What is it about?

The International Seabed Authority (ISA), an international organization comprising 167 member States and the EU, has exclusive mandate over the mineral resources of the seabed in areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. While exploration-related activities have been ongoing for some two decades with over 30 contracts in existence, exploitation activities are yet to commence. Since 2014, the ISA has turned its attention towards the development of regulations that would facilitate exploitation activities. Negotiations over legal text commenced in 2019 at the Council of the ISA and continued into early 2020. However, due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, progress came to a halt in March 2020. In late June 2021, after some 15 months of inactivity in this respect, the Republic of Nauru invoked a treaty provision that effectively compels the ISA Council to complete the elaboration and adoption of the exploitation regulations within two years, failing which, it would still have to entertain any pending applications despite the absence of the regulations. This paper explores some recent developments that have taken place since the invocation of that provision, as well as provides an overview of six options that appear to be available to the Council going forward. In progressing its work in this respect, it is hoped that the Council will acknowledge and consider the potentialities of the range of options highlighted in this paper.

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This page is a summary of: What Are the Next Steps for the International Seabed Authority after the Invocation of the ‘Two-year Rule’?, The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, December 2021, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/15718085-bja10078.
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