Growing problem of non-compliance with UNCLOS in the Arctic
Due to the significance placed on obtaining jurisdiction over the North Pole, and given recent violations of the norms of the Law of the Sea Convention, some experts see risks of noncompliance with any recommendations from the commission that would negate a country's submission.
One significant recent violation is Russia's refusal to participate in the dispute-resolution proceeding called by the Netherlands over Russia's arrest of environmental activists who disrupted the activities of a Gazprom drilling platform in the Pechora Sea and seizure of the Dutch-flagged ship Arctic Sunrise last year.
“That's a very clear disrespect for international law. You are a party to the Law of the Sea Convention, and thereby you are bound to the dispute-settlement procedure,” Molenaar said.
Another similar example is China's refusal to participate in a dispute-resolution procedure requested by the Philippines over an area in the South China Sea outside China's exclusive economic zone that China claims for itself.
Such disregard for an international treaty can have broad impacts on various multilateral bodies and negotiation processes and bring about wider distrust and noncompliance.
“The risk is disrespect for agreed multilateral procedures. There is a risk in the background that Russia or even Canada will not act in accordance with the recommendations of the [commission], and this fear I think is more justified because of this nonappearance in the Arctic Sunrise case, and maybe even the recent developments in Ukraine” where Russia is viewed as violating the borders of Ukraine's sovereign territory.
Empirically, after 30 years there is a significant and consistent pattern of non-compliance with UNCLOS provisions.