Ratification of UNCLOS is key cornerstone for Arctic policy, providing best way to ensure resource development and resolution of boundary disputes
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UNCLOS must be the legal bedrock of U.S. Arctic policy. UNCLOS is the framework of cooperation within the region. Other nations have rejected the push for an Arctic treaty, like the Antarctic Treaty, favoring instead the UNCLOS structure.245 By ratifying UNCLOS, the U.S. will advance a “remarkable treaty that expands U.S. sovereign rights, powerfully serves U.S. needs for the Navy and the Coast Guard, and provides American industry with the security necessary to generate jobs and growth.”246 By joining the UNCLOS alliance, the U.S. will be better able to settle maritime claims and disputes between other Arctic nations on issues such as outer continental shelf and maritime boundary line issues. The U.S. will also be in a better position to challenge the jurisdictional claims of both Russia (Northern Sea Route) and Canada (Northwest Passage). Only through UNCLOS can the U.S. make rightful claim to the Extended Continental Shelf and the natural resources within it. Implementation requires Congressional action and pressure by the Administration to get UNCLOS to a vote in the Senate.
By remaining outside of UNCLOS, the U.S. is ceding its leadership role in the region in a number of ways. First, and most importantly for the U.S. strategic and economic interests, by remaining outside of the treaty the U.S. is not able to submit its claims for the extended continental shelf in the Arctic to the CLCS, preventing U.S. industries from claiming mineral rights. Secondly, existing Arctic governance regimes are based on and rely on UNCLOS and the U.S. non-party status prevents it from contributing as a full partner, weakening the overall Arctic governance regime. Finally, U.S.