News-CRUX-10     25th July 2023        
output themes

Context: The Council of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), a United Nations body tasked with developing mining regulations, is in a tight spot, could likely face litigation if they favour or block mining activities on the high seas.

Key Points

  • The ISA finds itself in a sticky situation after Nauru, a tiny island northeast of Australia, invoked the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in June 2021. 
  • This gave the ISA a two-year deadline to either develop regulations for deep-sea mining or allow mining proposals sans international consensus on rules. The deadline expired on July 9, 2023.
  • Nations are divided over deep-sea mining. Several nations, including India, have their eyes set on deep-sea mining while more than 18 states have opposed it. 

International Seabed Authority (ISA)

  • The ISA was established in 1982 by UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the ‘Law of the Sea’) and is an autonomous intergovernmental body with 167 members.
  • ISA is the institution through which Parties to UNCLOS design and control all the mineral-related resources activities in the area.
  • ISA became operational as an autonomous international institution in June 1996 and has 168 members, including the European Union.
  • The main activity of ISA is to regulate the exploration of poly-metallic nodules.
  • The ISA considers applications for exploration and exploitation of deepsea resources from contractors, assesses environmental impact assessments and supervises mining activities in the ‘Area’.
  • India actively participates in the work of the International Seabed Authority. India was re-elected as a member of ISA in 2020.