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Arctic, Arctic Governance, Canada, Environment, European Union, Climate Change


The objective of this paper is to examine (in a historical perspective) the roles of the European Union (EU) and Canada in governance and regulation of human activities in the Arctic Ocean. Section two describes the existing “tangled” nature of governance in the Arctic with a focus on law of the sea, approaches and challenges in the region, as well as on EU and Canadian participation in the activities of the Arctic Council. The “shifting seascape” in governance is next highlighted in section three with a review of increasing calls for change from scholars and other groups, recent governance initiatives from the United States and Arctic Ocean coastal states, and evolving EU and Canadian perspectives towards ocean governance. The paper concludes with section four, which surveys possible future directions for strengthening ocean governance in the Arctic, with the spectrum of options including, among others, expanding the spatial scopes of the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), established by the NEAFC Convention, and the OSPAR Commission, established by the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) Convention, and reform by means of an Implementing Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS).

Publication Abbreviation

J Transnational L & Pol'y