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Navigating the Arctic : the canadian NORDREG, the international polar code and regional cooperation

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Duncker & Humblot

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Human activity is increasing in the Arctic due to several factors, not least of which is global warming, which particularly affects the region. It is against this backdrop that the development of the legal framework for the protection of the marine Arctic is unfolding. Even though it is in its infancy, several problems may already be noted and deserve closer attention. The latest example is the Canadian decision to make NORDREG mandatory. Consequently, vessels going through the Canadian Arctic are required to report to the Canadian authorities and may be denied access if they do not conform to Canadian standards. Several States recently objected to this decision. The main objective of the present paper is to examine the consistency of the compulsory NORDREG regulation with international law not without placing it in its factual and larger legal context. Its secondary objective is then to put such unilateral actions into perspective by highlighting the unavoidability of international standard setting with respect to navigation, referring to the example of the Polar Code, and by exploring the advantages of regional cooperation for the safe development of human activities in the Arctic.



German Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 54, 77-124 (2011)


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Arctic, Navigation, NORDREG, Article 234 UNCLOS, Polar Code, Arctic Council, Canada, Regional cooperation


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