Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisation (PIANGO) has cautioned Pacific Islands government to recognise the risks of seabed mining on marine environments, cultures and livelihoods.

PIANGO Executive Director Emele Duituturaga while reaffirming their position in the continued call for a ban on seabed mining said it is becoming increasingly clear that the blue growth narrative by International organisations includes seabed mining despite threats to fisheries and ocean livelihoods in the region.

She said there is greater awareness now that biodiversity and life under the sea will be affected and these minerals that have taken thousands of years to deposit will be extracted without replenishment.

“Therefore we are urging our governments to be responsible on this issue and not make hasty decisions, have a clear understanding of what is involved ,” Duituturaga said.

A three-day capacity building workshop is underway on deep seabed mining in Nuku’alofa, Tonga this week as part of a process of preparing countries that are members of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the 1982 UN Convention on the law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for the ISA’s Regulation on Deep Seabed Mining (DSM) to be put in place in 2020.

The UN-DESA and the International Seabed Authority (ISA) are committed to assist UN member States implement SDG14 focusing on the Blue Economy concept, in particular, Seabed Mining in areas beyond national Jurisdictions – called: “The Abyssal Initiative”.

PIANGO is represented at the workshop by Deputy Executive Director Emeline Ilolahia where civil society organization representatives are raising concerns on the environmental and social impacts of seabed mining.

“This workshop is pedalling deep sea mining to our governments but who will benefit?  If mining was the panacea to the economic issues of the Pacific, we’d have solved all our problems long ago.  Instead the environmental and social impacts of mining have made our peoples poorer. “Duituturaga said.

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