Public participation at the International Seabed Authority: An international human rights law analysis

By: Elisa Morgera & Hannah Lily

“In light of the interlinkages between marine biodiversity and the protection of human rights, this article explores the relevance of international human rights law to the decision-making processes at the International Seabed Authority (ISA). It illuminates the relevance of the ISA decisions for the protection of everyone’s right to a healthy environment, as well as for the human rights of indigenous peoples and other communities that have cultural connections to the seabed, children and environmental human rights defenders. On these bases, the article assesses current practices in relation to public participation at the ISA, revealing that human rights obligations of procedure and substance appear overlooked in that context. The article concludes by outlining the steps the ISA member States should take to enhance public participation in decision-making on deep-seabed mining. In addition, it identifies an immediate opportunity for independent international review that could help clarify how human rights can support the ISA in delivering on its complex mandate to regulate deep-seabed mining activities beyond national jurisdiction and protect the marine environment for the benefit of humankind…”

Header photo: Kelly Daniels