ArcticNet - ArcticNet Research

Phase 4 (2015-2018)

A “Regional Seas Arrangement” for the Arctic Ocean

Project Leader(s)

Byers, Michael

The Arctic Ocean is a complex marine system in which currents, ice, fish, and marine mammals constantly move across the national boundaries of five coastal states (Canada, Greenland-Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States). Effective management of this system requires cooperation among Arctic Ocean coastal states, indigenous peoples, some non-Arctic states and inter-governmental organizations, and non-state actors such as environmental groups and shipping companies. To enhance cooperation among states, the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) has promoted the creation of “regional seas arrangements” (RSAs). Today, more than 143 states participate in 18 RSAs, such as the 1992 OSPAR Convention (“Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic”). This project will examine how an Arctic Ocean RSA could be designed to: (1) promote and complement the roles of the Arctic Ocean coastal states and the role of the Arctic Council; (2) centrally include Arctic indigenous peoples; and (3) incorporate the views and interests of other non-state actors. Finally, this project will produce and disseminate a model Arctic Ocean RSA. Contributes to IRIS: 1, 2