A Window of Opportunity for an International Treaty to Protect the Arctic Marine Environment
3 Current Developments in Arctic Law (2015), pp. 20-21
Posted: 27 Dec 2019
Date Written: 2015
There is no single treaty regulating the Arctic Ocean, nor a regional seas programme. Written in 2015, this article was intended to show how there existed, during the Obama administration, the possibility to create a legally binding treaty protecting the Arctic marine environment. Today (2019), this possibility seems very remote, as has been shown by the repeated failed attempts to create a large marine protected area of the coast of Antarctica. In the years since this article was written, notable progress has been made in the field of Arctic marine environmental law, for example, the entry into force of the Polar Code on January 1, 2017. Today, this article is a reminder of what seemed possible only a few years ago and of the importance of continued efforts to protect the Arctic marine environment, even when it is through smaller steps than through one large treaty. The ongoing negotiations for an international legally binding instrument for areas beyond national jurisdictions, however, also serves as encouragement to aim high when it comes to measures to protect the oceans' fragile natural environment.
Keywords: Arctic, international law, marine environmental law
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation