US stands only to gain ability to influence development of UNCLOS by becoming a party to the treaty
[ Page 242 ]
Further, UNCLOS does not allow any reservations to the treaty other than those explicitly provided for when acceding to the Convention. n341 It is possible to amend the Convention, but only as a full Member State. n342 UNCLOS established a ten year prohibition on amending the Convention subsequent to its entry into force. n343 Since UNCLOS entered into force in 1994, a year after the date of the sixtieth ratification, n344 this moratorium expired on November 16, 2004. n345 Accordingly, only Canada, Denmark, Norway, and Russia currently are able to proffer amendments to UNCLOS regarding Arctic mining. But should any such amendment be ratified before America accedes to the Convention, the U.S. would not be able to avoid its application when signing.
The Senate's recalcitrance is based largely on a fear that the U.S. would be unable to play a dominant role within the Convention. Yet by refusing to ratify UNCLOS, the U.S. stands as one voice against the force of the entire Convention within the Arctic. Should [*242] the United States persist in its refusal to ratify UNCLOS, it will find itself in the same or weaker position if and when the CLCS recognizes the sovereign claims of other Arctic States that permit the exploitation of the pole's wealth. Indeed, regardless of American involvement, UNCLOS has established "a de facto regime governing the deep seabed, and U.S. interests are better served by active participation in the UNCLOS regime than by sitting on the sidelines."
"Implications of Global Warming on State Sovereignty and Arctic Resources under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: How the Arctic is no Longer Communis Omnium Naturali Jure
." Richmond Journal of Global Law & Business
. Vol. 8. (Winter 2008): 195-248. [ More (12 quotes) ]
As the pre-eminent global maritime power, the U.S. has significant interests in the global effect of the Convention’s rules and their interpretation with many issues that of greater concern to us than to most other countries (for example, preserving freedom of navigation rights). Our adversaries view this as a weakness they can exploit and are shaping the course of the convention in ways adverse to U.S. interests while the U.S. remains on the sidelines, unable to participate in the discussion as a non-party.