A coalition of 15 German environmental, development and human rights NGOs, including Seas At Risk member BUND, issued a position paper ‘Stop the exploitation of the deep sea!’, in which they demand the Federal Government reverse its political position and move decisively away from the depletion of the deep sea.

Position paper

The German government supports a number of industry and research initiatives, both politically and financially, that significantly promote deep sea mining. These include sponsorship of two exploration contracts with the International Seabed Authority (ISA), for contracts held by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources of Germany, one for nodules in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the Pacific Ocean and another for polymetallic sulphides in the Central Indian Ocean.

The NGOs, all of which are members of the German NGO Working Group on Deep Sea Mining, are calling for a substantial rethink and change in policy-making. The group highlights the severe environmental risks of deep sea mining and warns the government of its impact on the lives of coastal inhabitants. They are particularly concerned about the Pacific region, where extraction is likely to start, and where much of the population relies on subsistence fisheries and tourism and is thus heavily dependent on a normally functioning environment.

The NGOs demand that the German government suspend its exploration licences, exclude deep sea mining from future promotion of foreign trade and investment, take action at EU level to ensure no further support for future research funding programmes for deep sea mining in the Pacific region, and undertake stronger action for designating marine conservation areas.

This is another important step in the growing global resistance of NGOs to deep sea mining. It follows July’s action by Seas At Risk, together with Greenpeace, in leading a world-wide coalition of 50 NGOs demanding that the international community invest fully in sustainable consumption and production instead of venturing into deep sea mining.

The position paper in German is available here.

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