Debates in the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC) continue this afternoon. Next to the need for a solution concerning the question wether the poles should be militarized or not, the area plays an important economic role not only for the U.S. For many economical reasons it is crucial for DISEC to find a legal framework to cover the issue of the poles and especially of the arctic.
This is based on the fact that the arctic is rich on several essential resources like oil, gas and mineral resources. Furthermore, during the summer period the Northwest Passage can be used as a cheap connection between Europe and Asia. In general, shipping in the arctic is a very important economic factor even if its actual impact is not clear to experts. Over 6ooo ships a year are in the arctic for tourism, transport and fishing.
According to estimates from a US geological Survey, 30% of the remaining world reserves of natural gas and 10% of the oil are located in the arctic. Hence it is not astonishing that the US, Russia, Canada and Norway are highly interested in mining resources in the arctic. Due to the financial crisis, US industries might focus more on on-shore development in North America and in locations where productions and transportation costs are lower. That means climate change is not the most important factor affecting short-term economic development, this dubitable honor belongs to prices and cost.
Although the DISEC is discussing about the militarization of the poles, the significant economic importance shouldn’t be disregared since it might play a crucial role in the US decision to ratify the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea from 1982. Until now, the delegation of the US is not not in favor of the suggested solutions and it does not look like there will be a likable draft resolution soon.