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Coordinated Ocean Stewardship in the Arctic: Needs, Challenges and Possible Models for an Arctic Ocean Coordinating Agreement

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2015

Betsy Baker
Vermont Law School, South Royalton, VT (United States (US)) and University of Washington School of Law in Alaska, Anchorage, AK (US). Email:
Brooks Yeager
Birdwell Strategies, Silver Spring, MD (US). Email:


This article proposes an Arctic Ocean Coordinating Agreement (AOCA) as a framework for more effective coordination and sharing of practices regarding national conservation and management policies in the marine Arctic. It envisions a nimble, versatile body that operates without creating new institutions and focuses instead on convening and coordinating existing individuals and institutions whose expertise can assist the Arctic states with questions that the Arctic states define. The AOCA could incorporate aspects of regional seas agreements (RSAs) into a less formal regional arrangement that would differ significantly from traditional RSAs. Identifying the Arctic Council as the right entity to launch AOCA discussions, the article proposes that an AOCA should draw on entities already engaged in work relevant to the emerging challenges in the Arctic Ocean: the Helsinki and OSPAR Commissions, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES), and other institutions that have successfully convened appropriate sets of actors for targeted responses to shared marine management concerns around the world.

© Cambridge University Press 2015 

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The authors thank numerous colleagues for invaluable responses in two forums to ideas developed in this article: a talk in Sept. 2014 at the K.G. Jebsen Center for the Law of the Sea, University of Tromsø (Norway), and a Program on Arctic Governance, Jan. 2015, University of California, Irvine School of Law, Irvine, CA (US). Brooks Yeager thanks Lisa Speer for early support in exploring the regional seas approach, Bill Eichbaum for helpful input, and senior US and other officials for encouragement to further refine the concept.


1 US Arctic Research Commission, ‘A Message from the Chair’, Report on Goals and Objectives for Arctic Research (USARC, 2005), p. 6, available at:

2 E.g., in March 2014, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, n. 30 below) Secretariat convened an Arctic Regional Workshop to Facilitate the Description of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) in collaboration with the Arctic Council Working Group on the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF): see Report of the Arctic Regional Workshop to Facilitate the Description of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas, Helsinki (Finland), 3–7 Mar. 2014, UNEP/CBD/EBSA/WS/2014/1/5 (20 May 2014), available at:

3 See, e.g., Bankes, N., ‘The Conservation and Utilization of Marine Mammals in the Arctic Region’, in E.J. Molenaar, A.G. Oude Elferink & D.R. Rothwell (eds), The Law of the Sea and the Polar Regions: Interactions between Global and Regional Regimes (Martinus Nijhoff, 2013), pp. 293321CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 297–8 (discussing Arctic state membership in various marine mammal related agreements); and, in the same volume, Baker, B., ‘The Developing Regional Regime for the Marine Arctic’, pp. 3459Google Scholar, at 46–59 (on Arctic state participation in global and regional agreements).

4 CAFF, Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (Arctic Council, 2013), available at:

5 See, e.g., Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) Working Group, ‘Arctic Council Task Force on Short-Lived Climate Forcers, Progress Report and Recommendations for Ministers’, 2011, Recommendation 1, p. 5, available at:

6 Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic (SAR Agreement), Nuuk (Greenland), 12 May 2011, in force 19 Jan. 2013, available at:; Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic (OPPR Agreement), Kiruna (Sweden), 15 May 2013, not yet in force, available at: A useful summary of the SAR Agreement is available at: On the OPPR Agreement, see Trigatti, L., O.-K. Bjerkemo & M. Everett, ‘Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic’ (2014) 1 International Oil Spill Conference Proceedings, pp. 14851496CrossRefGoogle Scholar, available at:

7 See Pavlov, V., ‘Features of the Structure and Variability of the Oceanographic Processes in the Shelf-Zone of the Laptev and East Siberian Seas’Google Scholar, in Robinson, K. & Brink, A. (eds), The Sea: The Global Coastal Ocean, Regional Studies and Syntheses (Wiley, 1998), pp. 759788Google Scholar; and, in the same volume, the following: Schumacher, J. & Stabenow, P., ‘Continental Shelf of the Bering Sea Coastal Segment’, pp. 789822Google Scholar; Brink, K., ‘Bibliography on the Coastal Ocean of Northern North America and West Greenland’, pp. 823834Google Scholar; and Ingram, R.G. & Prinsenberg, S., ‘Coastal Oceanography of Hudson Bay and Surrounding Eastern Canadian Arctic Waters’, pp. 835862Google Scholar.

8 Sverdrup, H.U. et al., The Oceans: Their Physics, Chemistry, and General Biology (Prentice Hall, 1942), p. 13Google Scholar, referring to ‘the Arctic Mediterranean Sea’ – a phrase whose history is traced in Keskitalo, E.C.H., Negotiating the Arctic: The Construction of an International Region (Routledge, 2004), pp. 3435Google Scholar, n. 12.

9 Ibid.

10 Murray, J. L., ‘Ecological Characteristics of the Arctic’, in AMAP Assessment Report: Arctic Pollution Issues (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, 1998), pp. 117139Google Scholar, at 135, and de March, B.G.E., de Wit, C.A. & Muir, D.C.G., ‘Persistent Organic Pollutants’, in the same volume, pp. 183372Google Scholar, at 184, 191.

11 Ebinger, C. et al., Offshore Oil and Gas Governance in the Arctic: A Leadership Role for the U.S. (Brookings Institution, 2014)Google Scholar, available at: See also H. Bader, C. Carlson & Bouffard, T., ‘Tale of Two Arctics: Impact of Geography Affecting Security and Disaster Response Capabilities between North America and Europe’ (2014) 8(2) The Homeland Security Review, pp. 121Google Scholar, at 2.

12 See Sale, R., The Arctic: The Complete Story (Frances Lincoln, 2008), pp. 578593Google Scholar. For a more recent history focused on the Alaskan Inuit, see Mitchell, D.C., Sold American: The Story of Alaska Natives and Their Land, 1867–1959 (Dartmouth College, 1997)Google Scholar.

13 Bird, K.J. et al., ‘Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal: Estimates of Undiscovered Oil and Gas North of the Arctic Circle’, USGS Fact Sheet 20083049Google Scholar, 2008, available at:

14 Status updates for Arctic sea ice from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, available at:

15 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 78–81.

16 The walrus haul-out at Point Lay, Alaska (US) as of Oct. 2014 was generating much media coverage: e.g. B. Lendon, ‘35,000 Walruses “Haul Out” on Alaska Beach’, CNN, 2 Oct. 2014, available at:

17 Grebmeier, J., personal communication with Brooks Yeager, 2005Google Scholar.

18 Barber, D.G. et al., On the Edge: From Knowledge to Action during the Fourth International Polar Year: Circumpolar Flaw Lead System Study (2007–2008) (University of Manitoba, 2012), pp. 79, 100Google Scholar.

19 O’Rourke, R., Changes in the Arctic, Background Issues for Congress (Congressional Research Service, 2010)Google Scholar.

20 Arctic Council, Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009 Report (Arctic Council, 2009).

21 See, e.g., Critchlow, A., ‘Arctic Drilling is Inevitable: If We Don’t Find Oil in the Ice, then Russia Will’, The Telegraph, 7 Sept. 2014, available at: Scholar.

22 Lemke, P. & Jacobi, H.W. (eds), Arctic Climate Change: The ACSYS Decade and Beyond (Springer, 2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

23 The Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears, Oslo (Norway), 15 Nov. 1973, in force 26 May 1976, available at:, and the SAR and OPPR Agreements, n. 6 above (both of which bind all eight Arctic states) are the only three Arctic-specific agreements identified in Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME), ‘The Arctic Ocean Review Project, Final Report, (Phase II 2011–2013)’, 8th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting, Kiruna (Sweden), May 2013 (AOR Final Report), available at:

24 N. 3 above.

25 Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Russia and the US (Alaska).

26 Montego Bay (Jamaica), 10 Dec. 1982, in force 16 Nov. 1994, available at:

27 Borgerson, S., The National Interest and the Law of the Sea (Council on Foreign Relations, 2009), p. 3Google Scholar.

28 See, e.g., Rothwell, D.R., The Polar Regions and the Development of International Law (Cambridge University Press, 1996)Google Scholar; Vidas, D. (ed.), Protecting the Polar Marine Environment: Law and Policy for Pollution Prevention (Cambridge University Press, 2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Pagnan, J.L., ‘Arctic Marine Protection’ (2000) 53(4) Arctic, pp. 469476CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Nowlan, L., Arctic Legal Regime for Environmental Protection (International Union for Conservation of Nature, 2001)Google Scholar; O.S. Stokke, ‘The Law of the Sea Convention and the Idea of a Binding Regime for the Arctic Marine Environment’, paper prepared for the 7th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region 2006, available at:; Rayfuse, R., ‘Melting Moments: The Future of Polar Oceans Governance in a Warming World’ (2007) 16(2) Review of European Community & International Environmental Law, pp. 196216CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 155–9; Stokke, O.S. et al., ‘Pollution and Conservation’, in O.S. Stokke & G. Hønneland (eds), International Cooperation and Arctic Governance: Regime Effectiveness and Northern Region Building (Routledge, 2007), pp. 78112Google Scholar; De Roo, C. et al., Environmental Governance in the Marine Arctic (Arctic Transform, 2008)Google Scholar, available at:; Loukacheva, N., ‘Legal Challenges in the Arctic’, in L. Heininen & K. Laine (eds), The Borderless North (Northern Research Forum, 2008), pp. 129135Google Scholar; Koivurova, T. & Molenaar, E.J., International Governance and Regulation of the Marine Arctic: Overview and Gap Analysis (WWF International, 2009)Google Scholar; Byers, Michael, International Law and the Arctic (Cambridge University Press, 2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and AOR Final Report, n. 23 above. Many of these authors have built on the foundational work of Oran Young and Gail Osherenko in the field of arctic governance studies: e.g. Osherenko, G. & Young, O., The Age of the Arctic: Hot Conflicts and Cold Realities (Cambridge University Press, 1989)Google Scholar; Young, O., Creating Regimes: Arctic Accords and International Governance (Cornell University Press, 1998)Google Scholar.

29 N. 23 above.

30 Relevant instruments include the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), 5 June 1992, in force 29 Dec. 1993, available at: (which recognizes the important connection between indigenous peoples and biodiversity in Art. 8(j)); UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, New York, NY (US), 13 Sept. 2007, available at:; International Labour Organization (ILO), Convention No. 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, Geneva (Switzerland), 27 June 1989, in force 5 Sept. 1991, available at:; and others.

31 Relevant International Maritime Organization (IMO) instruments include the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, London (UK), 2 Nov. 1973, in force after the 1978 London Protocol (MARPOL), 2 Oct. 1983, and related annexes and protocols, available at:; the mandatory International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters, expected to enter into force on 1 Jan. 2017, see; and the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, London (UK), 13 Feb. 2004, not yet in force. Relevant entities include the International Whaling Commission (IWC); the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO); the Arctic Region Hydrographic Commission; and others.

32 Relevant instruments and entities include the CBD, n. 30 above; UNCLOS, n. 26 above; IWC, ibid.; North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO), established by the Agreement on Cooperation in Research, Conservation, and Management of Marine Mammals in the North Atlantic, Nuuk (Greenland), 9 Apr. 1992, in force 8 July 1992, available at:; various Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs); Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Washington, DC (US), 3 Mar. 1973, in force 1 July 1975, available at:; Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention), Ramsar (Iran), 2 Feb. 1971, in force 21 Dec. 1975, available at:; Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears, n. 23 above; and others.

33 Relevant instruments include UNCLOS, n. 26 above; MARPOL, n. 31 above; Oslo-Paris Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR), Paris (France), 22 Sept. 1992, in force 25 Mar. 1998, available at:; Arctic SAR and Arctic OPPR Agreements, n. 6 above; Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (London Convention), London (UK), 13 Nov. 1972, in force 30 Aug. 1975, and its 1996 Protocol, London (UK), 7 Nov. 1996, in force 24 Mar. 2006, available at:; and others.

34 Relevant instruments include the Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution, Geneva (Switzerland), 13 Nov. 1979, in force 16 Mar. 1983, available at:, and its 1999 Gothenburg Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone, Gothenburg (Sweden), 30 Nov. 1999, in force 17 May 2005, available at:; London Convention, ibid.; Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), New York, NY (US), 23 Oct. 1956, in force 29 July 1957, available at:; Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, a policy framework adopted by the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM) on 6 Feb. 2006; Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), Stockholm (Sweden), 22 May 2001, in force 17 May 2004, available at:; UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), New York, NY (US), 9 May 1992, in force 21 March 1994, available at:; MARPOL, n. 31 above; and others.

35 Relevant instruments include OSPAR, n. 33 above; International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), established by the Convention for the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES Convention), Copenhagen (Denmark), 12 Sept. 1964, in force 22 July 1968, available at:; North Pacific Council for the Exploration of the Sea (PICES), established by the Convention for a North Pacific Marine Science Organization, Ottawa (Canada), 12 Dec. 1990, in force 24 Mar. 1992, available at:; CBD, n. 30 above; CITES, n. 32 above; Northeast Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) established by the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in Northeast Atlantic Fisheries (NEAFC Convention), London (UK), 18 Nov. 1980, in force 17 Mar. 1982, available at:; Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), Canberra (Australia), 20 May 1980, in force 7 April 1982, available at:; and others.

36 Relevant instruments and entities include UNCLOS, n. 26 above; OSPAR, n. 33 above; ICES and PICES, ibid.; NEAFC, ibid., International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), established by the Founding Articles for an International Arctic Science Committee, Resolute Bay (Canada), 28 Aug. 1990, as reproduced in the Marine Mammal Commission Compendium, Multilateral/Marine Science and Exploration, Vols 1–3, pp. 2671–6, available at:; and others.

37 N. 31 above.

38 N. 30 above.

39 Bonn (Germany), 23 June 1979, in force 1 Nov. 1983, available at:

40 On treaty interlinkages generally, see Chambers, W.B., Interlinkages and the Effectiveness of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (UN University Press, 2008)Google Scholar; on the Liaison Group of Biodiversity Conventions, see Chambers, ibid., at p. 70, n. 80. See also the discussion of cross-convention engagement at the Eighth Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the CBD: UNEP, ‘Cooperation with Other Conventions, Organizations and Initiatives and Engagement of Stakeholders, Including Options for a Global Partnership’ (note by the Executive Secretary), UNEP/CBD/ COP/8/25, 21 Jan. 2006. Long, A., ‘Developing Linkages to Preserve Biodiversity’ (2010) 21(1) Yearbook of International Environmental Law, pp. 4180CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 21.

41 UNEP/GRID Arendal, ‘Overview Report: Multilateral Environmental Agreements and Their Relevance to the Arctic’, Background Report for the Seminar on ‘Multilateral Environmental Agreements and their Relevance to the Arctic’, Arendal (Norway), 21–22 Sept. 2006, para. 2.5.3, available at:

42 Ibid., at para. 3.3.6.

43 E.g., PAME recently asked its Ecosystem Approach Expert Group (EA-EG) ‘to explore possible areas of cooperation on integrated ecosystem assessments with ICES’: PAME, ‘Progress Report’, Meeting of Senior Arctic Officials, 26–27 Mar. 2014, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (Canada), Agenda item 6.2: Working Group Progress Reports, p. 2.

44 N. 33 above.

45 Helsinki (Finland), 9 Apr. 1992, in force 17 Jan. 2000, available at:

46 See, e.g., Keskitalo, , n. 8 above, discussing the ‘Murmansk Momentum’ at pp. 4244Google Scholar; and Nowlan, , n. 28 above, at p. 7Google Scholar.

47 Earlier binding agreements include the Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears (n. 23 above) and US Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, codified at 16 U.S. Code, Chapter 7, Subchapter II.

48 Joint Communiqué and Declaration on the Establishment of the Arctic Council, Ottawa (Canada), 19 Sept. 1996, available at:

49 The World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future (Oxford University Press, 1987).

50 See ‘Ecosystem-based Management in the Arctic’, Report submitted to Senior Arctic Officials by the Expert Group on Ecosystem-based Management, May 2013, available at:; the Arctic Council ministers welcomed and approved this Report in Arctic Council Secretariat, Kiruna Declaration, 15 May 2013, p. 5, available at:

51 See n. 6 above.

52 The OPPR Agreement (n. 6 above, at s. 9) does, however, tie the timing of joint exercises to the discretion of the country chairing the Arctic Council.

53 Kiruna Declaration, n. 50 above, at p. 5.

54 Arctic Council Ministers reiterated support for EBM and requested that ‘development of practical guidelines for an ecosystem-based approach to the work of the Arctic Council be completed as soon as possible’: Arctic Council, Iqaluit Declaration, 9th Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council, Iqaluit (Canada), 24 Apr. 2015, p. 4, available at

55 See, e.g., De Angelo, B. (ed.), Technical Report of the Arctic Council Task Force on Short-Lived Climate Forcers, An Assessment of Emissions and Mitigation Options for Black Carbon for the Arctic Council (Arctic Council, 2011)Google Scholar, available at: 22July2011.pdf.

56 See Iqaluit Declaration, n. 54 above, at p. 3, and Arctic Council, ‘Senior Arctic Officials’ Report to Ministers’, Iqaluit (Canada), 24 Apr. 2015 (SAO Report), Annex 4: Enhanced Black Carbon and Methane Emissions Reductions – An Arctic Council Framework for Action, available at:

57 See R. Huebert & B. Yeager, A New Sea (WWF International Programme, 2006)Google Scholar; Koivurova & Molenaar, n. 28 above; Commission of the European Communities, Communication: The European Union and the Arctic Region, COM(2008) 763, available at:; Arctic Transform, Trans-Atlantic Policy Options for Supporting Adaptations in the Arctic, Policy-Makers’ Summary (Arctic Transform, 2009); Yeager, B., ‘Managing Towards Sustainability in the Arctic’ (2009) 69(3) Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht/Heidelberg Journal of International Law, pp. 7990Google Scholar; Inuit Circumpolar Council, ‘Inuit Arctic Policy’, 2010, available at:

58 See ‘Task Forces of the Arctic Council’, 29 Dec. 2011, available at: On the work of the Task Forces generally, see Molenaar, E.J., ‘Current and Prospective Roles of the Arctic Council System within the Context of the Law of the Sea’ (2012) 27 The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, pp. 553595CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

59 See, e.g., Aspen Commission on Climate Change in the Arctic, The Shared Future (Aspen Institute, 2011); Emmerson, C., Arctic Opening, Opportunity and Risk in the High North (Chatham House, 2012)Google Scholar; Huebert, R. et al., Climate and International Security, the Arctic as a Bellwether (Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, 2012)Google Scholar; Baker, B. & Kraska, J., Emerging Arctic Security Challenges (Center for a New American Security, 2014)Google Scholar, available at:; Yeager, B., Coordinating Ocean Management in the Arctic, Options and Possible Next Steps for the Arctic Council (Natural Resources Defense Council, 2014)Google Scholar; 11th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, ‘Conference Statement’, Whitehorse (Canada), 2–11 Sept. 2014, available at:

60 Iqaluit Declaration, n. 54 above, at p. 5.

61 SAO Report, n. 56 above, at p. 77.

62 Ibid., at p. 78.

63 Hathaway, O.A., ‘Between Power and Principle: An Integrated Theory of International Law’ (2005) 72 University of Chicago Law Review, pp. 469536Google Scholar, at 531.

64 See, e.g., Abbott, K.W. & Snidal, D., ‘Hard and Soft Law in International Governance’ (2000) 54 International Organization pp. 421456CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 446; Reinicke, W.H. & Witte, J.M., ‘Interdependence, Globalization, and Sovereignty: The Role of Non-Binding International Legal Accords’, in D. Shelton (ed.), Commitment and Compliance: The Role of Non-Binding Norms in the International Legal System (Oxford University Press, 2003), pp. 75100CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 76.

65 VanderZwaag, D., ‘Regionalism and Arctic Marine Environmental Protection: Drifting between Blurry Boundaries and Hazy Horizons’, in D. Vidas & W. Østreng (eds), Order for the Oceans at the Turn of the Century (Martinus Nijhoff, 1999), pp. 231248Google Scholar, at 246.

66 Ibid.; and Russell, D. & VanderZwaag, D., ‘Challenges and Future Directions in Transboundary Fisheries Management: Concluding Reflections’, in D. Russell & D. VanderZwaag (eds), Recasting Transboundary Fisheries Management Arrangements in Light of Sustainability Principles: Canadian and International Perspectives (Martinus Nijhoff, 2010), pp. 521525Google Scholar, at 523 (‘fragmented incrementalism’) and 524 (‘legal leaps’ to binding agreements).

67 Griffiths, F., ‘Towards a Canadian Arctic Strategy’, in G. Witschel et al. (eds), New Chances and New Responsibilities in the Arctic Region (BWV Verlag, 2010) pp. 97142Google Scholar, at 100–3. Griffiths acknowledges that his approach draws on the work of O. Young and H. Correll, in Witschel, ibid., at 102, n. 6.

68 Arctic Council, ‘Arctic Marine Strategic Plan’, 24 Nov. 2004 (AMSP 2004), available at: A new AMSP was adopted for 2015–25 at the Iqaluit Ministerial: Arctic Council/PAME International Secretariat, ‘Arctic Marine Strategic Plan 2015–2025, Protecting Marine and Coastal Ecosystems in a Changing Arctic’, Apr. 2015 (AMSP 2015–25), available at: This article, which was in final review when the 2015 Iqaluit Ministerial occurred, does not cover in detail the AMSP 2015 or other documents the Ministers approved on that occasion.

69 Hayes, M., Policy, ‘Current Oceans, Perspectives’, United States, in M. Nordquist et al. (eds), International Energy Policy, the Arctic and the Law of the Sea, (Martinus Nijhoff, 2005) pp. 2332Google Scholar, at 27.

70 Arctic Council, ‘Arctic Council Rules of Procedure as adopted by the Arctic Council at the First Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting, Iqaluit, Canada, 17–18 Sept. 1998, revised by the Arctic Council at the Eighth Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting, Kiruna, Sweden, 15 May 2013’, available at:

71 Ibid. at p. 7, para. 28.

72 The Rules of Procedure leave considerable leeway for the Arctic Council to create subsidiary bodies and contain no language that would prevent creating a sui generis subsidiary body. See also Arctic Council, ‘Observer Manual for Subsidiary Bodies as Adopted by the Arctic Council at the Eighth Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting Kiruna, Sweden, May 15, 2013’, 2013.

73 See Section 3.3 below.

74 On the changing role of legally binding treaties in international cooperative structures, see Chircop, A., McDorman, T. & Ralston, S., ‘Introduction: Setting the Stage’, in A. Chircop, T. McDorman & S. Ralston, The Future of Ocean Regime-Building: Essays in Tribute to Douglas M. Johnston (Brill, 2009), pp. 2537Google Scholar, at 28–30.

75 See, e.g., Arctic Council, ‘Status on Implementation of the AMSA 2009 Report Recommendations’, May 2013, at:

76 UNCLOS, n. 26 above, Art. 1(1).

77 Under the SAR Agreement (n. 6 above), Art. 3: ‘The delimitations of the aeronautical and maritime search and rescue regions relevant to this Agreement’ are specified in an Annex to the Agreement and cover national and international waters.

78 Art. 3.1 of the OPPR Agreement (n. 6 above) lists each Arctic state’s definition of those areas under its national jurisdiction to which the agreement will apply; Art. 3.2 provides that each party shall also apply certain provisions of the agreement ‘as appropriate to areas beyond the jurisdiction of any state above the southern limit set forth in paragraph 1 of this Article, to the extent consistent with international law’.

79 Molenaar, E., ‘Arctic Fisheries and International Law: Gaps and Options to Address Them’ (2012) 1 Carbon and Climate Law Review, pp. 6377CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 67, citing the Agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of Norway and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Co-operation in the Fishing Industry, Moscow (USSR), 11 Apr. 1975, in force 11 Apr. 1975, (1975) 983 United Nations Treaty Series, p. 7.

80 Cf. n. 78 above.

81 AMSP 2015–25, n. 68 above, at p. 6.

82 Arctic Council, Arctic Offshore Oil and Gas Guidelines (PAME Working Group, 2009), p. 1; the national definitions appear in Annex A, pp. 77–8.

83 International Oceanographic Commission (IOC), 20th Session of the IOC Assembly, 29 June 1999, para. 431.

84 ICES, n. 35 above.

85 OSPAR Convention, n. 33 above; OSPAR, Annex V, Sintra (Portugal), 23 Sept. 1998, in force 30 Aug. 2000; amended and updated text available at:

86 AOR Final Report, n. 23 above, at p. 17, Sidebar 1.1.

87 ‘About AMAP’, available at

88 AMSP 2004, n. 68 above.

89 Ibid., at para. 1.2.

90 AOR Final Report, n. 23 above.

91 AOR-I Report, section 1.3, reproduced in Appendix 1 to the AOR Final Report, ibid., at p. 17, Sidebar 1.1.

92 The 2015–25 AMSP (n. 68 above, at p. 5) identifies four Strategic Goals encompassing 41 strategic actions relating to the Arctic marine environment: Goal 1 addresses improving our knowledge of it, including through monitoring and assessment; Goal 2 deals with its marine biodiversity; Goal 3 covers its safe and sustainable use, including taking cumulative impacts into account; and Goal 4 promotes the economic, social and cultural well-being of Arctic inhabitants, including through enhancing the ability of indigenous peoples to adapt to changes in the marine environment.

93 See n. 68 above.

94 AMSP 2015–25, n. 68 above, Goal 2.

95 On the consensus to work towards a legally binding BBNJ agreement see ‘Ninth Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to Study Issues relating to the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity Beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction (BBNJ)’ (2015) 25 (94) Earth Negotiations Bulletin, IISD Reporting Service, available at:

96 Ardron, J.A., Rayfuse, R., K. Gjerde & R. Warner, ‘The Sustainable Use and Conservation of Biodiversity in ABNJ: What Can be Achieved Using Existing International Agreements?’ (2014) 49 Marine Policy, pp. 98108CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 104, citing the Fisheries Jurisdiction Case (United Kingdom v. Iceland), Judgment on Jurisdiction, 2 Feb. 1973, ICJ Reports (1973), p. 3.

97 For the WG’s full title and mandate see UNGA Resolution 59/24 (17 Nov. 2004), ‘Oceans and the Law of the Sea’, UN Doc. No. A/RES/59/24, 4 Feb. 2005, para. 73.

98 Ardron, et al., n. 96 above, at p. 103Google Scholar (citations omitted).

99 Ibid. The authors provide a complete list of such sectoral and conservation agreements in Table 1 at p. 99.

100 Wright, G. et al., ‘The Scores at Half Time, An Update on the International Discussions on the Governance of Marine Biodiversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction’, IDDRI SciencesPo., Issue Brief No. 2, 14 Sept. 2014, ‘Oceans and Coastal Zones’, p. 3Google Scholar, available at:

101 See also Section 1.2 above.

102 N. 35 above.

103 OSPAR/HELCOM, ‘Statement on the Ecosystem Approach to the Management of Human Activities: Towards an Ecosystem Approach to the Management of Human Activities’, First Joint Ministerial Meeting of the Helsinki and OSPAR Commissions, Bremen (Germany), 25–26 June 2003 (Helsinki & OSPAR JMM), Agenda item 6, Annex 5, Ref. §6.1, available at:

104 Tehran (Iran), 4 Nov. 2003, in force 12 Aug. 2006. Text and history available at:

105 Bucharest (Romania), 21 Apr. 1992, in force 15 Jan. 1994, available at:

106 N. 45 above.

107 The other HELCOM state members are Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The EU’s membership in HELCOM indirectly encompasses five more of the Arctic Council observer states: France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK.

108 Despite the initial failure to gain consensus on the NOX Emissions Control Area in 2013, the HELCOM nations presented a unified recommendation to the IMO a year later, and the area has now been established: see ‘IMO Decision on Nitrogen Emissions from Ships Provides a Clearer Framework for the Baltic’, IMO Press Release 07/04/2014, available at:

109 N. 6 above.

110 N. 6 above.

111 N. 68 above.

112 On CBSS activity in recent years see Bellini, N. & Hilpert, U. (eds), Europe’s Changing Geography: The Impact of Inter-Regional Networks (Routledge, 2013), pp. 7175Google Scholar; on the founding of CBSS see Williams, L.-K., ‘Post-modern and Intergovernmental Paradigms of Baltic Sea Cooperation between 1988 and 1992: The Genesis of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) as a Historical Case Study’ (2005) 15 NORDEUROPAforum, pp. 320Google Scholar; for different national perspectives on the founding of the CBSS see Stålvant, C.-E., ‘Swedish Interest in the Baltic Sea’, pp. 399406Google Scholar, at 406; Popinski, R., ‘Poland’s Contribution to Baltic Cooperation’, pp. 434526Google Scholar, at 424, both in Platzöder, R. & Verlaan, P. (eds), The Baltic Sea: New Developments in National Policies and International Cooperation (Martinus Nijhoff, 1996)Google Scholar.

113 See, e.g., ‘Arctic Biodiversity’, UN Doc. No. UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/15/WG.2/CRP.2, 9 Nov. 2011, recalling the Resolution on Cooperation between the Secretariats of the CBD and the CAFF Working Group, one of several Arctic Council WG MOUs with treaty bodies.

114 Helsinki Convention, n. 45 above, Preamble.

115 N. 105 above.

116 Barcelona (Spain), 16 Feb. 1976, in force 12 Feb. 1978 (revised in Barcelona, 10 June 1995 as the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean) (Barcelona Convention), available at:; Milieu Ltd, ‘Analysis of Regional Sea Convention Needs Ensuring Better Coherence of Approaches under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Final Report’, 8 Nov. 2013, p. 24, available at:

117 Helsinki Convention, n. 45 above, Preamble.

118 N. 33 above; OSPAR Annex V, n. 85 above.

119 Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft, Oslo (Norway), 15 Feb. 1972, in force 7 Apr. 1974, available at:; Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Land-based Sources, Paris (France), 4 June 1974, in force 6 May 1978, available at:

120 OSPAR, HELCOM, the Antarctic Treaty System (n. 173 below) and the Tehran Convention (n. 104 above) are all independent RSAs with their own governing conventions and are not part of the UNEP RSP: see Baker, B. & Share, A., ‘Regional Seas, Environmental Protection’, in R. Wolfrum (ed.), Encyclopedia of Public International Law (Oxford University Press, last updated 2013)Google Scholar, available at:

121 The OSPAR Commission’s map of Region 1 (Arctic Waters) is available at:

122 Molenaar, n. 58 above, at p. 568.

123 AOR Final Report, n. 23 above, at p. 64.

124 OSPAR Commission, ‘The North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy. Strategy of the OSPAR Commission for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic 2010–2020’, Part 2.2 of Offshore Strategic Objectives, Art. 5.1.

125 Ibid., Art. 5.2.

126 See Yeager, n. 57 above; and Rosen, M. & Asfura-Heim, P., Addressing the Gaps in Arctic Governance (Hoover Institution, 2014) pp. 9, 40Google Scholar.

127 On OSPAR/HELCOM cooperation see n. 130 below. On MPAs in the Arctic generally see Lalonde, S., ‘Marine Protected Areas in the Arctic’, in Molenaar et al., n. 3 above, at pp. 85111Google Scholar.

128 See nn. 50 and 54 above, respectively regarding the Kiruna and Iqaluit Declarations and EBM.

129 ICES, background paper on the OSPAR/HELCOM biodiversity indicators project, available at:

130 See, e.g., HELCOM/VASAB, , OSPAR and ICES, ‘Report of the Joint HELCOM/VASAB, OSPAR and ICES Workshop on Multi-Disciplinary Case Studies of MSP’, Lisbon (Portugal), 24Google Scholar Nov. 2011, WKMCMSP Report 2011, available at:

131 Milieu, Ltd, n. 116 above, at p. 24Google Scholar.

132 Helsinki & OSPAR JMM, n. 103 above, Agenda item 6, JMM 2003/6-Rev.1-E, ‘Joint HELCOM/OSPAR Work Programme on Marine Protected Areas’.

133 N. 104 above.

134 Miles, E. et al. (eds), Environmental Regime Effectiveness, Confronting Theory with Evidence (The MIT Press, 2002)Google Scholar.

135 See Baker & Share, n. 120 above.

136 N. 104 above, Art. 2.

137 Ibid., Art. 14.

138 On monitoring and reporting provisions in other RSAs generally, see Baker & Share, n. 120 above.

139 N. 105 above.

140 On framework agreements generally, see Hey, E., ‘Sustainable Development, Normative Development and the Legitimacy of Decision-Making’ (2003) 34 Netherlands Yearbook of International Law, pp. 353CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 28–29.

141 The contracting parties to the Bucharest Convention are Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, the Russian Federation, Turkey, and Ukraine.

142 Hey, n. 140 above, at p. 29.

143 Bucharest Convention, n. 105 above, Art. 1,

144 Euroconsult, Mott MacDonald & Milieu Ltd, ‘Guidelines for the Establishment of Marine Protected Areas in the Black Sea’, version 3, Oct. 2008, updated Mar. 2009, p. 18, para. 2.22, available at:

145 On regional differences within the Arctic, see n. 12 above.

146 Bucharest Convention, n. 105 above, Art. XV(4). Other RSAs contain provisions on cooperation in monitoring but the provisions of Art. XV(4) are particularly well developed compared, e.g., with Art. 10(3) Barcelona Convention, n. 116 above, and with Art. 13 of the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region, Cartagena de Indias (Colombia), 24 Mar. 1983, in force 11 Oct. 1986, available at:

147 Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution & European Commission, ‘Support to the Black Sea Commission for the Implementation of the Marine Strategy – Final Report’, Grant Agreement No. 21.0401/2008/517948/SUB/D2, 2008, Section 2.2, p. 35, available at:

148 See, e.g., ‘Atlas of Community-based Monitoring and Traditional Knowledge in a Changing Arctic’, available at:

149 For an introduction to traditional knowledge and climate change research in the Alaskan Arctic, see Roche, D., Mengerink, K. & Diamond, J., Climate & Communities: Conducting Marine Research in a Changing Arctic (Environmental Law Institute/Alaska Eskimo Walrus Commission, 2014), pp. 810Google Scholar.

150 N. 116 above.

151 Milieu Ltd., n. 116 above, Executive Summary.

152 Arctic Council observers who are also ICES members: France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK. All ICES members: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and the US.

153 Singapore is the only Arctic Council observer state that is not an IASC member.

154 2013 Kiruna Declaration, n. 50 above, at p. 5.

156 ICES Convention, n. 35 above.

157 Tjossem, S., The Journey to PICES: Scientific Cooperation in the North Pacific (Alaska Sea Grant College Program, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2005), p. 10CrossRefGoogle Scholar and n. 35.

158 ICES, Implementing the ICES Strategic Plan 2014–2018: Linking Science, Advice, Data and Information, (ICES Secretariat, Aug. 2014), available at:

159 These institutions are referenced on the ICES website at:, and above (OSPAR n. 33, HELCOM n. 42, NEAFC n. 35). NASCO was established by the Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean, Reykjavik (Iceland), 2 Mar. 1982, in force 1 Oct. 1983, available at:

160 ICES Convention, n. 35 above.

161 Molenaar (n. 79 above, at note 71) adds that the two organizations convened the ‘PICES/ICES Workshop on Biological Consequences of a Decrease in Sea Ice in Arctic and Sub-Arctic Seas’ in May 2011, workshop report (Doc. ICES CM 2011/SSGHIE:14) available at: See also ICES Science Plan 2009–2013, p. 15, available at:; ICES/PICES Symposium on ‘Ecological Basis of Risk Analysis for Marine Ecosystems’, Porvoo (Finland), 2–4 June 2014, scientific justification available at:

162 Tjossem (n. 157 above) provides a detailed history of the founding of PICES and its early work.

163 IOC, n. 83 above, para. 431.

164 Tjossem, , n. 157 above, at p. 12Google Scholar.

165 IASC Founding Articles, n. 36 above.

166 See, under ‘Council Members’.

167 See Nilsson, A., ‘A Changing Arctic Climate: More than Just Weather’, in J. Shadian & M. Tennberg (eds), Legacies and Change in Polar Sciences: Historical, Legal and Political Reflections on the International Polar Year (Ashgate, 2009), pp. 932Google Scholar, at 21.

168 Rogne, O., ‘The International Arctic Science Committee’, in M. Nuttall (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Arctic (Routledge, 2012), pp. 983984Google Scholar, at 984.

169 ‘About PAG’, available at

170 Distributed Biological Observatory SAON Task Statement, ‘Improving International Collaboration, Data Sharing and Synthesis’, 17 Sept. 2012, para. 4, available at:

171 N. 35 above.

172 Miles, et al., n. 134 above, at p. 410Google Scholar.

173 Washington DC (US), 1 Dec. 1959, in force 23 June 1961, available at:

174 Miles et al., n. 134 above.

175 Ibid., at p. 409.

176 See Cordonnery, L., ‘Environmental Protection in Antarctica’ (1998) 29(2) Ocean Development and International Law, pp. 125146CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 125.

177 Graczyk, P. & Koivurova, T., ‘A New Era in the Arctic Council’s External Relations? Broader Consequences of the Nuuk Observer Rules for Arctic Governance’ (2013) 49(1) Polar Record, pp. 112Google Scholar, at 1. See also the Arctic Council criteria for admitting observers, available at:

178 See, e.g., NEAFC, ‘Non-Contracting Party Scheme’, PE 2006/06, Jan. 2007, available at:; and Kvalvik, I., ‘The North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission and the Implementation of Sustainability Principles: Lessons to be Learned?’, in Russell & VanderZwaag, n. 66 above, pp. 387417Google Scholar, at 396–7; and Molenaar, , n. 79 above, at p. 67Google Scholar.