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Norway expresses full support for UN high seas treaty amidst controversy over seabed mining plans

Norway has affirmed its backing for the United Nations Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Treaty, commonly known as the High Seas Treaty, to protect marine biodiversity.

However, the country has faced criticism for allowing exploration for critical raw materials in its territorial waters, potentially paving the way for seabed mining. Norway’s foreign ministry official stated that the nation will reconsider seabed mining on its continental shelf if initial exploration indicates it cannot be done sustainably. This comes as the European Commission prepares to sign a bilateral agreement with Norway on critical raw materials.

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The move by Norway has drawn concerns from critics about the environmental impact on marine ecosystems, while the EU Parliament has called for a moratorium on deep-sea mining, a sentiment echoed by several member states. Norway emphasizes that no seabed mining activity has started, and any decision will involve a vote in the Norwegian parliament. The global demand for critical raw materials has intensified, raising geopolitical concerns, and Norway believes an open discussion is needed to navigate the challenges of the green transition.

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