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The seventeenth conference is scheduled for Sapporo in The Nordic Council is the Nordic inter-parliamentary body, while the Nordic Council of Ministers is the inter-governmental body. Barents Euro-Arctic Council BEAC is the forum for intergovernmental cooperation in the Barents Region established in to "provide impetus to existing cooperation and consider new initiatives and proposals". Members include legislators, government officials, business and nonprofit leaders. The Northern Forum is a non-profit, international organization composed of sub-national or regional governments from eight northern countries.

The Forum's mission is to improve the quality of life of Northern peoples by using leadership networking to tackle common problems; and to support sustainable development and cooperative socio-economic initiatives. The Youth Arctic Coalition is a non-profit, international, youth organization that was created to bridge the gap between youth living in all parts of the Arctic.

Arctic cooperation and politics

The YAC has membership in the eight Arctic states, and is supported by youth, organizations, and governments from around the world. In , the YAC hosted its inaugural conference in Ottawa , which brought together over youth from across the Arctic. Main goals in U. Arctic Policy are: National security; Protecting the Arctic environment and wildlife; Ensuring economic development is environmentally sustainable; Strengthening cooperative institutions among the eight Arctic nations; Including the Arctic's indigenous communities in decisions; and Improving scientific monitoring and research.

The U. The APG is chaired by the U. Department of State and meets monthly to develop and implement U. OPA is responsible for formulating and implementing U. Canada has more Arctic land mass than any country. On August 23, , Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper said protection of Canada's sovereignty over its northern regions was its number one and "non-negotiable priority" in Arctic policy. The Finnish Arctic Strategy was released June 4, and concentrates on seven priority areas: security, environment, economy, infrastructure, arctic indigenous residents, institutions, and the European Union.

The flag planting was perceived erroneously to be a land claim—a claim Canada and other Arctic nations rebuked even though the Russian Government clearly stated that no such claim was made. The Northern Dimension of European Union policy, established in the late s, intended to deal with issues concerning western Russia, as well as to increase general cooperation among the EU, Iceland and Norway.

Canada and the United States are observers to the partnership. China is interested in Arctic resources and shipping routes; and attained permanent observer status in the Arctic Council in South Korea has an icebreaker and is building another. However, Article 76 of the Convention allows coastal states to extend their sovereign rights up to nautical miles from their coastline if they can prove that the Arctic seafloor's underwater ridges are an extension of the country's own continental shelf. In Russia was the first Arctic littoral state to submit its claim.

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Back to top. Get to Know Us. English Choose a language for shopping. Audible Download Audio Books. During the Cold War period the Northern Sea Route was mainly used domestically, in particular by the Russian extractive industry and for the supply of the Arctic population. Shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union efforts were started to open the Northern Sea Route to international shipping. Since then the number of ships using the Northern Sea Route has been constantly growing and—as a side-effect—its economic and geopolitical importance. This is based on the fact that the Northern Sea Route provides a significantly shorter route between the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean in comparison to the transit through the Panama Canal or Suez Canal, [] cutting the distance between Western Europe and Northeast Asian countries by approximately 20—40 per cent.

Although the Northern Sea Route has never been completely ice-free, a future, more navigable Northern Sea Route would also significantly reduce transportation time and costs. Political factors like the unstable situation in the Middle East, the threat of piracy attacks before the Horn of Africa and on-going tensions in the Hormuz Strait make the alternative route through the Arctic even more enticing. Notwithstanding the fact that both the Northwest Passsage and the Northern Sea Route were both open and navigable for the first time in August , [] it remains a challenge to navigate and requires a high level of seamanship.

For most of the year the assistance of an icebreaker escort is indispensable. These harsh conditions might be one of the reasons why in the last few years the number of vessels using the Northern Sea Route has constantly increased 41 in , 46 in , 71 in , and—due to very harsh climate and political controversies—a drop in numbers—53 in , and 21 in , [] but still remains quite low compared to the number of ships taking the Suez Canal. Its land mass is approximately 62, km 2 , including the islands Spitsbergen, North-East Land, Barents Island, Edge Island and Bear Island, and some islets and rocks appertaining thereto.

Besides, Svalbard is a pristine ecosystem and, thus, a carefully managed wildlife preserve. It is home to polar bears, walruses, seals, whales, birds, and fishes. In , after having gained its independence from Sweden, Norway proposed the establishment of a new legal regime for Svalbard, but World War I made effective negotiations on such a new legal regime an impossible endeavour. After the war, in , Norway suggested that the Paris Peace Conference should also examine the legal status of Svalbard.

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Accepting this proposal the Paris Peace Conference established the Spitsbergen Commission, which drafted the Svalbard Treaty signed on 9 February and entered into force on 14 August During the last decades two issues have been the centre of discussion with regard to Svalbard: First, since the UNCLOS came into force, the question arose as to whether Norway would be entitled to establish the full range of maritime zones around Svalbard and, second, if so, whether or not the regime of the Svalbard Treaty would apply.

The Svalbard Treaty is silent on this issue. The reason for this omission is obvious, since at the time of the adoption of the treaty no other maritime zones were recognised in public international law. Despite this controversy, Norway extended the territorial sea around Svalbard from 4 nm to 12 nm and authorised the establishment of a contiguous zone, even though it has not actually established such a zone yet. In , Norway also drew straight baselines around Svalbard.

It became particularly apparent in , when Norway designated a nm fisheries protection zone FPZ —instead of an EEZ—around Svalbard and began to enforce its domestic fisheries regulations against non-Norwegian vessels fishing in the FPZ.

Who Owns the Arctic: Who Makes the Rules?

This can be concluded from a fisheries treaty that Canada signed with Norway in During the last years a change of mind among the parties to Svalbard Treaty can be observed taking into account two recent events. It has no deposits of oil or other resources, but the surrounding seafloor might contain natural resources. The disagreement between Canada and Denmark over the ownership of Hans Island is the only territorial dispute in the Arctic. During these negotiations, Canada explicitly claimed sovereignty over Hans Island for the first time.

For the diplomats failed to settle the dispute, the final delimitation agreement of 17 December between Canada and Greenland does not touch the issue but—using an equidistance line—sets the boundary line by connecting the midpoints of straight baselines surveyed between the coasts of both States except from point to point , exactly the area in which Hans Island is situated. Even though the reason for the dispute may be rather national pride than anything else, Canada and Denmark have continued to claim Hans Island as their own, [] re-asserting their sovereignty through regular on-site visits, flag planting [] , and the inclusion of Hans Island in their respective national maps and charts.

Although the issue of sovereignty over Hans Island has been left unresolved by this agreement, at this occasion both States expressed their willingness to continue their bilateral negotiations on a future mutually satisfactory solution. Bering Sea : The dispute between the United States and the Russian Federation over the maritime boundary in the Bering Sea has been going on for decades.

It is a semi-enclosed sea according to the definition of Article UNCLOS, covering a total surface area of circa xciii 2,, km 2. In the s, the United States and the Soviet Union became aware of their dispute when both States decided to define the limits of their EEZs in the Bering Sea based on the Convention line between the two countries. Finally in , the Soviet Union and the United States signed the Maritime Boundary Agreement delimiting their respective borders in the Bering Sea, Arctic Ocean and northern Pacific Ocean , which focuses on the delimitation of the respective EEZ and continental shelf areas within the Bering Sea region creating with 1, nm in length one of the longest maritime boundaries in the world.

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The agreement has also gained much criticism by Soviet and Russian politicians for resulting in losses in fishing rights and other maritime benefits. The maritime boundary between the United States and the Russian Federation passes not only through the Bering Sea but also through the Bering Strait which is a narrow international strait between the easternmost point of the Asian continent and the westernmost point of the North American continent. A significant feature of the Bering Strait is that it is interspersed with small islands and islets.

A consequence of this geographical setting is the existence of two viable shipping routes through the Bering Strait, a Russian route to the west of the Diomede Islands and through the Russian territorial sea and a US route to the east of the Diomede Islands and through the US territorial sea.

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The channel right between Big Diomede and Little Diomede is not very attractive to commercial shipping for two reasons. On the one hand, with a width of only 2. On the other hand, since the Bering Strait is also the subject of the Agreement with the effect that the waters between both Diomede Islands fall within the contested Russia-US maritime boundary, shipping would be subject to both Russian and US law at different times during transit.

Despite the unsettled boundary dispute, the demand for a comprehensive cooperative approach to the management of the Bering Strait has been long recognised by both officials and academics and was commenced with the establishment of the joint Beringian Heritage International Park in the early s. Beaufort Sea: The Beaufort Sea is a sea of the Arctic Ocean covering an area of about , km 2 which is frozen most of the year. The ongoing dispute in the Beaufort Sea concerns the maritime extension between the Canadian and Alaska to the north of the Mackenzie River delta.

The United States is in disagreement with the Canadian position arguing that instead an equidistance line should be used for delimitation. In , the controversy first came to light after the United States had protested the boundary line Canada was using when granting oil and gas concessions to the extracting industry. Although Canada and the United States then considered the negotiation of a xcvi package deal settling all four of their bilateral maritime boundary disputes in the Gulf of Maine, Juan De Fuca, Dixon entrance, and finally the Beaufort Sea, in the end these diplomatic efforts turned out to be unsuccessful.

According to the United States, negotiations over a maritime boundary in the Beaufort Sea have recently been resumed. If Canada was ever to agree with the United States on a new border in the Beaufort Sea, it would have to redraw the westernmost coordinates of the settlement reached in the Inuvialuit Final Agreement —from a political perspective a highly sensitive issue.

Paradoxically, the US position regarding the division of the Beaufort Sea would rather favour Canada with regard to the extended continental shelf. The disagreement is further fuelled by the fact that the disputed area is known to contain a minimum of 1 billion cubic metres of oil and 1. Although in the s and s there were considerable exploratory activities of the extraction industry in the region, Canada and the United States had established a moratorium on hydrocarbon exploration for some time [] and it was only at the end of the s and the middle of the s that the interest of large extracting companies in the region was renewed and successful bids on several blocks within the Beaufort Sea were made.

The expectations of the extracting industry have not been xcvii met though. In September , Royal Dutch Shell PLC announced that it was ending its operations in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas because its first exploration showed only disappointing stores of oil. At the present time bilateral cooperation in the Beaufort Sea is limited to joint response procedures in the event of a major pollution accident which are set out in an exchange of notes, [] in which Canada and the United States extended their Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan to include the Beaufort Sea.

On regional level groups of indigenous people living in the Beaufort Sea region have concluded two agreements to foster transboundary governance and research in relation to beluga whales and polar bears. It can be inferred with certainty that the Arctic region will continue its transformative change. For the fact that the High North serves as an early warning system for the global climate situation, this ongoing process will not only have significant repercussions within the boundaries of the Arctic but also far beyond. It is therefore essential to gain a better understanding of the historical evolution and current affairs of the Arctic in international law and policy overall.

Of course, it remains to be seen if the present set of legal and policy instruments applicable to the Arctic will be sufficient to address all future changes and challenges this pristine area will face. If it shows that the regulatory architecture will not suffice anymore, in turn it will further have to be responsive and adapt. Until then I hope that this collection will be useful for all those who are interested in the fate of the Arctic. Three reports produced for the WWF Arctic international programme Leiden , Brill Nijhoff , 87— , In , the International Hydrographic Organization adopted a definition of the Arctic Ocean that is widely used.

Status and trends in Arctic biodiversity Akureyri, chapter 9. Following a referendum held in , it withdrew from the EU. It is now associated under the Overseas Association Decision. Denmark also favours such a scenario Doc 5. More information on the Northern Dimension can be found at www. Both documents were kindly provided by the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat and are on file with the editor. A criticial legal analysis of the baselines in the Russian Arctic is provided by Kopela, Dependent Archipelagos 84 ff. The incident had occurred more than 12 nm from shore, and hence—from the US point of view—in international waters.

One should know exactly what this part comprises. In , the coordinates of the treaty were converted to a newer datum. Law and Legitimacy Leiden , Brill Nijhoff , Finland and Iceland have acquired Observer Status. In relation to the possible consequences of climate change on fishery resources in the Arctic Ocean, the EU would, also in the context of the draft resolution on sustainable fisheries, have wished to highlight the state of the Arctic region as a specific area where further scientific studies should be carried out due to the particular implications that climate change may have on fisheries management in that area in the future.

See Doc Of course, polar bears are also protected under the domestic laws of the five range states. For some historical background of the protection of Arctic seals see Rothwell, The Polar Regions — The case additionally pertained to other related measures. The combined instrument entered into force on 2 October Depending on the Arctic definition the figure can be up to 10 Million people.

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    International Law and Politics of the Arctic Ocean

    An official list of recognised indigenous peoples was approved by the Russian Government on 17 April For an analysis of the detrimental impact of global warming on traditional caribou and reindeer herders and hunters see eg: WWF, Effects of climate change on reindeer, www. If they recognize our sovereignty in the Northwest Passage and we do nothing or do not do enough, then they lose.

    Such undifferentiated use is misleading since both terms describe different geographical areas with different legal status. The former definition reads as follows 1. Detailed Franckx, Maritime Claims in the Arctic ff. Whilst Spitsbergen or Spitzbergen is the elder English name of the archipelago, which is used in the Treaty concerning the Archipelago of Spitsbergen, Svalbard is the modern Norwegian name of the archipelago.

    Hans Island constitutes part of the national territory of Canada. No assertion by the Danish ambassador or other Danish officials detracts from the absolute sovereignty that Canada enjoys over Hans Island. According to the Shared Beringian Heritage Program Beringia is defined as the land and maritime area bounded on the west by the Lena River in Russia; on the east by the Mackenzie River in Canada; on the north by 72 degrees north latitude in the Chukchi Sea; and on the south by the tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula.

    Back to Search Go to Page. Go Pages Front matter unlocked item Preface. Other Arctic States. Non-Arctic States and other Actors. Arctic Cooperation Multilateral Cooperation. Bilateral Cooperation. Denmark including Greenland and Faroe Islands. Norway including Jan Mayen Island. Russian Federation. United States. Denmark Faroe Islands —Iceland—Norway. Denmark Greenland —Canada. Denmark Greenland —Iceland. Denmark Greenland —Norway Svalbard. Arctic Fisheries International Agreements.

    Policy Documents and National Instruments. Protection of the Arctic Environment International Instruments. Miscellaneous Policy Documents and National Instruments. Policy Documents. Arctic Disputes Northwest Passage. Northern Sea Route. Svalbard Archipelago [Spitsbergen]. Hans Island. Sverdrup Islands. Bering Sea. Beaufort Sea. Back matter Index. Retrieved from Bloomsbury Collections, www. Analytical Introduction. Oxford: Hart Publishing. Accessed September 24, Share x. Buy This Book View additional resources. Chapter DOI