UNCLOS regime in the Arctic responsible for keeping the scramble for arctic resources from devolving into resource conflicts
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Fifth and finally, it does seem that UNCLOS reflects a larger sea-change in how the international community, and legitimate international governing bodies, can create frameworks for cooperative action, or at least limit the damage of non-cooperative action. As such, by including dispute-resolution mechanisms in future framework agreements, IGOs like the United Nations can productively expand into new or emerging areas of global governance. Accordingly, it does appear that the Arctic Scramble, and maritime disputes elsewhere, need not recall the imperial division of Africa. Rather, there appears to be widespread recognition and acceptance of UNCLOS as the legitimate framework for establishing, defining, deciding, and resolving disputes on maritime territorial issues. Merely by existing and coming into legal standing with ratification, UNCLOS delegitimizes the traditional power-politics methods of settling the disputes. Instead, UNCLOS is overtly designed to handle these events. By defining the rules of the road, and by defining where the road begins and ends, UNCLOS is the discursive legisla- tor, judge and policeman on the maritime highway. And no one, as yet, is seriously challenging that role, at least in the Arctic.
UNCLOS represents the consensus of decades of debate on how best to govern shared ocean resources and to handle disputes over border conflicts. The Arctic nations have settled on UNCLOS, adopting it in their laws and subsequent agreements, and it forms the basis for governance of the Arctic region.