International Seabed Authority Council – France calls for expanding the coalition against deep-sea mining


Part I of the 28th Session of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) Council concluded on March 31 in Jamaica. On that occasion, France spoke on behalf of 13 States, issuing a call to form a broad coalition of nations to oppose deep-sea mining.

This 12-day Council meeting was held in Kingston, Jamaica, from March 16 to 31. At this meeting, France reaffirmed its total opposition to deep-sea mining. Seabeds play a major, critical role in regulating the climate, and the destruction of their ecosystems could have significant repercussions on the global carbon cycle.

France therefore issued a call on behalf of 13 nations in a declaration titled “Calling for a partnership for the Deep Sea.” The declaration stresses that scientific knowledge of deep-sea ecosystems is still far too inadequate to consider mining, which presents a risk of irreversible damage. It was supported by five other delegations to the Council.

This position is consistent with the statements President Macron issued last November at the Sharm el-Sheik Climate Change Conference (COP27), which led to the strong commitments adopted at the One Ocean Summit in Brest in light of major concerns relating to the urgent need to protect the oceans.

The ISA Council also provided an opportunity for four working groups (financial clauses of exploitation contracts, protection of the marine environment, inspection and compliance, and institutional matters) to discuss every aspect of the mining code. The French delegation worked actively with the other delegations to strengthen environmental requirements.

As for the two-year rule which is expiring in July, the Council reached a consensus on the idea that a plan of work should not be approved automatically by the Council after July 9, and that mining should not begin without a complete set of exploitation regulations that offer sufficient environmental protections and guarantee the equitable sharing of financial and non-financial benefits for developing nations.