OceanCare has been active to promote transparency and stakeholder engagement in various international fora for many years. Today, we continued our efforts with a submission to the International Seabed Authority on its “Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Strategy (Zero Draft)”.
The International Seabed Authority (ISA) with seat in Kingston, Jamaica, is an autonomous international organization established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 1994 Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of UNCLOS (1994 Agreement). ISA encompasses 167 Member States and the European Union and is mandated to organize, regulate and control all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area for the benefit of mankind as a whole. ISA also has the duty to ensure the effective protection of the marine environment from harmful effects that may arise from deep-seabed mining related activities. As this double responsibility is not without controversy, transparency and engagement of all stakeholders is crucial for ISA in order to responsibly fulfil its duties.
In the context of its commitment to transparency and active participation of stakeholders, ISA has drafted a Communications and Stakeholders Engagement Strategy which was open to public consultation. In OceanCare’s view, the drafted provisions fall short of well-established regional and international transparency and participatory principles. OceanCare contributed its comments for improving the draft strategy with a view to enhance transparency and lower hurdles for stakeholder engagement at ISA. Among other OceanCare suggests that transparency should be the rule regarding information submitted to ISA concerning deep sea mining activities and confidentiality the exception. OceanCare also seeks to broaden participation of non-governmental organizations (NGO) observers in ISA’s processes, particularly in its organs and subsidiary organs.