Reaction: IUCN Congress votes yes to a moratorium on deep-sea mining
Photo: Julia Joppien on Unsplash.
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8 September 2021
Marseille, France - A motion calling for a moratorium on deep-sea mining was adopted with overwhelming support by the IUCN World Conservation Congress today.
Among government and government agencies 81 voted for the moratorium with 18 against and 28 abstentions. Among NGOs and civil society organization the vote was 577 for, 32 against and 35 abstentions, sending a strong message to governments that there is global opposition to deep-sea mining.
“We are very pleased to see so many governments, agencies and NGOs voting for a moratorium on deep-sea mining; the support has been overwhelming” said Matthew Gianni Co-Founder of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC). “Member countries of the ISA, including France which hosted this Congress, need to wake up and act on behalf of civil society and the environment now, and take action in support of a moratorium”.
Scientists have warned that deep-sea mining will cause large-scale, irreversible biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation if permitted to occur, particularly in the international areas of the world’s ocean. The International Seabed Authority (ISA), a multilateral regulatory body established under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1994, is debating whether to begin licensing commercial deep-sea mining in as little as two years. 167 countries plus the EU are members of the ISA.
The German Environment Ministry, the government of Fiji and many other government agencies voted to support motion 069.
Nauru has triggered a so-called Two Year rule at the ISA which it expects will result in the Authority issuing a commercial license to mine. 47 African countries have challenged the trigger and Sian Owen, Director of the DSCC says: "Hopefully the vote in Marseille will translate into a vote at the ISA to adopt a moratorium on deep sea mining."
Motion 069 - Protection of deep-ocean ecosystems and biodiversity through a moratorium on seabed mining was sponsored by Fauna and Flora International and co-sponsored by Fundación MarViva (Costa Rica), Natural Resources Defense Council (USA), Sylvia Earle Alliance/Mission Blue (USA), Synchronicity Earth (UK), Wildlands Conservation Trust (South Africa), World Wide Fund for Nature – International.