United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Seas at Risk

Statement for the UN Ocean Conference
Deep-sea mining has no place in a future
shaped by the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development
Excellencies, distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to be here today and to have the opportunity to flag civil society’s concerns about deep sea mining, which in our view is jeopardising the common heritage of mankind, the deep sea.
Deep sea mining is not yet taking place, but is right around the corner. Almost 1.5 million km2 are licenced for deep sea mining exploration in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans - an area the size of Europe.
We are extremely concerned about the threats deep sea mining poses to sustainability.
• The deep sea is a fragile and vulnerable ecosystem.
• Deep sea mining’s environmental impacts risk to be significant, wide spread and last for thousands of years - will probably even be irreversible.
• Contrasted to this, the socio economic benefits (if any) are bound to be short term and not distributed equitably.
• The huge gaps in scientific knowledge and the many uncertainties call for a strong precautionary approach.
• This means first and foremost looking for more sustainable alternatives.
And I have good news. Sustainable alternatives are around the corner as well.
• There is still a window of opportunity to take another path than deep sea mining.
• Reducing the demand for raw materials through better product design, sharing, re-use, repairing and recycling and development of new materials is key to the solution.
• As well as a shift to sustainable lifestyles.
Deep sea mining will not be needed in a world which is committed to the sustainable development goal 12 on sustainable consumption and production.
Supported by 38 NGOs from around the world, Seas At Risk therefore calls on the United Nations, States, and the International Seabed Authority
 to end the granting of contracts for deep-sea mining exploration and to not issue contracts for exploitation; and
 to ensure the growth in demand for minerals is reduced through ambitious sustainable consumption and production policies worldwide.
Unless we stop and think, we risk squandering one of the planet’s most precious ecosystems. One that has a vital role for life on earth and for the climate. We ask you to protect it as your legacy to the world.
Thank you