Mr. Clement Yow Mulalap delivered a statement at the Council of the ISA (specifically, in the Council’s Informal Working Group to develop exploitation regulations of the Mining Code on the protection and preservation of the marine environment) in Kingston, Jamaica

Micronesia remains committed to the full, fair, and equitable implementation of the Convention and its implementing agreements. In our view, the Convention and its implementing agreements represent important achievements of the international community with respect to, among other things, the protection and preservation of the marine environment from anthropogenic harms, while also allowing for careful, controlled, and sustainable use of the Ocean’s resources. The work of the Authority in connection with the Mining Code (including the important work of this informal working group) is therefore critical to the discharge of the obligations of the Authority and its members with respect to exploitation activities in the Area, and it is crucial that this work be carried out in a careful, transparent, and responsible manner. As we have strived to do so for a while now, Micronesia continues to engage in good faith in the careful, transparent, and responsible development of the Mining Code of the ISA. We do so under two major guiding principles. First, if proposed exploitation activities in the Area are to be considered by the Authority, then this consideration must be in accordance with an internationally-agreed, complete and clear set of regulations, standards, and guidelines that ensure the robust and effective protection and preservation of the marine environment, in line with the Convention and the Part XI Agreement. Second, the consideration of proposed exploitation activities must be based on a comprehensive suite of data, knowledge, and information about the Area and the surrounding marine environment that could be impacted by such proposed exploitation activities, including the relevant traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. In our view, we are quite a long way from satisfying both principles, and we may very likely not reach that stage for a long while to come. In light of these concerns, Micronesia recently joined the Alliance of Countries for a Deep-Sea Mining Moratorium, alongside several of our fellow Pacific Island countries. Micronesia recognizes that there are different views about how a moratorium can be implemented in accordance with the Convention and the Part XI Agreement, and we acknowledge that other delegations have called for various iterations of a pause or some other type of precautionary step other than a moratorium. We are happy to discuss these matters with all interested delegations in good faith going forward while remaining fully mindful of Micronesia’s core concerns about how much work remains in order to complete a robust Mining Code and secure a comprehensive set of data, knowledge, and information about the Area and the potential harmful effects of exploitation activities. To conclude, Micronesia’s commitment to international action through the careful, transparent, and responsible development of the Mining Code is motivated not just by my government’s deep care and concern for the marine environment of the Area, but also by our own national efforts to safeguard our own national territory and jurisdiction. Micronesia has committed to effectively managing 100 percent of our maritime territory by 2030, including protecting a minimum of 30 percent of our maritime territory and a minimum of 50 percent of our coastal marine territory by 2030. We cannot achieve these goals unless there is a Mining Code in place that, among other things, allows for rigorous and transparent impact assessments to ensure that the environmental, social, cultural, and economic risks of deep seabed mining are comprehensively understood, including how biodiversity loss and species extinction can be prevented, in line with the precautionary principle, ecosystem approach, and the polluter pays principle, among other factors. The Ocean is a unitary whole, and what happens in the international seabed Area could very well impact coastal waters and territories. The work of the Authority is central to addressing these considerations, and we look forward to continuing our engagements with other delegations to address these matters in a careful, transparent, and responsible manner.

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