Canada’s position on seabed mining in areas beyond national jurisdiction

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July 10, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, and the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, released a statement confirming Canada’s position on seabed mining in areas beyond national jurisdiction:

“The protection, conservation, restoration and sustainable use of ocean ecosystems is essential to all life on earth. As we begin council meetings for Part II of the 28th International Seabed Authority (ISA) session, it is critical that the international community recognize its collective responsibility to safeguard the health and integrity of our shared global ocean for future generations.
“The Government of Canada is committed to the responsible and sustainable management and use of ocean resources. This requires the advancement of strong environmental, social and governance principles, and an adherence to science-based policy and decision-making. We recognize the importance of marine ecosystems as a climate regulator, and will continue to take and advocate for a precautionary approach to development—an approach that aligns with efforts to combat climate change and pollution, and to protect biodiversity and habitats.

“This is why, in the absence of both a comprehensive understanding of seabed mining’s environmental impacts and a robust regulatory regime, Canada supports a moratorium on commercial seabed mining in areas beyond national jurisdiction and will not support the provisional approval of a plan of work. This position is consistent with our approach to commercial seabed mining in areas under Canada’s jurisdiction, which was announced on February 9, 2023.

“The Government of Canada has been clear: seabed mining should take place only if effective protection of the marine environment is provided through a rigorous regulatory structure, applying precautionary and ecosystem-based approaches, using science-based and transparent management, and ensuring effective compliance with a robust inspection mechanism.

“Canada will continue to uphold the principles, rights, duties and obligations in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and negotiate in good faith rules, regulations and procedures, which ensure the prevention of damage from seabed mining activities to the marine environment. We will continue to engage actively and productively with partners at the ISA to ensure the protection, conservation and restoration of the global ocean, as well as ensure that the sustainable and equitable use of ocean resources are at the forefront of decision-making.

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