Technology has allowed for the advancement of deep sea research and consequently, the discovery of rare-earth minerals. Exploitation of these resources, estimated to be at an excess of around $300 trillion, translates to economic success and hence explains countries’ clamber for exploration contracts. The ISA mandates that resources in the seabed beyond the exclusive economic zone can only be utilised for the benefit of mankind. Contracts to utilise these resources are subjected to regulation by member states comprising the ISA. As a member of the ISA, a major land-based producer of nickel, a site where 41.5% of identified lateritic deposits are located, and a country whose GDP is reliant on foreign investment, Cuba recognises the environmental and economic importance of deep sea mining (DSM) and deep sea exploration (DSE)The most pertinent problems are as follows: the risk of monopolisation and territorial stakes, the environmental impacts of seabed exploration and exploitation and finally, the responsibility of mitigating and regulating deep sea activities. China has been pushing for contracts to monopolise the rare-earth market, whereas Israel and Lebanon are involved in a dispute over the resource-rich sea overlapping both territories. Israel is not a signatory of the IMCL and hence do not abide to the rules to delineate boundaries. No regulations have been put into effect to prevent a monopoly. The environmental impacts are high-risk but research has not been conducted to find out the extent of damage or the recovery needed. Estimates of about 20 billion oil barrels in Cuba’s EEZ shows how the resources within the EEZ, let alone outside it, could greatly boost a country’s economy with increase in foreign investment and exports. Hence, Cuba, reliant on these two factors for economy growth, is in favour of DSM and DSE. ISA has regulatory authority over the deep sea and attempts to manage the environment. However, measures to combat environmental damage and conservation efforts are not put into place.Cuba proposes that countries can regulate the exploitation of resources from the ocean by drafting policies to moderate contracts awarded for DSE and DSM. A Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality, and spatial reserves could be established. To combat monopolisation, Cuba proposes regulations of prices and quantities a country can charge. Cuba also hopes that to mitigate environmental impacts of mining, more legally-binding resolutions and contracts could be imposed, to ensure all member states adhere to ISA’s regulations. A blueprint for conservation and funding for research could be drafted to assess the nature and impacts of DSM. Cuba offers her mining regulations, particularly Law #76, as reference to resolve the issue. Cuba proposes that countries take on a science-driven, precautionary approach to DSE and DSM. Cuba offers her experience in marine conservation and experience in self-sustainability to aid countries in this area.
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