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Transparency in the operations of the International Seabed Authority: An initial assessment

Transparency in the operations of the International Seabed Authority: An initial assessment
Transparency in the operations of the International Seabed Authority: An initial assessment
In the governance of natural resources, transparency is widely viewed as desirable, in order to avoid ill effects including corruption and inequities in the benefits derived from the resources. This paper considers the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which is charged with managing deep seabed mining in the Area beyond national jurisdictions as part of the common heritage of humankind. The methodology of this assessment follows that of Clark et al. 2015 [24] in their assessment of Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) using a battery of 34 scored questions, of which 30 were found applicable to this study. Two additional questions specific to the ISA are also considered. This assessment finds that while the ISA exhibits some good transparency practices, it generally scores much lower than the high seas fisheries management bodies. Across the three evaluation categories, concerning availability of information, participation in decision-making, and access to outcomes, the ISA’s overall score was found to be 44%, as compared to 77% for the RFMOs. The current practices of RFMOs may therefore serve as examples of how specific operations of the ISA could be improved. It is suggested that the ISA needs to develop concrete policies concerning transparency, including: to presume that information is non-confidential unless otherwise determined; to make mining contracts publicly available; to allow observer access to pre-determined portions of the Legal and Technical Commission, and Finance Committee meetings; and, to publish annual reports of the Contractors' activities, including compliance in seabed exploration and exploitation operations and their associated environmental impacts.
0308-597X
324-331
Ardron, Jeff A.
3a5ab3bf-bd0a-45c7-b6ec-705f74e0cf2f
Ardron, Jeff A.
3a5ab3bf-bd0a-45c7-b6ec-705f74e0cf2f

Ardron, Jeff A. (2018) Transparency in the operations of the International Seabed Authority: An initial assessment. Marine Policy, 95, 324-331. (doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2016.06.027).

Record type: Article

Abstract

In the governance of natural resources, transparency is widely viewed as desirable, in order to avoid ill effects including corruption and inequities in the benefits derived from the resources. This paper considers the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which is charged with managing deep seabed mining in the Area beyond national jurisdictions as part of the common heritage of humankind. The methodology of this assessment follows that of Clark et al. 2015 [24] in their assessment of Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) using a battery of 34 scored questions, of which 30 were found applicable to this study. Two additional questions specific to the ISA are also considered. This assessment finds that while the ISA exhibits some good transparency practices, it generally scores much lower than the high seas fisheries management bodies. Across the three evaluation categories, concerning availability of information, participation in decision-making, and access to outcomes, the ISA’s overall score was found to be 44%, as compared to 77% for the RFMOs. The current practices of RFMOs may therefore serve as examples of how specific operations of the ISA could be improved. It is suggested that the ISA needs to develop concrete policies concerning transparency, including: to presume that information is non-confidential unless otherwise determined; to make mining contracts publicly available; to allow observer access to pre-determined portions of the Legal and Technical Commission, and Finance Committee meetings; and, to publish annual reports of the Contractors' activities, including compliance in seabed exploration and exploitation operations and their associated environmental impacts.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 24 June 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 19 July 2016
Published date: September 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 425588
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/425588
ISSN: 0308-597X
PURE UUID: 384f680f-5f99-48c8-979a-fd10f4877c42

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Date deposited: 25 Oct 2018 16:30
Last modified: 07 Nov 2018 17:30

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Author: Jeff A. Ardron

University divisions

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