By ratifying UNCLOS, U.S. could still be outvoted in CLCS decisions but then be obligated to abide by the ruling
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Since LOST explicitly declares that a country’s continental shelf does not include underwater ridges, the Commission’s readiness once again take up the Russian case begs the question: As so often happens in UN agencies, will political considerations influence the outcome?
The Commission currently has only two Arctic members, Russia and Norway. A simple majority vote by non-Arctic states – perhaps engineered by Russian pressure and/or bribes – could result in decisions that would be binding on all member nations. If the United States were a state party to LOST, it would likely still be outvoted, yet be obliged to accept the Commission’s unsatisfactory dictates.
In this case, the consequences of such a decision would be preposterous – even absurd: Russia would have sole economic rights to the vast natural resources of the central Arctic Ocean. This would essentially give Russia a virtual monopoly over the North Pole region.
Even if U.S. had a seat on CLCS, they would have limited ability to influence the direction or decisions of the CLCS as members are required to act independently from their governments and in secrecy.