HIGH LEVEL REGIONAL POLITICAL GROUP ON DEEP SEA MINING LAUNCHEDJune 16, 2022
“As Pacific Leaders and custodians of this vast ocean, we are obliged to preserve the ocean for the sake of future generations and for all living and non-living things. The protection of a sacred ocean is our moral responsibility.”
~ The Pacific Parliamentarians’ Alliance on Deep Sea Mining
On 14 April 2022 the Pacific Parliamentarians’ Alliance on Deep Sea Mining (PPADSM) was officially launched. as a high-level political voice to advocate for the protection of the Pacific Ocean from exploitation. It is a collective of Pacific leaders who have rallied against the reckless rush by large corporations, backed by powerful governments, to mine the ocean floor for minerals.
The Alliance holds that, given the experimental nature of this industry and growing scientific consensus around the probable irreversible damage to the ocean and ocean systems, all deep sea mining (DSM) activities must cease immediately to allow scientific research to establish whether or not it should be pursued.
Ralph Regenvanu, PPADSM Chair and Vanuatu’s Leader of Opposition said, “Our Ocean defines us. It has sustained us for thousands of years. But today our ocean is facing significant threats due to man-made stressors. DSM is one of these big threats. The science is telling us that the damage from digging and drilling our ocean floors will have devastating and irreversible impacts. It will affect marine life and human lives. We have the opportunity to take action and safeguard our lifeforce.”
The ocean plays a crucial role in mitigating the impacts of climate change by acting as a carbon sink – absorbing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – thereby helping regulate global climate. It is well established that the health of the ocean is already in decline from human activities such as over-exploitation, pollution, and climate change and global warming. There is no scenario in which DSM does not result in damage; it can only compound these stressors.
The PPADSM also believes that the rush to commence DSM in the region bears a stark resemblance to previous instances where the Pacific Ocean and its peoples were used as test subjects in experimental frontier industries, which ultimately benefitted the rich while leaving the Pacific to bear dire economic, social and environmental consequences.
These complex challenges, the Alliance believes, require strong political leadership and immediate concerted action at the regional level. They are concerned that failing to check this momentum, DSM activities could begin within the next 15 months.
The PPADSM has also released the ‘Our Ocean Call’ as part of their launch with five key asks to protect the Pacific Ocean:
- a) call for recognition that the ocean is our common heritage and, as Leaders, we have a common responsibility and moral obligation for its protection;
- b) call on all Pacific and world leaders to join the growing ranks of governments, scientific authorities, CSOs, global leaders and indigenous peoples the world over opposing the rush to mine the ocean floor;
- c) support the call by some Pacific governments for an urgent need to suspend DSM activities in jurisdictions within the Pacific region, to allow for greater scientific understanding about potential impacts of DSM;
- d) support the growing international call for a moratorium on DSM in line with the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development to scientifically assess whether DSM can be done in a way that avoids harm to ocean ecosystems, recognizing the interconnectedness of these ecosystems beyond national jurisdictions;
- e) urge all states, in accordance with the precautionary principle and in support of evidence-based policy making, to adopt an approach that reviews the scientific evidence, to determine whether or not DSM activities should proceed based on agreed governance structure and regulations that support the inclusion of such measures.
The PPADSM’s membership includes parliamentarians representing Aotearoa New Zealand, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Fiji, Maohi Nui (French Polynesia), Guam, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, and Palau.
This article appeared in the GJOP Pacific Outlook Bulletin April 2022.
Deep Sea Mining in the PacificMarch 23, 2023
In mid-January 2023 the French Parliament voted to ban deep-sea mining in its waters, in a move against the controversial practice. Deep-sea mining uses heavy...
Tricia Gemmell’s Speech for the Avila book launch of ‘In Her Voice’March 16, 2023
I want to thank you all for coming here tonight to celebrate with us, not just the publication of In Her Voice, but the whole journey that Australian Women Preach...
A RETURN TO TRADITIONAL FOOD?September 19, 2022
The dangers of too much dependence on imported food are currently being felt through consequences of the Ukraine war. Many countries imported wheat from Ukraine....
Pacific Island Countries Combating Plastic PollutionJuly 19, 2022
Pacific Islanders depend on the ocean for their food and livelihood. These small island countries are surrounded by oceans. The Pacific Island countries are...
CONTROL THE VAMPIRE COMPANIES!July 7, 2022
Oxfam’s Annual Report 2022, World Inequality, warns that 240 million more people are likely to fall into extreme poverty and face dire hunger because of the...
“one small step for women… one giant leap for herstory…”June 20, 2022
There is a little known story in the book of Numbers, chapter 27. The five daughters of Zelophehad dared to ask for an inheritance they felt was rightly theirs....
BUILDING WOMEN’S CAPACITY FOR A MORE SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMMay 12, 2022
Agribusiness companies try to convince farmers to use chemical pesticides, claiming it makes the work easier and helps to produce higher yields. What they don’t...
DEBT AND BIODIVERSITYMay 12, 2022
According to the Third World Network, addressing debt is crucial to halting biodiversity loss. Longstanding economic pressures have been, and are, pushing...
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Pandemic – the LatestMay 12, 2022
India and South Africa, in October 2020, proposed a temporary suspension of a number of provisions in WTO rules that protected intellectual property rights on...