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International Seabed Authority

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the UK’s role is in the International Seabed Authority; and if he will make a statement. (201032)

The UK has maintained a strong interest in the role of the International Seabed Authority since its inception. The UK is currently a member of the Council and is represented on both the Finance Committee and the Legal and Technical Commission (although appointees to these bodies are in a personal capacity). The UK delegation to the authority consists of officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who liaise closely with experts from the National Oceanography Centre on matters of a technical and scientific nature.

We will continue to take an active interest in the work of the authority as the development of mining activities on the seabed becomes increasingly viable from a technical and economic standpoint, and will seek to ensure that potential future UK commercial interests are protected whilst at the same time ensuring that environmental concerns are adequately addressed.