Ekaterina Salugina-Sorokovaya outlined the important aspects of global changes in the Arctic

Nowadays regulation in the Arctic already exists: both on international and national levels. Moreover, there are various kinds of soft law documents, including corporate strategies. Nevertheless, new climate conditions require new management approaches. Ekaterina Salugina-Sorokovaya, General Director of the International and Comparative Law Research Center, told about this during the session “Women’s Dialogue on Developing the Arctic” at the Eurasian Women’s Forum.

According to her, global changes in the Arctic raise difficult questions about the application of existing legal standards to new conditions. “For example, Article 234 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea provides coastal States special rights to establish requirements for the protection of the marine environment in ice-covered areas within their exclusive economic zone. It is clear that in the short term those areas may lose that status. The question arises as to whether there will be a need to revise the established rules. This issue could be considered as a topic of discussion,” Ekaterina Salugina-Sorokovaya noted.

The sea-level rise which will lead to shifting coastlines is the next challenge presented by the expert. “Once the change has taken place, how will the maritime spaces be measured: the territorial sea, exclusive economic zone, continental shelf? How to deal with the disappearing islands and the maritime spaces around them? There is a worldwide expert discussion on this topic, particularly in the International Law Commission. However, we should admit that these discussions are far from conclusion,” Ekaterina Salugina-Sorokovaya told.

She also touched upon the issue of developing new rules of conduct. According to her, climate change is not only a threat but also an opportunity. “At the same time, the world community is actively talking about the preservation of the Arctic, it is suggested that almost all activities should be ceased because any human involvement accelerates the processes that the entire world community is trying to slow down,” the General Director of the International and Comparative Law Research Center stressed. To summarize the above-mentioned, Ekaterina Salugina-Sorokovaya once again drew attention to the relevance of the use of soft law mechanisms: “It seems to me that this mechanism should be actively used, because international norms require a long process for their adoption, and the institutions of soft law could react to the changes very quickly.”