CONTENTS 08. Polar Caps at Glance Defining the Poles Population of the Polar Regions Environmental hazard and the impact of Global Warming
12. Legal Regimes The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Maritime Zones Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) The Antarctic Treaty Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCM) The Antarctic Treaty System
18. Circumpolar States â€“ The Arctic five The Russian Federation The United States The U.S. Standing on the UNCLOS Position of the Non-party claimant Canada Denmark (Greenland and Faroe Islands) Towards the Danish Commonwealth Norway The smallest by size â€“ the biggest by expertise Svalbard
30. Areas of Claims Lomonosov Ridge Mendeleev Ridge Hans Island Barents Sea â€“ Loop Hole Beaufort Sea Antarctic Country Claims
Northwest Passage Northern Sea Route Arctic Bridge Challenges of Shipping in the Arctic Natural Resources
40. Other Parties at Stake Iceland, Finland and Sweden Arctic Council OSCE, NATO, EU and the Nordic Council
46. Economic Development Shipping Routes
54. Security challenge Conclusion Post Scriptum List of References Extract from UNCLOS
The Russian Federation By its size the largest country of the world (17,075,200 km², or 1/8 of the world’s land surface, with roughly 142 million inhabitants), Russia has nearly one-third of its territory located on the Arctic and sub-Arctic. Just a quick look at the map will indicate that roughly half of the entire circumpolar territory is of Russia. The Russophones has penetrated the Arctic as early as in the 11th century but the systematic exploration starts only in the 16th century. Late Tsarist and early Soviet Russia have settled nearly 2 million people to the polar circle marking the large scale systematic research, economic and military activity which with some oscillation lasts uninterrupted until the very day. Thus, in the course of subsequent centuries, Russia (besides Denmark and Norway) has acquired enormous knowledge and uncontested expertise in polar exploration. Reacting to the current climate change eﬀects, which are simultaneously revealing economic (and geopolitical) opportunities, the Putin cabinet was the first government of the five Arctic states to lodge the oﬃcial requests for the northwards territorial extensions. Continued with the Medvedev cabinet, Russia clearly conducts a very assertive and bold Arctic policy.
Consequently, the Russian territorial claim is rather ambitious: extending to an area of about 1.2 million square kilometres of the Arctic seabed with the (geographic) North Pole as the outermost point. In 2001, Russia submitted as the first nation of the Arctic Five its prolongation of the continental shelf claim to the CLCS, which includes parts of the Barents Sea as well as the Lomonosov and Mendeleev Ridge. The claimed area shows a triangular shaped form (with the arches closing the eastern and western flank of Russia’s northern border), topping at the North Pole. (Górski, 2009) However, only one year later the Commission informed Russia that it should further engage in research activities as the information provided was insuﬃcient (lacking important concussive data) for making the Commission’s final recommendations. The revised version has been submitted in 2009, and the Commission is examining it. Russia’s economy heavily depends on the cash-flows maintained by the gas and oil exports to Europe and other parts of the world. Its Arctic region plays already a significant role in the national economy as it accounts for 11% of the country’s GDP and for 22% of all export earnings.
With the northwards territorial extension these figures are nearly sure to surge, as additional hydrocarbon, ore and other mineral fields locked in the Arctic seabed are very probable. Despite promising oﬀshore and costal mineral deposits, Russia will depend on foreign cooperation regarding the high-tech know-how in exploitation under harsh Arctic conditions. (E.g. Russian state-holdings of Gazprom and Rosneft are already planning joint exploration sites, like Shtokman field, with the Norwegian StatoilHydro and French Total.) Visibly demonstrating the capability to patrol, secure and defend its territory has also high priority for the Kremlin’s policy–makers. Therefore, the Federation (like some other Arctic states) has been lately allocating considerable funds into the development and construction of new (generation of ) ice breakers, submarines and polar patrol ships. To better monitor the vast area, the government has recently ordered three additional nuclear ice breakers to the already large and well-equipped fleet. Clearly, Russia has increased its military budget and has retaken its assertive patrolling activities by water and air – the largest ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union. SPECIAL REPORTS 20
One of the geographic handicaps that Russia has suﬀered throughout its history was impossibility to connect its 5 fleets: the Baltic, Northern, Pacific, Black Sea and Caspian. As its military establishment well knew that who rules the oceans rules the world, ever since the Peter the Great, Russia has pressed westwards and southwards in a desperate attempt to connect its fleets: the warmseas quest. It was the same reason which drove the Soviet Russia into the development of impressive submarine fleets. Suddenly and rather unexpectedly, the opportunity to connect may arise in the rapidly melting north.
AREAS OF CLAIMS
ar too often in history the territorial disputes triggered the open and tragic conflicts or kept the rhetoric on confrontational course, or at least hindered any closer cooperation among states and their societies at large. Still, sometimes the territorial disputes bring or even hold states together. Both scenarios are highly probable between the two disputed states. But, what happens when the interaction is between five parties?
The first thing that the five unconstrained subjects would do in any (human) interaction (especially, if they have something lucrative to share or/and divide) is to agree to deny access to the 6th, or 7th party. This would remain an underlying common denominator, which invisibly holds them together. Once these 5 are secured from an external intrusion, the second thing to do would be an attempt of 4 joining together as to eliminate the 5th one, aimed at reducing the number of participants and optimizing the shares of forthcoming spoils. 4 are selecting 1 on either a basis of opportunity (weakest) or on a basis of fear (strongest). At this stage, the action of the second weakest (or second most likely to be the attacked next) is critical: Either he is (for right or wrong) assured by other 3 that he is not the next to be eliminated, or the 5th convinces the 4th that he will be the second for elimination. The very outcome heavily depends on two things: (i) the sense of judgment of the 4th (access to information and analysis of it), and (ii) the ability of both the first 3 and of the 5th to convince the 4th.
SPECIAL REPORTS 30
Published on May 4, 2014
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