Accession to UNCLOS a critical for resolving disputes with Canada over Arctic shipping routes
[ Page 15 ]
For example, the Arctic is a large area where multiple countries currently assert their jurisdiction. Countries have begun their expansion due to the effects of global warming.132 Because of rising ocean temperatures, ice caps have melted, causing areas that were once covered by ice to be accessible by ships.133 Countries have begun experimenting with new shipping routes and are actively searching for natural resources in the region.134 The search for natural resources has only just begun, as the resources are now accessible in the water.135 The ice caps that once served as a difficult obstacle to bypass are gradually disappearing, making access to the region much easier.
In particular, the United States has a large extended continental shelf in the Arctic, full of these untapped resources.136 The United States would be in a better position to argue disputes, such as one with Canada concerning the emerging neutral territory, if it acceded to UNCLOS.137 As Secretary Panetta noted:
Joining the Convention would maximize international recognition and acceptance of our substantial extended continental shelf claims in the Arctic. As we are the only Arctic nation that is not a party to the Convention, we are at a serious disadvantage in this respect. Accession would also secure our navigation and over-flight rights throughout the Arctic, and strengthen our arguments for freedom of navigation through the Northwest Passage and Northern Sea Route.138
Acceding to UNCLOS would help the United States solidify security over its jurisdiction in the Arctic, by providing both new trade routes and opportunities for deep seabed mining and the legal framework to support these activities.
"The Time is Now: The United States Needs to Accede to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to Exert Influence over the Competing Claims in the South China Sea
." Temple International and Comparative Law Journal
. Vol. 28. (2014): 1-26. [ More (7 quotes) ]