Italy – Key statements

Date: 10 November 2022

March 2024


  • Italy believes an environmental compensation fund should be established before the approval of a plan of work contract. 
  • Italy stated that the 2011 ITLOS advisory opinion emphasized the relevance of the fund and to ensure it covers damage that occurs despite an operator’s compliance and diligence, in the absence of wrongful conduct.


  • The delegation stated that Greenpeace protest in November 2023 was to raise public awareness of deep-sea mining on the deep sea environment. 
  • Italy considers it is okay to tolerate some level of noise through civilian protest and acknowledges the right to peaceful protest.


  • Italy fully agrees with taking into account the internalization of environmental externalities into the financial mechanism. 
  • The delegation noted that the Authority acknowledges the current uncertainties and limited knowledge of deep ocean ecosystems and the potential effects of the activities in the Area. Italy expressed that the regulations should be open to revisions if necessary and in light of the advancement in scientific knowledge.

November 2023


  • Italy reiterated their position – “we want to underline the importance of ensuring a high and ambitious level of environmental protection for the deep sea.”
  • “Deep-sea mining should be based on science policy and decision-making, the precautionary and ecosystem approach.”
  • “Deep-sea mining should not be allowed until after a strong regulatory framework”
  • In the absence of such a strong and adequate framework, Italy would not approve a plan of work


  • Italy discussed whether there is a need to adopt a decision on whether to review the regulations. We can just say every 5 years, the Council may decide to undertake a review of the regulations. It is not an obligation to review the regulations.


  • Draft regulation 49: like others, Italy would like to keep reference to harmful effects. As well, the delegation insisted including marine litter and underwater noise in the regulation as it is specific and not always included in the terms of pollution.

July 2023


  • Italy stated that deep-sea mining should not be authorized until after the adoption of a strong and adequate regulatory framework which prevents harmful effects to the marine environment. They state that in absence of such a strong regulatory framework, Italy will not support plans of work for the exploitation of mineral resources in the area. 

October/November 2022


  • Supported The Netherlands’ proposal for the names of the contractors that did not fulfill their contractual obligations to be shared as a necessary step towards greater transparency. 
  • Italy believes the revised NORI EIS and EMMP should have been released publicly and see merit in releasing the revised EIS for full stakeholder consultation. 
  • Italy requested additional information on the Secretariat’s inspection of NORI’s exploration test, as well as the inspection process.  


  • Italy stated that the quality of regulations should not be weakened due to imposed deadlines.


  • Called for engagement of indigenous communities, local communities, industry, representatives of coastal states, other marine users, regional bodies, future bodies of BBNJ, CBD, EBSAs

July/August 2022


  • Stated that “we are strongly committed to a sustainable science based use of marine natural resources, for the preservation of the ecosystems integrity and to the creation of an institutional regulatory framework for the exploitation of the mineral resources of the area using scientific knowledge, the precautionary principle and the ecosystem based approach.”
  • “Italy shapes its own mining culture based on sustainability throughout the lifespan of the mind from research to environmental restoration. We believe this should also apply to seabed mining activities. In this context deep sea mining should not commence as we stated also previously, until we prove prior to the authorization exploitation contracts, a strong regulatory framework, ensure that the environmental effects associated with activities in the area do not create a detriment to deep-sea ecosystems.”


  • On operationalizing an EPC, the delegation stated that “we cannot at this stage forecast revenue from deep-sea mining so this is premature.”


  • Stated that the ISA is at a critical juncture, so we have a responsibility to make necessary decisions.


  • Stated that the Council is not informed on the identity of contractors that are not fully compliant with their obligations and “Italy believes that Council should be duly informed about entities not performing at the same satisfactory level as others. This is relevant when there is a delay in collecting sufficient environmental baseline data and temporal variability of relevant environmental practices, which is crucial for the definition of threshold, which feeds into environmental regulations. This should be carefully taken into account during the exploration phase when exploration activity should be thoroughly assessed.
  • They also warned that some contractors are relying on the work undertaken by other contracted areas. This is not acceptable. One of the missions of exploration licenses under the Common Heritage of Humankind is to generate knowledge for the whole international community.
  • “Regarding the application for approval of a plan award for exploration by Circular Metals Tuvalu Ltd, Italy observes with concern the unfolding of the events after Tuvalu withdrew its sponsorship. The request by CMT to postpone the analysis of its plan of work until CMT changes its nationality. Sponsorship is a wake-up call for all of us to reflect and possibly agree on a definition of effective control, including in the exploitation context.


  • Italy called for test mining to be subjected to “robust environmental impact assessment procedures, similar to those envisaged in the exploitation regulations.”
  • The delegation requested to keep marine litter and underwater noise in regulations as these are emerging threats to the underwater environment.


  • The Italian delegation commented that “We are fully aware of the potential impacts on marine ecosystems and the functioning of…the ocean as a climate regulator. In committing to negotiations we support the highest standard of protection.” 


  • Called for full transparency in negotiations and the reinstatement of UN Web TV so that remote delegates, observers and media could follow meeting proceedings.
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