Tuesday, January 20, 2009

WWF January 2009 Report on Gaps in International Governance of the Marine Arctic

The WWF International Arctic Programme has released its January 2009 report on International Governance and Regulation of the Marine Arctic: Overview and Gap Analysis by Timo Koivurova, University of Lapland, and Erik Molenaar, Universities of Utrecht and Tromsø.  The report was highlighted at the Age of the Arctic conference now in progress in Tromsø as part of Norway's contribution to the the International Polar Year.  A press release regarding the report emphasizes that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea cannot close all of the governance gaps in the arctic.  The World Wildlife Fund plans to issue a follow-up report later this year suggesting ways to address the governance gaps identified in its overview and gap analysis.

A separate article on "Building the Science behind Arctic Conservation," released last year as part of WWF's 2008 Annual Report, highlights WWF's climate-related science in the Arctic.

Icebreaking into the Arctic

The USCGC HEALY embarked Barrow, Alaska, in August 2008 to map the US extended continental shelf, or ECS, in the Arctic Ocean (HLY 0805). Healy sailed again from 7 August to 16 September, 2009 (HLY 0905) to continue ECS mapping, joining with the Canadian icebreaker, the Louis S. St.-Laurent. The two vessels mapped together again in 2010 (see HLY1002) and 2011 (HLY1102).

As the only law professor on the science crew, I was along on HLY 0805 and 0905 to better understand
the science behind the legal process that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea establishes for states making ECS submissions. As to why the US is mapping now, even though it has not yet acceded to the Convention, read on both here, and in the Law of the Sea notes below.

Thanks to
Vermont Law School and especially to Larry Mayer, Director of the University of New Hampshire's Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, for making my part in the trip possible.
Thanks, as well, to Adriane Colburn, for opening new windows on and for the deep.