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Outline What is the precautionary principle? Precautionary principle in the context of DSM Obligation to apply the precautionary approach Precautionary.

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Presentation on theme: "Outline What is the precautionary principle? Precautionary principle in the context of DSM Obligation to apply the precautionary approach Precautionary."— Presentation transcript:


2 Outline What is the precautionary principle? Precautionary principle in the context of DSM Obligation to apply the precautionary approach Precautionary principle in action 2

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5 Precautionary Principle  Higher level of environmental protection through precautionary decision-making in the case of risk  Where there is a risk of serious or irreversible damage to human health or the environment, precautionary action should be taken irrespective of the lack of absolute certainty with regard to its causes and impact.  Proceed with caution 5

6 Current risk- based decision- making approach Precautionary approach How safe is safe?How much harm can be avoided while still maintaining necessary values? What level of risk is acceptable?What are the alternatives to this that achieve the desired goal? How much harm can the ecosystem assimilate without any obvious adverse effects? Do we need this activity in the first place? 6

7 Burden of proof Safe until proven dangerous Protect the environment 7

8 Stakeholder consultations Gov’t Operator CSO Youth Users Private sector 8

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10 APPLY PRECAUTIONARY APPROACH Factors which trigger the precautionary approach are: Potential for harm; Uncertainty about causality and magnitude of impacts. 10

11 Why the Precautionary Principle?  Effectively tackle deep sea mineral issues while at the same time ensuring globally acceptable standards are met 11

12 Precautionary Approach in DSM  High risk: When the risks are uncertain, adopting the precautionary approach provides guidance on the process for avoiding serious or irreversible harm  Precautionary approach MUST prevail  In the absence of complete scientific evidence, adopting the precautionary approach allows decision-makers to justify their decisions on the available information 12

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14 Direct obligations for sponsoring States :  Conduct Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)  Employ best environmental practices  Apply the precautionary principle 14

15 ISA Regulations “…sponsoring States (as well as the Authority) shall apply a precautionary approach as reflected in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration in order to ensure effective protection for the marine environment from harmful effects which may arise from activities in the Area” Nodules Regulations, Reg 31, para 2 Sulphides Regulations, Reg 33, para 2 15

16 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development Principle 15: “ In order to protect the environment, the precautionary principle shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities, where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.” 16

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18 “… the general provisions concerning the responsibilities and liability of the sponsoring State apply equally to all sponsoring States, whether developing or developed.” ITLOS Advisory Opinion para 158 18

19 Reasonable measures  Given the scientific uncertainties and unknowns, decisions to proceed with a DSM project mining project should consider all reasonable measures  These measures should reflect both the levels of uncertainty and the probability of harm 19

20 Public consultations Participatory processes INFORMED DECISIONS 20

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22 No development option  Application of the precautionary principle may be a decision NOT to embark in DSM activities if the risks, uncertainty, or anticipated impacts are deemed too serious.  The Precautionary approach also recognises there are situations where development may proceed despite insufficient information for fully-informed risk assessment. 22

23  Scientific uncertainty does not necessarily require inaction.  Precautionary approach informs the method of moving forward, ie preventing incidents of environmental degradation and implementing cost-effective measures  As information becomes available through cautious and incremental steps, the uncertainties and risks can be reduced as the project develops.  “Learning by doing” 23

24 Applying Precautionary Approach in DSM context  Continual approach:  Robust regulatory approach  Participatory approach  Proportionate approach  Incremental approach  Environmental management approach  Other relevant environmental measures 24

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27 Continual Approach  Continuous monitoring and assessment before, during and after DSM projects have ceased  Gather information to inform future decision-making  Long term action to build capacity over time  Capacity building initiatives are cost- effective measures which States can pursue 27

28 Robust regulatory approach  Good governance is essential to State application of the precautionary approach  Robust legislative and licensing regime empowers government to exercise appropriate decision making processes  Enable public participation and a multi-stakeholder approach  Protects the States, marine biodiversity, sea users and local communities  Provides security and clarity to DSM companies/investors  Furthered by establishment of a national body to regulate DSM operations 28

29 Participatory approach  Uncertainty that invokes precautionary approach gives rise to the need for participatory approach  Builds awareness and understanding of procedural and substantive DSM issues  Address concerns and protect stakeholder interests  Mitigate any tension amongst stakeholders with competing interests  Early public consultation aids development of appropriate policy and law 29

30 Proportionate approach  The Rio Declaration is silent on the extent of the precaution required, other than noting that measures should be cost-effective  Invoking the precautionary approach should lead to action that is proportionate to the required level of protection, consistent with other users 30

31 Incremental approach  DSM projects should take one step at a time  Controlled, staged work programs  Development of staged programs as new information and scientific evidence emerges 31

32 Environmental management approach  Prior EIA (environmental impact assessment)  On-going environmental monitoring  Establishing a robust EMP (environmental management plan)  Impose clear requirements on DSM operators for comprehensive baseline research and regular data collection, to enable effective observation and analysis of the impacts of DSM activity 32

33 Other relevant environmental management measures  Establish marine protected areas  Comprehensive baseline research requirements in the explorative/mining license  The use around mining sites of un-mined buffer zones and control zones  Strategic environmental assessment by governments for their entire marine areas  Regular reporting of data on environmental impacts  Paradigm shift from a single sector approach to an ‘ecosystem approach’ 33

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