Liability for Environmental Harm from Deep Seabed Mining Activities: Defining Environmental Damage

February 28, 2019

This paper explores issues relating to defining environmental damage in a potential liability regime for deep seabed mining activities in the Area. The paper reviews approaches to environmental damage in existing liability regimes and processes established in international law in relation to other activities and areas, with a view to providing information and examples that might be useful to further consideration of the definition and valuation of environmental damage arising from deep seabed mining activities. It also identifies some of the considerations relating to mining activities in the Area that pose specific challenges for addressing the definition and valuation of environmental damage. 

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Liability Issues for Deep Seabed Mining Series

The Liability Issues for Deep Seabed Mining project was developed by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Secretariat of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to assist in clarifying legal issues of responsibility and liability underpinning the development of exploitation regulations for the deep seabed. CIGI, in collaboration with the ISA Secretariat and the Commonwealth Secretariat, in 2017, invited leading legal experts to form the Legal Working Group on Liability for Environmental Harm from Activities in the Area (LWG) to discuss liability related to environmental damage, with the goal of providing the Legal and Technical Commission, as well as members of the ISA with an in-depth examination of potential legal issues and avenues.

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