US failure to ratify UNCLOS prevents it from being able to lay claim to 450,000 square kilometers in resource rich Arctic
In the case of the Arctic Ocean, the five Arctic coastal states are Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States. Russia ratified UNCLOS in 1997. In December 2001, Russian officials submitted a claim that 120 million hectares of underwater terrain between the Lomonosov and Mendeleev ridges be confirmed as a continuation of the Siberian shelf. Norway ratified UNCLOS in 1996 and submitted its claim in November 2006. Canada and Norway ratified UNCLOS in 2003 and 2004, respectively, and are in the process of preparing claims for submission. The United States has not ratified UNCLOS. However, the United States is working closely with Canada to gather and analyze data through the Extended Continental Shelf Project for the submission of Canada’s claim. This effort is led by the U.S. Continental Shelf Task Force, an interagency body, chaired by the Department of State with co-vice chairs from NOAA and the Department of the Interior. Both U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard representatives participate on the Task Force. According to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, the United States could lay claim to an area in the Arctic of about 450,000 square kilometers and the seabed resources therein. However, as a non-party to UNCLOS, the United States cannot participate as a member of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf; neither can the United States submit a claim under Article 76.
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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.Related Quotes:
Parent Arguments:Supporting Arguments:
- U.S. is being left behind in race for the Arctic as a non-party to UNCLOS
- U.S. has limited time to ratify convention to secure access to Arctic resources
- U.S. national interest harmed by remaining outside UNCLOS regime and unable to take advantage of Arctic boom
- U.S. should make ratification of UNCLOS a top priority to ensure it doesn't lose out on opening of Arctic
- ... and 36 more quote(s)
- U.S. has significant interests in untapped mineral wealth in Arctic
- Other nations are pursuing Arctic claims to the detriment of the U.S.
- U.S. failure to ratify UNCLOS complicates U.S. naval operations in the Arctic
- UNCLOS is best regime for Arctic Governance
- U.S. can't secure claims to Arctic resources through CLCS as a non-party to UNCLOS
- Russia poses a strategic threat to the U.S. in the Arctic