Seabed regulator accused of deciding deep sea’s future ‘behind closed doors’ – by Karen McVeigh (The Guardian – April 1, 2022)

The UN-affiliated organisation that oversees deep-sea mining, a controversial new industry, has been accused of failings of transparency after an independent body responsible for reporting on negotiations was kicked out.

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is meeting this week at its council headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica, to develop regulations for the fledgling industry. But it emerged this week that Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB), a division of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), which has covered previous ISA negotiations, had not had its contract renewed.

While the ISA negotiations are filmed live via webcam, the absence of ENB – which would have created a permanent independent record of proceedings – was described as a “huge loss” for stakeholders.

Some states, including Germany, are also concerned that the ISA is developing its mining standards and guidelines behind closed doors, and that current knowledge of deep-sea ecosystems and the potential effects of mining on the marine environment are insufficient to allow it to go ahead.

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