Knowledges, Resources and Legal Regimes
Edited by Richard C. Powell and Klaus Dodds
Chapter 5: Adapting governance and regulation of the marine Arctic
The Arctic is currently undergoing change at a pace many would not have considered possible just a decade or so ago. It is therefore reasonable to argue that while the international law and policy regime for the governance and regulation of the marine Arctic may have been adequate for an ice-dominated environment that allows very little human activity for most of the year, once the marine Arctic becomes increasingly similar to regional seas in other parts of the world for ever longer parts of the year, the adequacy of the old regime can no longer be assumed. The need for adapting the international regime for the governance and regulation of the marine Arctic to the rapidly changing reality is not really questioned; not even by the Arctic Ocean coastal states. Views diverge, however, on the most suitable pathway for adaptation and its final outcomes. This is at least in part caused by diverging views on the future of the Arctic. While some have advocated more ambitious future change (for example a new overarching Arctic treaty), the Arctic Council argues for incremental change by means of developing the so-called ëArctic Council Systemí (ACS). These forward-looking issues are examined in this chapter. After outlining broad support for the need for change in Arctic marine governance and regulation, the chapter discusses evidence that adaptation of governance and regulatory mechanisms is actually already underway.
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