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pp 1-23 | Cite as

Natural Resources and the Arctic

  • Fernando Loureiro BastosEmail author
Chapter
Part of the European Yearbook of International Economic Law book series

Abstract

The Arctic is not governed by any particular rules of international law. Over the past two decades, through the Arctic Council, the five Arctic Ocean coastal States, together with Finland, Iceland and Sweden, have been playing a decisive and innovative role in the management of Arctic affairs. The Arctic is inhabited by four million people, with indigenous communities estimated at about one-tenth of the total population. The international legal regime of the various regions of the Arctic varies, depending on whether the regime applies to land covered by ice or to frozen waters that can be regulated by the international regimes of the various maritime spaces provided for by the International Law of the Sea. Although the exploitation of natural resources in the Arctic is still, in many cases, merely potential, the possibility of this happening in the near future is a consequence of climate change. Probably the most obvious facet of the consequences of climate change in the Arctic has been the increased navigation routes in the region. The natural resources that can be economically exploited in the Arctic can be divided into two categories: living natural resources (fish) and non-living natural resources (includes non-renewable resources such as oil, natural gas, minerals, and aggregates). The economic exploitation of natural resources in the Arctic is currently heavily constrained by rules of environmental law, both the domestic laws of the Arctic States and also as a result of the application of the existing international law in this field.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Law, University of Lisbon, Centro de Investigação de Direito PúblicoLisbonPortugal

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