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Minister Lunn Visits Canadian Scientists in Far North: Research Supports Canada’s Claim to Arctic Sovereignty
Natural Resources Canada
April 17, 2008
NUNAVUT – The Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, announced during a trip to Canada’s most northerly community that our scientists are successfully building the case for Canada to assert its sovereignty over portions of the Polar Continental Shelf.The Minister made the announcement while 600 kilometres north of Grise Fjord, Nunavut. The Canadian researchers on site are collecting geological data of this continental shelf in question, which extends beyond the currently recognized limit of 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres).
“The need to assert our sovereignty and take action to protect our territorial integrity in the Arctic has never been more important, which is why our government is proud that these researchers have been steadfastly collecting the evidence that will ultimately win our case,” said Minister Lunn. “Our commitment to this initiative, as well as other investments in the North, is ultimately about turning potential into prosperity for this remarkable region and for our country as a whole.”
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) confirms the sovereign rights of coastal states over the continental shelf for exploration and the use of natural resources within 200 nautical miles. In cases where the continental shelf extends beyond 200 nautical miles, UNCLOS allows a coastal state to demonstrate the shelf’s outer limits using scientific criteria. Canada has until 2013 to submit proof of the extent of its continental shelf to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
Three federal departments, Natural Resources, Fisheries and Oceans, and Foreign Affairs and International Trade, are working together to develop Canada’s case. Canada’s extended continental shelf in both the Arctic and Atlantic oceans covers 1.75 million square kilometres – an area about the size of the Prairie provinces.
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