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Arctic Yearbook 2012
New Directions for Governance in the Arctic Region
East Atlantic Fisheries (NEAFC), both of which extend to parts of the Arctic region (De la Fayette,
2008: 554-55).
The point is that the Arctic is not a terra nullius. Hans Corell (2007), former Swedish Ambassador
and Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and the Legal Counsel of the United Nations, argues
that UNCLOS, together with international treaties including the Montreal Protocol, the Kyoto
Protocol, the Vienna Convention, the Stockholm Convention and the Convention on Biological
Diversity, provide a sufficient framework by which the Arctic environment can be protected. This is
especially true from his perspective that those problems threatening the Arctic are primarily
generated internationally, and so should be addressed at a global level.
The problem for Corell is in their
, and he argues that efforts should be focused on
improving those arrangements that already exist rather than constructing new ones. While a
comprehensive regime might be easier to understand, “to create a specific and non-sectored legal
regime for the Arctic would require a tremendous effort…rather than focusing on new regimes, it
would be important to analyse what the threats are and then act accordingly, mainly by making sure
that the existing regime is implemented and that States that have not yet acceded to or otherwise
accepted elements of this regime do so” (Correll, 2007: 4). From this perspective, the status quo
would be sufficient if the regulations that do exist were effectively implemented.
Unilateral/Bilateral Approach
Notwithstanding the generally cooperative atmosphere of contemporary circumpolar relations, it
remains entirely possible that some or all of the Arctic states will pay only lip service to their recent
promises to strengthen multilateral cooperation, while continuing to emphasize national or bilateral
initiatives to strengthen environmental legislation or resolve conflicts. Canada and Russia’s use of
UNCLOS’ Article 234 is an example of strengthening environmental regulation within the national
EEZ, for example, and the United States has implemented a moratorium on fishing in its Arctic
waters in order to evaluate the environmental consequences of fishing in this previously untouched
Some talk has been given to the possibility of joint Canadian-American management of the
, and Norway and Russia successfully resolved their bilateral boundary dispute in the Barents
Sea in 2010 (BarentsObserver, 2010). The Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and
Sweden) may continue to emphasize cooperation that is multilateral, but less than circumpolar, to
deal with shared problems in the North Atlantic, Baltic and Barents regions, for example