PECC International Seminar (Hybrid): The deep sea: the state of play in Asia-Pacific 2023: 13-14 June, New-Caledonia, Noumea

The deep seabed is currently caught up in a debate which exclusively focuses on the issue of its mining. The stakes are certainly massive, while the tension is increasingly acute between the energy and mineral needs of the global economy on the one hand and the need to protect marine biodiversity in the context of the fight against climate change on the other. However, this approach is reductive because the deep sea is likely to provide countless other services to humanity if approached with respect and in a logic of preservation, which is often expressed very well by the Pacific Island cultures.

On June 13 and 14, 2023, the France Pacific Territories Committee of the PECC (FPTPEC) will organize a PECC International seminar in Noumea, New Caledonia, to explore the diversity and complexity of the terms of the debate, with the participation of various stakeholders: companies, researchers, scientists, and governments, to inform and offer recommendations for the informed implementation of public policies around these still largely unknown virgin spaces. Some Pacific and Indian Ocean economies have either already obtained the expansion of their EEZ or are awaiting positive responses for their exploitation and/or protection. In this context, it would be unwise to mix exploration and exploitation, at the risk of irreparably damaging this common good of humanity; thus, it seems urgent to propose elements of thought to state decision-makers.

The aim is to draw up an inventory of the knowledge of the seabed and its potential beyond the mining aspects alone, particularly in terms of scientific research and global health, but also to shed light on the technological and economic challenges for access to this knowledge and competitiveness in these sectors. The issue of mining and energy exploitation will be AusSeabed Newsletter May 2023 21 addressed from the perspective of the expectations of the countries of the region in search of materials to meet the new requirements of the fight against pollution or global warming and the environmental risks that it generates and ways to prevent them. Finally, the cultural and sociological issues will be the subject of particular attention, considering the contribution of local populations in the preservation of these spaces.

This seminar is part of the FPTPEC's work on the "blue economy", which is part of the PECC's program, and which led to a general seminar in 2022 in Tahiti. It is also in line with the French President's agenda on ocean governance, with the hosting of the United Nations Conference on the Oceans in 2025 in France, jointly with Costa Rica. Finally, it intends to contribute to the reflections of the international community within the framework of the UNESCO decade on the oceans.

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