Russia – Key statements

Date: 10 November 2022

March 2024

28/3/24

  • Russia suggests clarifying regulation 29ter to prioritize human live over environmental or material assets.

27/3/24

  • Russia noted that REMPs are fundamental in understanding areas that need protection. 
  • Russia does not believe States should use the terms tangible and intangible underwater cultural heritage and that States should first establish whether they should use the term underwater cultural heritage at all.

26/3/24

  • Russia noted that the name “environmental compensation fund” assumes that compensation is paid out in the case of environmental harm. Russia believes this is not the case for the fund and recommends renaming it to avoid confusion. 

22/3/24

  • Russia expressed that a compliance committee should be independent and report to Council. 
  • Russia is open to the composition of the committee.
  • Russia believes that Greenpeace’s actions in the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone are illegal due to a lack of clear criteria for marine environmental protection and that Greenpeace hindered the contractors activities in the area. 
  • Russia calls for measures to protect contractor rights, including the responsibility of flag states to allow undue interference. 
  • Russia called for the establishment of safety zones in exploitation regulations as important for contractor operations.

November 2023

8/11/23

  • Russia is support a consolidated text.
  • The delegation noted the significance of preserving and carrying out work in the intersessional period.  “We need more informal working groups, if we stop this work, this does not mean we cannot speak intersessionally, so that we are ready to continue working actively on the draft regulations.”

6/11/23

  • Russia stated the need to provide clear criteria and mechanisms to avoid subsidizing.
  • The delegation is supportive of the statement by the UK to incentive contractors that are already in agreements with Enterprise, not to incentivize contractors to undergo joint arrangements.
  • “The contractor should retain documents for the entirety of the contract and closure plan AND more time on top of that if there are questions.”
  • Russia noted that any such audit shall be undertaken at the contractor’s sole cost and shall be performed by an independent auditor approved by the Council in accordance with relevant standards and taking into account relevant guidelines.

1/11/23

  • Russia thinks that it’s important to protect underwater cultural heritage, nonetheless it should not be treated as part of the natural marine environment and whatever is man-made needs to be protected but is not part of the marine environment.
  • Russia is against using UNESCO convention on protection of underwater heritage as not all parties are members.
  • Draft regulation 49: Marine litter and underwater noise – The delegation stated that these are redundant and that pollution encompasses these aspects and no need to elaborate further and do not need to include in the regulation.

July 2023

25/7/23

  • Russia states that the main task facing the Council today is a thorough and conscientious completion and approval of the draft regulations for the exploitation of mineral resources in the area as well as the necessary accompanying standards and guidelines.
  • Russia states that the sustainable development of seabed mineral resources requires on the one hand further studying of the potential environmental impact of activities in the area and, on the other hand, the development of appropriate environmentally friendly technologies environmentally friendly as well as the development of remote monitoring systems for the deep sea areas.

18/7/23

  • Russia was opposed to the general public being notified of an Environmental Plan. 

17/7/23

  • Russia raised that it is very important for the Council to exercise control and contractors are to follow recommendations from LTC.
  • Sanctions should be discussed further.

14/7/23

  • Russia reaffirmed their position, that finalization and approval of regulations is their main priority and that fully developed regulations is a prerequisite.

13/7/23

  • Have some doubts with regard to the assessment of gender effects in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Agree there may be an impact on fisheries but not sure about gender impacts. 

12/7/23

  • Drew attention that the restoration of an environment to the original state would likely not be possible, as it is the case for any other human activity, or it might not be feasible in a short term timeframe.

10/7/23

  • DR 71: Russia requested that reference be made to the grade of mineral as the role of the payment system refers to all three types of minerals and is not only applicable to nodules. The President responded that it is his understanding that currently only the regime for nodules is being negotiated and the regulations will be adapted accordingly for other types of deposits. Russia suggested that in this case reference should be made that the regulations are only for nodules and that regulations related to other deposits will be negotiated elsewhere, as the draft regulations refer to the exploitation of mineral resources.

March 2023

27/3/23

  • We would like to emphasize that we should work carefully on the Rules, Regulations and Procedures – we need to provide for Art. 145 and for effective inspections and for benefit sharing.
  • We think it is premature to move to exploitation without Rules, Regulations and Procedures.

24/3/23

  • Russia confirmed that the commercial production from deep-sea mining is premature before the adoption of rules, regulations and procedures. We need the adequate protection of marine environment, including a full set of standards and guidelines.
  • Russia will work constructively with all stakeholders and discuss all possible options.

23/3/23

  • Called for regulations to refer to ‘serious harm’ (many States and observers have warned that this is too high a threshold in line with UNCLOS Article 5)

22/3/23

  • Echoed comments by DSCC, DOSI and Germany that restoration to original state is not possible

October/November 2022

10/11/22

  • Do not believe we can move into exploitation without robust regulations. 
  • Emphasized that the exploitation of mineral resources should be done in the interests of all countries, including developing countries. 

4/11/22

  • The delegation stated that the completion and agreement of regulations need more time, much more than 8 months remaining until July 2023.

3/11/22

  • On standardizing the procedure for development and approval of REMPs, the delegated stated that the draft text was not sufficient for adoption.
  • On the northern Mid Atlantic Ridge REMP, the delegation stated that there is a conflict between the rights of the contractor and the provisions that the active hydrothermal ecosystem located within the current exploration area will be protected from any direct or indirect impact or the development of such resources. They are assigned the status of the sites in need of protection, yet, formally, the plan does not prohibit the contractor from continuing their exploration of work in their areas, including the actor of active harm hydrothermal damp areas.
  • The delegation also added that to be realistic, the contractor does the work not just for itself but in order to move to exploitation in the future.

July/August 2022

4/8/22

  • “We need to think well, not procrastinate, so not be excessively slow. I would like to thank Costa Rica for a solid legal remark which was very well founded. We also agree with the message that in the case of a dispute we would need to refer the issue to the ITLOS.”

3/8/22

  • Russia supported Belgium’s proposal on contractors.

1/8/22

  • The Russian delegation stated that “Along with the Antarctic, atmosphere, and space, the world ocean became a sphere where international governance has been imposed. Large reserves of mineral resources – development potential not fully realized. Minerals such as nodules are only found in the oceans. Will lead to meeting demand of whole range of industries and facilitate more friendly sources of energy.”

25/7/22

  • Asked who would pay for damage to the marine environment if a contractor doesn’t have any funds to cover the damage.

22/7/22

  • The delegation agreed with Costa Rica and others that “indeed it is impossible to offset the harmful effect on the environment”. They continued “However, if any effect is sustained by the region, perhaps the contractor may offset that by taking action. So, to protect the coral reefs in another part of the global ocean, so, this is a type of an offset so, offsetting measures be taken elsewhere therefore, perhaps as far as offset is concerned”
  • The delegation also queried whether “we should give an alternative is that no deep sea mining is done at all.”
  • Russia also stated that “it is evident that some of the guidelines must be adopted before any plan of work is accepted and of course before exploitation. Without standards and guidelines, there will be nothing protecting those areas.”

21/7/22

  • Russia stated that “We should provide for the protection of the marine environment from possible consequences of the processing of extracted minerals, but we think that this would exceed the mandate of this authority. This authority should act in the area, and in the area, we can only do exploration and exploitation”
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