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The mechanism of so-called ‘reserved areas’ is a key component of the system of access to the international seabed area (the ‘Area’) and its mineral resources under UNCLOS. It is one of the means by which UNCLOS ensures that developing countries can access deep sea mineral resources. Reserved areas are contributed by developed States when they apply to ISA for exploration rights. They are then held in a ‘site bank’ which is reserved for access by developing countries or for the Enterprise (UNCLOS, Article 170, Annex IV and 1994 Agreement, Annex, Section 2). One of the responsibilities given to the Secretariat is to carry out resource assessments of the reserved areas.
More information on this topic as well as the current status of the reserved areas with ISA can be accessed here:[ Policy Brief 01/2019 ]