Can we save the Arctic?

Can we save the Arctic?

Erin Klassen

The international Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary Treaty (MAPS) aims to create the world's largest marine protected area and has received the first of the 99 signatures it needs to enter into force. The Hon. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa put pen to paper with hope other nations will follow suit.

Currently, much of the Arctic Ocean is unprotected under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which gives coastal states full authority to exploit all natural resources within 200 nautical miles or more from their coastlines.

The MAPS Treaty is an addendum to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) that protects all Arctic Ocean waters north of the Arctic Circle in order to prevent extreme weather, natural disasters, food shortages and rising sea levels around the world.It has has been translated into all official UN languages, provided to all 193 UN member states, and shared with officials at COP21, COP22, COP23 and UNGA 72 (United Nations General Assembly).

Norway and Russia are also actively exploring the arctic region. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) estimates that Norway's part of the Barents Sea holds nearly two thirds of the Nordic nation's yet-to-be discovered offshore resources. Estimates in the northern area of the Barents Sea, which is not yet open for exploration and the government is expected to submit a resource management plan to parliament in 2020. (

At the start of 2018, the US Interior Department announced that it wants to allow drilling in nearly all U.S. waters, the single largest expansion of offshore oil and gas leasing ever proposed by the federal government. The areas included are in the Pacific Ocean, the eastern Gulf of Mexico, along the Eastern Seaboard as well as more than 100 million acres in the Arctic. (

Leading biologist Dr. E. O. Wilson calls for 50% of the Earth to become conservation areas to prevent mass extinction and globally respected scientific luminaries such as Dr. Jane Goodall and Dr. Sylvia Earle have endorsed the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary treaty.

"Humans have the most highly developed intellect of any species yet in the name of progress we are exploiting the natural resources of our planet and destroying the complex web of life with no thought for future generations. The oceans are not only rich in biodiversity, but also play a major role in regulating temperatures: we continue harming and polluting them at our peril. It is thus hugely important to establish the proposed Sanctuary for preserving the unique Arctic flora and fauna and thus helping to slow down climate change at this critical time." - Dr. Jane Goodall

"MAPS is an idea whose time has come." - Dr. Sylvia Earle

MAPS is led by the team at who are all volunteers at the non-profit organisation. They are urging citizens of all nations to call on their governments to ratify the MAPS treaty.

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