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SOA Ghana Hub join global call for a moratorium on deep seabed mining

Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) Ghana have joined the global call for a moratorium on deep seabed mining during an African dialogue on deep seabed mining which took place last Thursday in Accra.

Commercial deep-sea mining is a new threat that looms for our already imperiled ocean. If allowed to go ahead, research shows that it would irreversibly destroy ancient deep-sea habitats, impact those who derive their livelihoods from the ocean (for example from fisheries), and risk disturbing the planet’s biggest carbon sink.

Gideon Sarpong, Hub Leader at SOA Ghana explained that deep seabed mining poses an “unjustified threat to the health of our ocean, the climate and the present and future generations.”

He also called on the Africa Group representing the continent at the International Seabed Authority to “unambiguously represent the interest of people across the continent by joining the call for a moratorium” unless and until a number of conditions around environmental harm, good governance and social license can be met.

Duncan Currie, environmental lawyer and member of the Deep-Sea Conservation Coalition also called for reforms at the International Seabed Authority, the body that is mandated to regulate deep seabed mining explaining that terrestrial mining as it currently stands can power the renewable revolution.

“The argument is made that we need these minerals for a renewable revolution but this is simply not true, you cannot say there are not enough minerals both on land and in circulation to provide the minerals we need for renewable revolution” he said, adding, “once seabed mining starts there will be a massive industrial mining on the bottom of the ocean and we will have terrestrial mining alongside. Let us be real.”

The ISA, he explained has a conflict-of-interest issue. “There is a conflict-of-interest issue at the ISA as a regulator as well as a potential beneficiary of hundreds and thousands of billions of dollars,” he said.

“This certainly needs to be addressed. We suggest a moratorium is best, backed by another implanting agreement. You will need to separate the regulator and the body the receives the royalty.”

Phil McCabe, an ocean campaigner and member of Deep-Sea Conversation Coalition also described the proposed deep seabed mining as “completely inappropriate.”

“It is completely an inappropriate activity given the dire state of the environment in general. If you look at the ocean, every measurable indicator of the ocean health is in decline and we are talking about adding another pressure, another stressor, it is crazy,” he said.

SOA African hubs ultimately aim to galvanize stakeholder support to ensure that the youth’s position on deep-seabed moratorium clearly represented by the Africa group before irreparable damage is done.

Source: SOA Ghana

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SOA African hubs join forces in new initiative to tackle deep seabed mining

Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) network of hubs in Africa have joined forces to tackle the evolving threat of deep seabed mining which threatens the health of the ocean and the larger climate system.

Deep seabed mining if allowed will “exploit biodiverse and fragile ecosystems that will result in severe environmental impacts that we cannot fully understand, let alone predict or mitigate,” said team lead Gideon Sarpong.

The hubs in Ghana, Nigeria (Lagos) and Cameroon will hold several regional policy dialogues and deploy a campaign to ensure that decision-making processes around deep-seabed mining by the Africa group and at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) are inclusive, transparent, accountable, adequately account for intergenerational equity and ensure the protection of marine biodiversity.

Gideon Sarpong, who is also the Hub Leader in Ghana stated that, “the knowledge gap on the topic of ocean mining and its potential environmental impact on biodiversity and ecosystems must be adequately communicated to decision makers.”

“The African group representing African states at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) should consider supporting the moratorium on deep-seabed mining, for at least 10 years, in line with the UN Decade of Ocean Science” he added.

Meanwhile, Forbi Perise, SOA Africa Representative and Hub Leader in Cameroon hopes to engage more than 20 University lecturers and professors in two higher educational institutions in the DSBM African Coalition project.

“We plan to involve more than 500 students/youths in our effort in advocating for the protection of the deep blue.  Through multi stakeholder engagement our goal is get more attention towards the protection of the marine ecosystem,” he explained.

Hub Leader in Lagos, Adenike Adeiga will also use this initiative to engage key stakeholders to strengthen regulatory frameworks governing ocean mining and call for the creation of Marine Protected Areas in Nigeria.

The initiative which is expected to last until the end of the year and supported by Sustainable Ocean Alliance will ultimately galvanize stakeholder support to ensure that the youth’s position on deep-seabed moratorium is unambiguously represented by the Africa group at ISA.

By SOA African team

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