As a postscript to the previous entry regarding Changes in the Arctic Environment and the Law of the Sea, the 33rd annual conference of The Center for Oceans Law and Policy (COLP), it is important to broadcast at least one message emphasized repeatedly by conference participants. That message is that there is great cooperation in the Arctic Ocean by littoral states, especially regarding submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf and in managing existing disagreements regarding maritime boundaries.
John Norton Moore, Director of COLP, in an interview for Alaska Public Radio, emphasized “very substantial cooperation at an operational level, for example Coast Guard to Coast Guard and that governments are working closely together to try to resolve the remaining issues of boundary problems, for example." Moore emphasized that the eight arctic nations are “working on cooperative solutions.” This message was reiterated by Rear Admiral Arthur E Brooks, Commander, 17th USCG District, in his description of cooperation between the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards and by the many diplomatic representatives in attendance. For a related story from the Canadian perspective see the Petroleum News coverage of a Commonwealth North forum in Anchorage last week (discussing Canada's joint Arctic Ocean surveying with the U.S. and a separate memorandum of understanding with Denmark for joint surveying, as well as Canada's exchange of
Powerpoint presentations from the Seward meeting are already posted on the COLP conference website; the papers will appear in the ongoing series of COLP conference reports published by Brill. The conference website also provides conference notes prepared by student rapporteur Lisa Campion of Vermont Law School, who is interning this summer at Trustees for Alaska and is a member of the VLS Institute for Energy and the Environment research team. Note: the book referenced in her notes on Ted McDorman’s talk is Transit Management in the Northwest Passage: Problems and Prospects, Cynthia Lamson and David L. VanderZwaag (eds), Cambridge University Press 1988 (ISBN 978-0-521-09337-8)
Of particular note for continental shelf mapping is the presentation by Brian Van Pay, Maritime Geographer with the U.S. Department of State Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs. His talk provided a comprehensive overview of the status of each arctic state’s preparations for and submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (sketched in much less detail here). The presentations from the session dedicated to Continental Shelf Limits and Jurisdiction (offering a Canadian, United States, Danish and Russian perspective) are also available at the COLP conference web site.