Russian Professor Alexander Sergunin. (Photo: Pernille Ingebrigtsen/Arctic Frontiers)
Professor Alexander Sergunin participated at the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø in January, and will be one of the speakers at High North Dialogue 2015, Bodø, in a few weeks. (Photo: Pernille Ingebrigtsen/Arctic Frontiers 2015)

– Danish Arctic Continental Shelf Claim Lack Proof

Russian Professor Alexander Sergunin says Denmark’s claim to the UN Commission on the continental shelf seems to lack sufficient geological and geophysical proof that justifies the country’s claim. 

This, he says, is a mistake that has also been made by Russia, in its first submission in 2001.

In a podcast-interview with The Arctic Institute (TAI), who is partnering with High North News, the Professor in the Departement of International Relations at St. Petersburg State University is highly critical about Denmark’s most recent submission to the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), concerning an extended continental shelf that partly covers the central Arctic Ocean.

On December 15, Denmark/Greenland delivered its claim of over 400.000 square kilometers seabed north of Greenland and the North Pole to the UN.

The claim collides with both Canadian and Russian interests. 

Russia is expected to finalize its claim within a few months, and the new submission is reportedly based on more scientific research.


Don’t leave Denmark much hope

– Denmark did it without that kind of detailed investigations, like Russia did over the last several years. So I guess the chances for the approval of the Danish application is not very good, not very high. My impression is that Denmark repeats the same mistakes like Russia did it in 2001, I mean, the legal experts said that the chances are not very good, Sergunin says.

– I guess Russia has a much more balanced approach with this problem, because actually; what are we talking about? We are talking about the extension of the continental shelf, extending over 200 nautical miles, which already every Arctic country has, this 200 nautical miles maritime territory and the seabed, the Professor continues.


Works on several projects 

Alexander Sergunin has published numerous publications on regionalism, foreign and security policy, EU-Russia relations and Russian Arctic policy. He currently works on a research project entitled “EU and Russia: Two Competing ‘Soft Power’ Projects in the Baltic Sea Region”. In just a few weeks he will participate at the High North Dialogue conference, to be held in Bodø March 17-19.

TAI, who assists the High North Center in organizing the conference, is conducting a series of podcast interviews with speakers attending the conference.

Michal Byers, Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law, University of British Columbia, Canada, was the first one out. Kristin Halvorsen, former Finance Minister of Norway, and now Director of CICERO (Center for International Climate and Environmental Research), was the second one in line, and Sergunin number three. You cand find all the podcasts here.

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