt itself from public scrutiny. As our Earth buckles under the strain of a triple planetary crisis, the real cause for concern is not peaceful and legitimate protests, but rather the apparent perception that some companies are entitled to mine our global commons, at any societal and environmental cost, with limited transparency or public checks and balances. This is exemplified by the LTC approval of test mining in 2022 by silence procedure, which caught many by surprise.

The press release issued by the ISA on the 28th November asks us to accept a number of mind bending contradictions as truths. It asserts, for example, that Greenpeace, a non-profit environmental organization, presented “a serious threat to the marine environment” with its protests, while the seabed mining company was acting for the benefit of humankind.

Let us not forget that this very same company intends to undertake a commercial activity that would cause permanent and irreversible damage to deep sea ecosystems and species. The same company that promised its investors in August 2023 that it would submit its mining application this year, despite the significant environmental risks and insufficient scientific information, even in the absence of regulations. 

There are numerous examples in history where ​​public actions and protests against industries that degrade nature and harm people, have successfully raised awareness and triggered positive change in our societies. 

Outside of these walls, millions of people worldwide stand behind a precautionary pause or moratorium on deep-sea mining, including a growing number of States, scientists, businesses, financial institutions, human rights leaders, fishing groups and Indigenous Peoples. There is no 500 metre exclusion zone that can make the opposition to deep-sea mining go away.

Establishing a precautionary pause or moratorium is the safest way to ensure the effective protection of the marine environment. Defusing the artificial pressure will allow time for the international community of States to make informed decisions that truly benefit us all today, and also our children and grandchildren tomorrow.

Thank you Mr. President.

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