Netherlands – key statements

Date: 10 November 2022

March 2024


  • Netherland stated that both the ISA and OSPAR have their own clearly defined mandates, both promote and conduct marine scientific research and both have a strong interest in the protection of the marine environment.
  • The Netherlands proposes that the Commission come back to the Council with the names of contractors that have ignored calls from Council 
  • The Netherlands encourages the Commission to further increase transparency in its work to enhance transparency on matters concerning the Authority. 
  • The delegation requests the Commission to consider developing further environmental threshold values. 


  • The Netherlands believes that test mining is a required step for every contractor to take before a plan of work. 
  • The delegation believes that test mining should be subject to EIAs.


  • The Netherlands believes that rules and procedures for an environmental compensation fund should be established before work begins, with the fund being fully funded.  


  • Netherlands calls for a robust, transparent and independent compliance mechanism. The delegation prefers a standalone committee reporting to Council.
  • The Netherlands considers the Council does not need to take any additional measures in relation to the Secretary-General report on Greenpeace’s actions in November 2023. 
  • The delegation made several key comments on the matter:
    • The right to protest at sea is recognized under international law, but must be exercised peacefully and without compromising safety or interferingw ith the rights of other States
    • The Netherlands has jurisdiction over the vessel and can determine hte limits of the right to protest at sea through its competent courts. 
    • The Inspectorate found no legal basis for safety zones around MV Coco, and safety was not compromised during the Greenpeace protest. 
    • The Netherlands stated that the ISA’s Secretary Generals immediate measures under Regulation 33 were not justified, as the protest posed no damage to the marine environment. 
    • The Netherlands also asserts that the ISA does not have jurisdiction to determine boundaries of the right to protest on the high seas and a potential misuse of power. 
    • The Netherlands argues that the Secretary General lacks jurisdiction to limit the right to protest at see and rejects any suggestion that its courts condoned protest actions. 
  • The Netherlands believes no additional measures are needed on this issue.


  • The Netherlands wants to ensure maximum and appropriate representation of all actors involved, especially civil society.


  • The Netherlands supports the German proposal for further discussion on integrating environmental costs into the payment mechanism.
  • The delegation raised concerns that the current draft text does not say that exploitation cannot take place before the agreement of rules, regulations and procedures.


  • The delegation noted that the current text is not a consensus-based text. “It must still be agreed upon. Nothing is agreed, until everything is agreed. “
  • Netherlands believes the time is not right for informal-informals 
  • Netherlands is of the opinion that all text is open to discussion until we have finalized the entire package of rules, regulations and procedures
  • “Like Jamaica and others, we reserve the right to introduce proposals” 
  • Netherlands welcome the participation of all others, including civil society.

July 2023


  • The delegation stated that “Scientific knowledge is still insufficient and inadequate, and the RRP is not complete, so we cannot take the step from exploration to exploitation. We need more research. We are closely aligned with those expressing concern, but we do not want to place a label on this.”


  • The Kingdom of the Netherlands is of the opinion that future mining can only take place if clearly demonstrated to be strictly in the capacity of the marine ecosystem, respecting biodiversity.
  • Knowledge about the deep sea is needed.
  • Effects of deep-sea mining and biodiversity must be sufficiently understood and operational practices can demonstrate the marine environment is not seriously harmed.


  • Called for a reference to the oceans function in climate systems and ecosystems.

March 2023


  • The Netherlands highlighted that when developing environmental thresholds, we need to consider that there will be another main impact, habitat loss due to removal of nodules.
  • They stated that nodules host species that cannot live in surrounding sediments, and inc key structural species, inc glass sponges. Their removal means removal of creatures on geological timescales and key species support a high diversity of associated fauna
  • “We would like to ask council to reflect on how loss of habitat can reflected and included in thresholds”
  • The Netherlands also drew attention to Belgium’s intervention on a recent pollution event that occurred during test-mining and asked if the contractor responded promptly and what procedure was followed subsequently.


  • The delegation reiterated their commitment to engage in the in work of authority to achieve a robust and holistic regulatory framework that protects marine environment from harmful effects.
  • They stated that this means deep-sea mining can only take places if strictly within capacity of marine ecosystems and ensuring continued health and biodiversity.
  • The delegation called for sufficient scientific knowledge, a strict application of the precautionary principle a full understanding risks and that the technology is able to demonstrate no serious harm, stating that these requirements need to be full enshrined in rules and regulations.
  • Only then will the Authority be in a position to review and decide upon licenses for exploitation
  • The delegation also recalled that the they believe that Council should further exchange on what if scenario – support continuing intersessional dialogu and collectively progress work at ISA


  • We need the Council to provide clarity about situation arising after 9 July 2023. The lack of clarity and legal certainty raises a lot of question and concerns and requires explaining at national level.


  • Called for contractors to do no “serious harm”


  • The Netherlands backed Canada’s proposal to allocate more time for discussion on “what if” scenarios.

October/November 2022


  • Drew attention to the LTC annual report which noted that contractors are not complying with the standard clauses of their contract. 
  • It is crucial that contractors during the exploration phase abide by their contractual obligations.  
  • Propose that the Council actually name those contractors that have repeatedly ignored the calls from the Council and the LTC to comply with their contractual obligations. 


  • The Netherlands stated that in the absence of a fit-for-purpose regulatory framework exploitation of deep seabed should not commence.


  • The Netherlands joined Australia, Belgium, the United States, Chile, New Zealand and Costa Rica in pushing back on proposed restrictions by the ISA that would limit observers (including NGOs and scientists) to one intervention at the end of each working group.
  • They stated that it is “crucial to have full participation from observers and we need to have modalities for efficient proceedings.”

July/August 2022


  • Supported the development of “normative thresholds to effectively protect the marine environment and see it as a priority in the development of mining code.”


  • Stated that they do not wish to have such a broad reference to other rules of international law.


  • The delegation stated that “thresholds are important in informing our future work.”
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