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Antarctica and the Arctic

Page history last edited by Sheridan Hay 14 years, 1 month ago



Antarctica is a unique continent for many reasons, but the most significant for international law is that it is uninhabited by humans and, according to the Antarctic Treaty signed in Washington, DC in 1959, suspends the sovereignty claims of a host of nations for the duration of the treaty.  The treaty allows the continent to be a world reserve (temporarily) for all people and nations.  With technology now better able to discover and extract the resources of that region, a new protocol was negotiated (the Protocal on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty) in 1991 to commit governments to the protection of the Antarctic environment and a 50-year ban on any resource extraction.






In the past, Canada's northern region had not been in dispute due to the great difficulty ships had in navigating through the ice.  Global warming and the melting of the polar ice caps has changed all that.  There is now easier access to the resources of the Arctic region as well as accessibility to the resources that were sealed under the ice.  This has resulted in challenges to Canada's entitlement to the region.  Read and view the links below for a better picture of how the contested region represents an issue of international law.


Read:  CBC News "Battle for the Arctic Heats Up"

ViewCBC Documentary "Battle for the Arctic"


UPDATE on Arctic sovereignty 






CLN4U1 International Law


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