Denmark wants more of Arctic seabed

2014-12-16 15:55

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Copenhagen - Seeking to demarcate its territory in light of increasing Arctic exploration, Denmark requested formal recognition on Monday from the United Nations for an extended area of continental shelf.

In a move likely to stir disagreements with other Arctic coastal states - Canada, Norway, Russia and the United States - which have made their own claims to some of the same underwater areas, the Danish mission to the UN told dpa that it had submitted a proposal to a UN body in New York.

"The objective of this huge project is to define the outer limits of our continental shelf and thereby - ultimately - of the Kingdom of Denmark," Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said.

Denmark's proposal covers a 895 541km2 area in the Arctic, 370km from the northern coast of Greenland, and includes seabed under the North Pole.

Copenhagen said the joint submission with Greenland - which has a high degree of autonomy within Denmark - is to be filed with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), a UN body that helps implement the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Lidegaard said he did not know when the CLCS would consider the submission. When the UN commission issues a recommendation, the coastline states will likely have to negotiate bilateral delimitation agreements.

Emerging race

Environmental activist group Greenpeace said it was concerned over an emerging race to exploit potential untapped natural gas and oil reserves in the Arctic as the burning of fossil fuel drives global warming.

Christian Marcussen, who helped conduct the geological survey for Denmark's submission, told news agency Ritzau that major finds of oil and gas in the area are unlikely, and would be very expensive to exploit.

Since 2002 Denmark has collected data about the continental shelf north of Greenland. In 2004, Denmark ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea that regulates resource exploitation under the seabed.

Denmark made earlier claims to the continental shelf in areas around the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic and other sections off Greenland.

In August 2007, Russia placed its flag on the seabed under the North Pole.

Read more on:    un  |  denmark  |  environment  |  climate change

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