ICPC achieves new status at the United Nations

11 July 2018 | Natalie Bannerman


The International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) has achieved consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Committee as of April this year.

ICPC 200x200This new status allows the ICPC to appoint United Nations representatives who in turn can make written and oral statements and organise side events at relevant United Nations meetings. 

The ICPC says it intends to use its new status to be the ‘voice of the submarine cable community’ at the United Nations. Such positions are particularly important in the context of the negotiations of a new treaty for the protection of biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction. 

An intergovernmental conference starts in September, which could result in the adoption of a new treaty imposing global restrictions on high seas activities, such as environmental impact assessments and marine protected areas. The ICPC’s participation aims at avoiding any undue restriction on the freedom to lay and maintain submarine cables in the high seas.

The ICPC brings its evidence-based knowledge of the benign environmental impact, and immense socio-economic value, of submarine cables to the United Nations and has already presented the results of the study undertaken by Dr Richard Hale, of EGS Survey Group, on the acoustic footprint of cable operations during a panel session of the Informal Consultative Process. The ICPC will continue to support research and share its findings with the global community.

In related news, Paulo Moura of MainOne, also an ICPC Member organisation and submarine cable owner, represented the ICPC at the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA)—Atlantic Seabed Mapping International Working Group (ASMIWG) in May.

During the conference the AORA ASMIWG team discussed mapping the seabed in the North and South Atlantic. With no official deadline, but with government funding and important data received from the private sector, the ASMIWG aims to finish the work in the North Atlantic over the next few years.

In the interest of ‘sharing the seabed in harmony with others,’ the ASMIWG will liaise with the ICPC to request data from its members for their consideration in sharing information.