This report presents findings from the research and development project "Ecological Safeguards for Deep Seabed Mining" commissioned by the German Environment Agency (UBA) to the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) (October 2015 - December 2017). Interest in seabed mineral mining has renewed in recent years for various reasons and new offshore mining legislation is currently being developed for national and international waters. For this reason, agreement on the meaning of ‘effective protection of the marine environment from adverse effects arising from activities’ related to mining is needed. The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is mandated to manage access to and benefits from the seabed, subsoil and its mineral resources in the Area on behalf of mankind as a whole. This legal mandate comprises the development of rules, regulations and procedures for mining-related activities in the Area, which must prevent, reduce and control harm to the marine environment and ensure that such harm does not breach the standard of ‘effective protection’. The present text provides suggestions for how the ISA could effectively regulate the environmental effects of activities in the Area using a toolkit of modern, precautionary and preventive governance and management instruments and measures. However, due to large gaps in ecological knowledge and technical experience pertaining to the deep sea, it is currently impossible to predict with any certainty the degree of risk mining activities pose to deep sea ecosystems. By developing such a toolkit, the ISA could spearhead a modern, comprehensive approach to precautionary governance of the Area in line with today’s environmental challenges.
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Christiansen, S., Jaeckel, A., & Houghton, K. J.(2019). Ecological safeguards for deep seabed mining. Final Report. Dessau-Roßlau: Umweltbundesamt.
- https://publications.iass-potsdam.de/rest/items/item_4917901_4/component/file_4… https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/publikationen/ecological-safeguards-for-deep-sea…
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- Ecological Safeguards for Deep Seabed Mining Ocean Governance