The Law of the Sea and the Arctic Environment

In Svein Vigeland Rottem and Ida Folkestad Soltvedt (eds), Arctic Governance: Law and Politics. Volume 1. London, I.B. Tauris, 2017, pp. 91-106.

This chapter outlines some implications of the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention for recent such proposals to establish a comprehensive and legally binding regime specifically targeting the Arctic marine environment. I sketch the broad architecture of that document and the scope it allows for regional regimes with stronger rules than those spelt out in the Convention. Against that background I review various contributions by Arctic soft-law institutions, especially the Arctic Council, to international efforts to protect the Arctic environment and examine whether those contributions would be significantly enhanced by the adoption of a comprehensive legal regime.