ISA Council Opens Part II of Its 28th Session
The Council of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) opened the meetings of Part II of its 28th session on Monday, July 10, 2023. The Council will be meeting for ten days until July 21, 2023. As per the roadmap agreed upon at the meetings in November 2022, the priority set out by the Council is to continue to advance the negotiations on the draft regulations relating to the exploitation of mineral resources in the Area prepared by the Legal and Technical Commission of ISA and submitted to the Council in March 2019 (ISBA/25/C/WP.1).
The Council will also discuss other important matters, including the report on the outcome of the intersessional dialogue and working group discussions held since the end of Part I of the 28th session, the reports of the Legal and Technical Commission and the Finance Committee, and the operationalization of the Enterprise and the Economic Planning Commission.
In his opening remarks, the Secretary-General of ISA, H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge, welcomed the delegates to Jamaica and thanked the Jamaican government for its support in ensuring that all conditions were met for the meetings despite ongoing renovation works in the meeting venue. He also thanked the members of the Legal and Technical Commission and the Finance Committee, which held their meetings from June 28 to 7 July and from July 5 to 7, respectively, and informed delegates that the reports are available on the ISA website in English as unedited advance versions pending translation in the other five languages of the United Nations.
Secretary-General Lodge also commended the work of facilitators of the different informal and intersessional working groups for their contributions in advancing the text of the regulations since the last meetings of the Council in March.
“The agenda for the meeting is fully packed, and it guarantees to be a working session for the Council with substantive discussions and advances on the negotiations of the draft regulations, carrying out the mandate of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1994 Agreement with a view to establishing a robust legal framework for the activities in the Area, while ensuring the effective protection of the marine environment,” Secretary-General Lodge said.
“It is my hope that the Council will work with the usual cooperative and camaraderie spirit during the upcoming meetings. To this end, I wish you fruitful deliberations.”
The President of the Council for the 28th session, Ambassador González Mijares (Mexico), also thanked the facilitators and all the delegations that helped advance the work intersessionally.
“I am looking forward to our continued efforts of creating a robust, comprehensive, sustainable, and workable code of exploitation. This will be the best guarantor for the protection of the deep-sea marine environment and to fulfil benefit sharing to all countries,” Ambassador González said.
“As I also mentioned during my opening speech for the first part of the 28th session, it is my aim and true intention during this presidency to uphold the principles, rights, and duties of all Members to negotiate in good faith to make substantive advance in the different parts of the draft regulations,” he added.
The open-ended working group on the financial terms of contracts, established by the Council in July 2018 to discuss a financial model and payment mechanism for deep-sea mining and chaired by Mr. Olav Myklebust (Norway), then held its eighth meeting and resumed its discussions on the Chair’s further revised text. The meetings of the open-ended working group will continue until Tuesday, July 11.
The other working groups established by the Council in February 2021 on i) the protection and preservation of the marine environment, facilitated by Dr. Raijeli Taga (Fiji), ii) inspection, compliance and enforcement facilitated by H.E. Dr. Maureen P. Tamuno (Nigeria) and iii) institutional matters, co-facilitated by Mr. Salvador Vega (Chile) and Ms. Gina Guillen-Grillo (costa Rica), will hold their fifth meetings and resume their discussions on the facilitators’ texts and the regulations related to their topic. The other regulations will be discussed in an informal setting as part of the revised President’s text.