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Continental Shelf North of Greenland: file submitted to CLCS
Shipping News
Written by Federica   
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 12:54

Greenland and Denmark claim. (Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark)Greenland and Denmark claim. (Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark)Yesterday, 15th December, the Government of Greenland and the Government of the Kingdom of Denmark submitted a file regarding the outer limits North of Greenland to the United Nation Commission on the Limit of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). This partial submission is the fifth step* in fulfilling the Kingdom of Denmark's obligation under Article 76(8) and Article 4 of Annex II to the Convention to submit information on the outer limits of its continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles (M) from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured". The area claimed extends toward the Arctic Ocean for ca 895,541 km2 beyond 200 nautical miles from the Northern coast of Greenland, reaching Russian EEZ (see map).

As reported in the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, "the submission of our claim to the continental shelf north of Greenland is a historic and important milestone for the Kingdom of Denmark. The objective of this huge project is to define the outer limits of our continental shelf and thereby – ultimately – of the Kingdom of Denmark. It has been a process characterized by the very good cooperation not only between authorities within the Kingdom of Denmark but also with our Arctic neighbors. We are looking forward to the constructive meetings with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) and subsequent bilateral negotiations with neighboring coastal States," says Minister for Foreign Affairs, Martin Lidegaard.


The submitted file on Greenland's northernmost continental shelf is part of a project started in 2002 and called "The Continental Shelf Project of the Kingdom of Denmark", carried out under the auspices of the Royal Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in close conjunction with the Government of Greenland and the Government of the Faroes. As stated in the partial submission, "the preparation of this Partial Submission began in 2002. Acquisition of seismic and bathymetric data, as well as the processing, analysis and interpretation of data, continued until 2014. Data acquisition in the area north of Greenland is challenging due to the climatic conditions and permanent ice cover. To acquire the necessary data for the documentation of the extended continental shelf in the Arctic, Polar-class icebreakers had to be chartered."


The outer delimitations of Continental Shelf is regulated by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 10 December 1982, which Denmark signed in 1982 but ratified in 2004 (currently 166 States are part of it). Accordingly to UNCLOS, every Coastal State is entitled with 200 nautical miles continental shelf (starting from their coastline) with the possibility to extend the area further if supported by adequate technological and scientific data. Claims over continental shelf areas extending beyond the 200 nautical miles must be submitted to the CLCS for its considerations. Currently, many submissions by several states are awaiting a response, making it difficult to predict when the Danish/Greenlandic claim will be initiated.


The Greenlandic/Danish' s claim clearly overlaps with Norway's, but very likely will also with Canada's, USA's and Russia's. Once received recommendations by the CLCS, the States involved will have to negotiate delimitation bilateral agreements, in accordance with the rules of the international law of the sea as laid down in the Ilulissat Declaration of 2008.


* As reported by partial submission report, "The Government of the Kingdom of Denmark, together with the Government of the Faroes made its first and second partial submissions, regarding the northern and southern continental shelf of the Faroe Islands, on 29 April 2009 and 2 December 2010, respectively. The Government of the Kingdom of Denmark, together with the Government of Greenland made its third and fourth partial submissions, regarding the southern and northeastern continental shelf of Greenland, on 14 June 2012 and 26 November 2013, respectively.


Read more:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark: "Denmark and Greenland will today file a submission regarding the continental shelf north of Greenland".

Partial Submission of the Government of the Kingdom of Denmark together with the Government of Greenland to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, "The Northern Continental Shelf of Greenland".


EU in the Arctic now published
Other News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Monday, 15 December 2014 10:23

(Photo: NORDEN) (Photo: NORDEN) New publication: The European Union and the Arctic – Developments and Perspectives 2010 – 2014 has just become available. 



The report analyses the policy statements on Arctic issues released from 2010 by the EU institutions and the EU's role-building in the Arctic political framework, notably the Arctic Council. (via Norden)

It describes how the EU's role in the Arctic is seen in strategies and policy papers of Member States, and reports on the EU's relations with other Arctic actors, particularly indigenous peoples.


It gives an overall view of the status of the main EU policies with relevance for the Arctic and identifies the main challenges the EU has to face for progressing to an integrated and coherent Arctic policy.


Click here to download the publication. 


Bering Strait shipping route proposed
Shipping News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Friday, 12 December 2014 10:56

(Photo: Getty Images) (Photo: Getty Images)With global warming leading to increased traffic to a vulnerable Arctic, the U.S. Coast Guard is proposing a 4.6-mile wide shipping route through the Bering Strait to try to protect the region. Any accident in the sensitive area can be a major problem and traffic has increased tremendously, so the Coast Guard mapped out a voluntary two-way route — akin to a highway for ships — said agency project officer Lt. Kody Stitz. "We see more traffic and envision more traffic to continue," Stitz said.


Last year ships went through the Bering Strait 440 times, twice what it was in 2008, according to a study in the journal Marine Policy.


Retired Coast Guard Vice Admiral Roger Rufe, former operations chief for the Department of Homeland Security, said that's an indication that climate change has made the region more passable for ships, with ships able to sail through formerly icy waters during more months in the year.


He said shippers like the route because it can provide a shorter and quicker way to go from Europe to Asia. But the ice melting also "means that ice is more unpredictable and the weather is far worse because the ice is what keeps the waves down," said Marilyn Heiman, U.S. Arctic director for the Pew Charitable Trusts and co-author of the Marine Policy study. More than just shipping routes is needed, she said.

That increased traffic in the Bering Strait traverses rough waters, far from help, where the environment is pristine and oil spills and other accidents can have serious consequences, Rufe said.

"An oil spill up there would be really devastating," Rufe said.

This type of route is typical around far busier ports and would be the first one in the Alaska region, Stitz said. But the route leading up to and through the Bering Strait is several hundred miles long, much bigger than others. At the same time the Coast Guard is charting the route, diplomats are meeting in Peru to work on an international treaty to battle global warming.

"We have serious changes happening in the Arctic," Heiman said. "Climate change is impacting people's lives, people's safety."


Source: Alaska Dispatch 
Internship available in Arctic Council
Other News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Thursday, 11 December 2014 12:23

(Logo: Arctic Council)(Logo: Arctic Council)The Arctic Council Secretariat is looking for an intern interested in learning the aspects of working in an international environment.

The internship will be full time for 4-6 months beginning in early 2015, and it's suitable for a bachelor or master student within relevant fields of study. Application deadline: 28 December 2014.

The intern who fills the position will be under the guidance of experienced secretariat staff members, and will be included in different parts of the Secretariat's work.

It is essential that applicants to this position have excellent computer skills and good English language skills - both written and oral. An open mind to cultural differences and a cooperative spirit is important.

For more details and application information, please see the attachment.

Inga Dora Markussen visits Akureyri
Politics News
Written by Federica   
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 11:42

Inga Dora Markussen (source: Linkedin) Yesterday, 9 December 2014, Inga Dora Markussen, secretary general for the West Nordic Council visited many institutions in Akureyri.


 The  "West Nordic Council" was eventually  formed in 1985 (called "West Nordic Parliamentarian Council of Cooperation" until 1997) , following a political discussion started in the 80's about "the special cultural and geographic conditions of the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Iceland".


The scope was since the beginning " to cooperate on common problems and to conduct positive and constructive cooperation regarding West Nordic, or North Atlantic, issues with the Nordic Council as well as other organisations", and specifically: 


  • To promote west Nordic (north Atlantic) interests
  • To be guardians of north Atlantic resources and north Atlantic culture and to help promoting West Nordic interests through the West Nordic governments – not least with regards to the serious issues of resource management, pollution etc.
  • To follow up on the government's west Nordic cooperation
  • To work with the Nordic Council and to be the west Nordic link in Nordic cooperation
  • To act as the parliamentary link for inter-west Nordic organisations, including Arctic parliamentary cooperation

Inga Dora Markussen,  the newly appointed segretary general of both Icelandic and Greenlandic origins, arrived in Akureryi yesterday morning and visited the Icelandic Cooperation Network, the Polar Law Institute, Arctic Services and Arctic Portal, and took a tour of Borgir Research Building ( Stefansson Arctic Institite, CAFF, PAME, Research Centre of the University of Akureyri, Tourism Research Centre, Centre for Gender Equality, University of Akureyri Fisheries Centre, MATIS). 


She also gave a lecture for the students of the University of Akureyri about the outcomes of the general election recently  held  in Greenland on November, 28, 2014. 


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