Laws and legal
(Diane Francis/Financial Post via Canadian Post, 10 November 2007)** -- Global warming or not, the Arctic Ocean is heating up toward another Cold War. The region at the top of the world is the subject of overlapping land claims. But these matters fall under the jurisdiction of the United Nation's Law of the Sea Convention, which most nations, except the United States, have signed. The Law sets out property rights, offshore rights and a dispute-settlement mechanism. Every country is entitled to a 200-mile offshore ownership limit or more if its continental shelf reaches further. The five claimants bordering the ocean are: Russia; the United States (via Alaska); Canada; Denmark/ Greenland and Norway. Other claimants are Sweden, Iceland and Finland. This summer, the Russians claimed most of the area, planting a flag well inside Canadian offshore territory. They say their Siberian continental shelf extends that far and last week announced their formal claim will go to the UN shortly. Under the United Nations Law of the Sea treaty, any state with an Arctic coastline that wishes to stake a claim to a greater share of the Arctic must lodge its submission with the U.N.'s Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. Russia lodged a claim with the UN commission in 2001. the UN responded a year later by recommending Russia make a revised submission with additional research. This summer, Moscow said it had evidence its continental shelf includes the entire region and planted its flag. Now the UN must decide if its "evidence" is valid.
Posted 11 November 2007; 12:37:39 PM. Permalink