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Report on transparency, public participation and access to justice regarding deep sea mining

Klaas Willaert (UGent)
(2019)
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Abstract
Beyond the boundaries of national jurisdiction, the ocean floor and its resources escape sovereignty claims and are governed by a complex regime, which determines by whom and under which conditions these natural resources can be mined. The rules and principles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1994 Implementation Agreement with regard to deep sea mining are further developed in regulations and procedures issued by the International Seabed Authority (ISA), governing prospection, exploration and exploitation of deep seabed resources. The Authority already produced rules for the first phases of mining activities (prospection and exploration), but is yet to adopt exploitation regulations. A draft version is however developed and official approval of these exploitation regulations is expected during the summer of 2020. Rules on deep sea mining are obviously not confined to the international level. An important principle is that companies and natural persons wishing to pursue activities in the Area must be sponsored by the state of which they are nationals. Belgium therefore adopted legislation with regard to deep sea mining in 2013, implementing the international rules and issuing conditions for the granting of a certificate of sponsorship by the Belgian government. Transparency, public participation and access to justice are however undervalued in the Belgian legislation and despite recent positive developments, the same can be said about the international framework, which features similar weaknesses and gaps. Given the status of the deep seabed and its natural resources as common heritage of mankind, it seems critical to pay more attention to these issues and promote publicly available information and tangible rights for third party stakeholders. This assessment aims to analyze the principles and options regarding transparency, public participation and access to justice in all phases of deep sea mining activities. This exercise is conducted on both the international and the national level, with the recent Belgian legislation on deep sea mining and its counterpart for exploration and exploitation activities on the continental shelf as an interesting case study. The final objective is to identify the main weaknesses and flaws concerning transparency, public participation and access to justice with regard to deep sea mining and suggest legally underpinned solutions.
Keywords
Law of the sea, deep seabed, seabed mining, transparency, public participation, access to justice

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Willaert, Klaas. Report on Transparency, Public Participation and Access to Justice Regarding Deep Sea Mining. WWF, 2019.
APA
Willaert, K. (2019). Report on transparency, public participation and access to justice regarding deep sea mining. WWF.
Chicago author-date
Willaert, Klaas. 2019. “Report on Transparency, Public Participation and Access to Justice Regarding Deep Sea Mining.” WWF.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Willaert, Klaas. 2019. “Report on Transparency, Public Participation and Access to Justice Regarding Deep Sea Mining.” WWF.
Vancouver
1.
Willaert K. Report on transparency, public participation and access to justice regarding deep sea mining. WWF; 2019.
IEEE
[1]
K. Willaert, “Report on transparency, public participation and access to justice regarding deep sea mining.” WWF, 2019.
@misc{8619289,
  abstract     = {Beyond the boundaries of national jurisdiction, the ocean floor and its resources escape sovereignty claims and are governed by a complex regime, which determines by whom and under which conditions these natural resources can be mined. The rules and principles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1994 Implementation Agreement with regard to deep sea mining are further developed in regulations and procedures issued by the International Seabed Authority (ISA), governing prospection, exploration and exploitation of deep seabed resources. The Authority already produced rules for the first phases of mining activities (prospection and exploration), but is yet to adopt exploitation regulations. A draft version is however developed and official approval of these exploitation regulations is expected during the summer of 2020.

Rules on deep sea mining are obviously not confined to the international level. An important principle is that companies and natural persons wishing to pursue activities in the Area must be sponsored by the state of which they are nationals. Belgium therefore adopted legislation with regard to deep sea mining in 2013, implementing the international rules and issuing conditions for the granting of a certificate of sponsorship by the Belgian government. Transparency, public participation and access to justice are however undervalued in the Belgian legislation and despite recent positive developments, the same can be said about the international framework, which features similar weaknesses and gaps. Given the status of the deep seabed and its natural resources as common heritage of mankind, it seems critical to pay more attention to these issues and promote publicly available information and tangible rights for third party stakeholders.

This assessment aims to analyze the principles and options regarding transparency, public participation and access to justice in all phases of deep sea mining activities. This exercise is conducted on both the international and the national level, with the recent Belgian legislation on deep sea mining and its counterpart for exploration and exploitation activities on the continental shelf as an interesting case study. The final objective is to identify the main weaknesses and flaws concerning transparency, public participation and access to justice with regard to deep sea mining and suggest legally underpinned solutions.},
  author       = {Willaert, Klaas},
  keywords     = {Law of the sea,deep seabed,seabed mining,transparency,public participation,access to justice},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {14},
  publisher    = {WWF},
  title        = {Report on transparency, public participation and access to justice regarding deep sea mining},
  year         = {2019},
}