By remaining outside of convention, US is unable to engage in disputes over Arctic claims within framework
[ Page 25 ]
Related to the increased international activity and interest in the Arctic described above, the fact that the United States has signed but not yet ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea18 will become even more problematic with time and as more states call for international recognition of their Arctic claims (see Box 1.3). For example, the five Arctic coastal states—Canada, Russia, Norway, Denmark (based on its territory Greenland), and the United States—are in the process of preparing Arctic territorial claims for submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. Russia’s claims to the Lomonosov Ridge, if accepted, would grant Russia nearly one-half of the Arctic. By remaining outside of UNCLOS, the United States seriously compromises its ability to take part in negotiations regarding the claims of other nations.19 UNCLOS provides a legal framework for the settlement of such disputes.
The United States cannot currently participate in the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, which oversees ocean delineation on the outer limits of the extended continental shelf (outer continental shelf). Even though it is collecting scientific evidence to support eventual claims off its Atlantic, Gulf, and Alaskan coasts, the United States, without becoming party to the convention, has no standing in the CLCS.