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The CJEU’s decision in the Antarctic Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) case offered an opportunity to explore the area where EU Law and the Antarctic Treaty System overlap: in the forum of the CAMLR Commission. From the point of view of EU Law, CCAMLR is a so-called ‘mixed agreement’, meaning that its scope includes areas where both the European Union and its Member States are competent. This article explains how the Court resolved the question of the joint representation of a common standpoint in a forum where the Union has no autonomous position, and then goes on to explore the significance that the decision could have for the Antarctic Treaty System.

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online

The legal process of determining maritime zones is largely dependent upon the drawing of baselines, which in most cases correspond to the low-water line located on the coast of a land territory subject to the sovereignty of a State. In the case of Antarctica, the unique geographic and legal characteristics of the continent make the drawing of baselines an atypically difficult process, thus subsequently hindering the determination and delimitation of maritime zones by States. First, this article summarizes the traditional and continuing legal debate on how to define baselines in the specific context of Antarctica. It will then examine the recent discussions under International Law Association (ILA) and International Law Commission (ILC) on the issue of baselines and sea level rise to analyse their implications, if any, to the Antarctic continent. Said analysis does not intend to provide definitive answers to this long-standing problem, but rather seeks to put into perspective the application of traditional legal theories in highly complex contexts of the Antarctic with its unique legal and geographic indeterminacy and in light of increasing effects of the climate change.

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online
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Abstract

Arctic Ocean (AO) is opening the door for commercial activities due to the opening of previously inaccessible areas which has attracted the concern of the protection of the Arctic marine biodiversity through the effective implementation of legally binding instruments that will be influential to the implementation of scientific cooperation between Arctic and Non-Arctic States. Moreover, diplomatic issues among the Arctic States along with the gaps in the laws and regulations regarding Arctic Ocean governance have raised the concern to come up with an effective legal regime for the conservation and sustainable use of Arctic marine biodiversity. Though there are some applicable legal instruments in existence, the rapid changes in the AO and increased human activities have called for a stronger one. Now the question is whether that regime shall be within national or regional framework and how the upcoming internationally legally binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ Treaty) can be an influential and effective instrument to promote the conservation and sustainable use of Arctic marine biodiversity which are beyond national jurisdiction. Therefore, the paper highlights the existing issues concerning Arctic marine biodiversity of the areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) and analyses these concerns regarding how the conservation and sustainable use of Arctic marine biodiversity can be promoted under the BBNJ treaty.

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online
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This article examines recent legal developments in the management of human activities in Arctic marine areas and considers the extent to which these developments acknowledge or recognize the rights, roles and interests of Arctic Indigenous peoples. These developments include the negotiation of three treaties under the auspices of the Arctic Council: the Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic, (Arctic SAR Agreement), the Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Spill Preparedness and Response in the Arctic (Arctic MOSPA), and the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation (Arctic Science Agreement), the adoption of the Polar Code by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and, most recently, the signature of the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean (the CAOF Agreement). It also examines more recent practice under the Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears (ACPB).

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online

The changing situation in the Arctic due to global warming has prompted media coverage of a supposed “scramble for the Arctic,” an “Arctic boom,” or an “Arctic Bonanza.” Some even go further, deploying the rhetoric of a “New Cold War,” predicting an inevitable clash between the United States and Russia over interests in the region. The press coverage in both countries over the past decade reflects this new sensationalism. The academic literature unequivocally confirms that the press exerts substantial influence on governmental policy makers, and vice versa. However, while scholars agree that international organizations (IOs) are essential to shaping policies, the existing literature lacks research on media’s relationship with IOs, which often struggle to obtain the coverage and publicity they deserve.

The Arctic Council has provided an effective platform for constructive dialogue and decision making involving the USA and Russia. Accordingly, despite disagreements in other regions of the world, the two global powers have managed to cooperate in the Arctic – notwithstanding recent media coverage painting a different and incomplete picture. This project surveys the media coverage of the Arctic over the past decade in Russia and the USA and its correlation with the Arctic Council’s activities. The analysis draws upon two prominent news organizations in Russia (Kommersant and Izvestiya) and two in the USA (the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal), as well as the Arctic Council’s press releases from June 2006 to June 2017. The paper finds that there is a clear disconnect between media coverage of the region and the Arctic Council’s activities. It recommends that the media pay more attention to the organization, particularly since it is the only prominent platform for international cooperation in the Arctic.

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online

As Japan is considered a non-regional actor in Arctic governance, this paper begins with analysing how Japan navigates the web of Arctic governance and how it manages to create a coherent Arctic narrative and engages with the Arctic both inside and outside the region. The present research argues that the construction of an Arctic identity is a praxis performed through time that needs to be constantly reaffirmed. To illustrate this point, the paper then uses a lateral rather than linear approach to assess the influence of the Arctic on Japan at present. This paper assesses Japan’s engagement on the main stage where Arctic governance is performed (i.e. The Arctic Council) since the release of Japan’s Arctic Policy and under the Arctic Challenge for Sustainability project, Japan’s flagship program for Arctic research. Looking to the future, countries such as Japan who are willing to be involved in all parts of Arctic governance will have to make a choice about what kind of Arctic relationships they want to create and in which of these relationships Japan could invest more.

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online

Abstract

This study examines how recent changes in Russia’s legal regulations affected shipping via the Northern Sea Route. The paper discusses whether these regulations are helpful for making the NSR a popular international transport corridor or, on the contrary, may lead to its isolation and retaining its status of Russia’s national seaway? This study also reviews Russian legal and practical measures to implement the International Maritime Organization’s Polar Code. The author concludes that despite some legal inconsistencies, the lack of a proper infrastructure and residual environmental problems, the NSR will remain an important priority for the Russian future strategy in the Arctic region. The NSR is viewed by Moscow as an effective instrument to develop the Russian Arctic both domestically and internationally. However, Moscow still faces a dilemma: On the one hand, it wants to keep its control over the NSR and support Russian shipbuilding industry and shipping companies. On the other hand, the Kremlin is willing to open up this passage for international cooperation and integrate it to the global transportation system.

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online

Areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) are covering nearly two-thirds of the world’s oceans and are rich in biological diversity. These also include the Polar Regions, where marine organisms adapted to extreme environments and led to increased scientific interest and activities, including bioprospecting activities. As a result, marine biodiversity is increasingly threatened. Thus, the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) was established to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity but left ABNJ and bioprospecting activities widely unregulated. In Antarctica, for instance, bioprospecting has raised concerns, and the matter has been discussed since 2002. As a result, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 69/292 concluded the establishment of a new international legally binding instrument (ILBI) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity for ABNJ. However, the inclusion of the Antarctic Treaty Area remains unclear. In light of the current BBNJ negotiations, the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) only acknowledges the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) as the appropriate framework to regulate these activities in Antarctica. Further, it seems to aim for regulation under the ATS, if at all. Therefore, this paper discusses a solution-based approach for possible regulation of the collection and use of Antarctic marine biodiversity. The negotiations and achievements of the current BBNJ process will be taken into account, as they might provide support for the regulation of these issues in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online
Author:

Its isolation and extreme climate means Antarctica is one of the world’s richest regions for untouched geoheritage. The potential of mining in Antarctica is often talked of in public discourse as a future threat to Antarctica even though the prohibition on mining is absolute and is likely to stay so indefinitely. As such mining does not pose a realistic threat to Antarctica’s geoheritage. The impacts of scientific research and tourism pose more pressing challenges to Antarctica’s geoheritage. This paper considers emerging debates in the Antarctic Treaty System on the need for further protection of Antarctica’s geoheritage. After considering the concept of geoheritage the paper considers key threats to Antarctic geoheritage. The role of Antarctic Specially Protected Area system in the protection of Antarctica’s geoheritage is then considered as is the draft code of conduct on geosciences field research currently being developed within the Antarctic Treaty System. The final part of the paper then goes on to examine how the Antarctic Treaty system could in part draw on the experience of other international initiatives, including the frameworks associated with the UNESCO Global Geoparks movement in developing an Antarctic System for protection of geoheritage.

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online