Klaas Willaert

The Enterprise: State of affairs, challenges and way forward

(2021) Marine Policy

The operationalization of the Enterprise, which was conceived as the operational arm of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and can be considered a crucial component of the international deep seabed regime, still lies in wait and remains plagued by several outstanding matters. In this article, the characteristics and underlying objectives of the Enterprise are analyzed, along with a number of lingering issues and current developments that seem to complicate its establishment as an autonomous organ of the ISA. Although years of inaction have resulted in a significant backlog, it is argued that the ISA must treat the operationalization of the Enterprise as a top priority, since further delay will not only jeopardize the operationalization process, but might also limit the Enterprise’s options and use in the future. An Interim Director-General should be appointed as soon as possible, a transparent framework for joint ventures with the Enterprise must be developed and all options to mobilize the necessary funds and technical expertize should be explored.