Denmark moves forward on North Pole claim

August 22, 2011
View of an Arctic fjord. Denmark presented its "Arctic Strategy" for the next decade, confirming that it intends to lay claim to the North Pole sea bed by 2014 at the latest.

Denmark on Monday presented its "Arctic Strategy" for the next decade, confirming that it intends to lay claim to the North Pole sea bed by 2014 at the latest.

The 58-page report said Denmark and its autonomous territories of Greenland and the Faroe Islands had agreed on a common strategy for the region, including producing "documentation for claims to three areas around Greenland, including an area north of Greenland which among other areas covers the ."

That claim, which the report said would be made in 2014 at the latest, could put the Scandinavian country on a collision course with Russia, the United States, Canada and Norway.

The five countries all have claims in the region, where melting and new technologies have made the "high north" easier to access and fueled competition for untapped oil and .

Foreign Minister Lene Espersen had hinted in May that Denmark would detail its own claim to the there in its upcoming strategy report, insisting though that "the North Pole is not a goal in itself."

On Monday however, she focused on the importance of sustainable development in the region, stressing the plan was "necessary at a time when there are major changes in the Arctic, not least as a result of and ."

Denmark's "Arctic Strategy 2011-2020" was "designed to ensure the sustainable development of the Arctic with full respect for nature and the environment," Espersen said in a statement, insisting that Denmark was intent on working "in close cooperation with our international partners."

Under the 2008 Ilulisaat Declaration, the five Arctic coastal states agreed to negotiated settlements to claims in the , which along with the Antarctic is one of the last areas on earth where sovereignty has not been fully apportioned.

"The increased strategic interest and activity in the Arctic regions requires... a well-functioning framework of international law to ensure peaceful coexistence," the report said.

The Arctic seabed is thought to hold about 90 billion barrels of oil and 30 percent of the world's undiscovered gas resources, according to the US Geological Survey.

The North Pole seabed itself is however not believed to hold large reserves, but appears to hold symbolic value for the countries in the region.

In 2007 for instance, a Russian mini-submarine reached the bottom of the Arctic Ocean under the North Pole and planted a Russian flag, and Canada is also expected to make a claim in the area.

Countries bordering the Arctic are currently entitled to a 200 nautical mile economic zone from their coastlines, but claims for extending their territories will be decided under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

UNCLOS requires countries laying new claims to present them within 10 years of ratifying the convention, something Denmark did in 2004.

Explore further: Russia to boost Arctic research efforts

Related Stories

Russia to boost Arctic research efforts

September 20, 2010

(AP) -- The Kremlin's pointman for the Arctic says Russia is boosting its research efforts to support its claims for parts of the Arctic continental shelf.

Russia bids to expand Arctic border to seek gas

July 6, 2011

Russia will submit a claim to the United Nations to expand its Arctic borders, a top official said Wednesday, as scientists embarked on a new expedition to prove its ownership of energy-rich territory.

Natural gas in the Arctic is mostly Russian

May 29, 2009

(AP) -- Nearly one-third of the natural gas yet to be discovered in the world is north of the Arctic Circle and most of it is in Russian territory, according to a new analysis led by researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey.

Russia's Arctic holds 100 Bln tons of oil, gas

September 21, 2010

(AP) -- Russia's Arctic territories are estimated to contain up to 100 billion tons of oil and gas and the nation needs to defend its claim to those riches, a Cabinet minister said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Arctic wintertime sea ice extent is among lowest on record

March 23, 2018

Sea ice in the Arctic grew to its annual maximum extent last week, and joined 2015, 2016 and 2017 as the four lowest maximum extents on record, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center ...

Germany was covered by glaciers 450,000 years ago

March 23, 2018

The timing of the Middle Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles and the feedback mechanisms between climatic shifts and earth-surface processes are still poorly understood. This is largely due to the fact that chronological ...

Wood pellets: Renewable, but not carbon neutral

March 22, 2018

A return to firewood is bad for forests and the climate. So reports William Schlesinger, President Emeritus of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, in an Insights article published today in the journal Science.

The tradeoffs inherent in earthquake early warning systems

March 22, 2018

A team of researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey and the California Institute of Technology has found that modern earthquake early warning (EEW) systems require those interpreting their messages to take into consideration ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

4 / 5 (4) Aug 22, 2011
It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say:
We invaded you last nightwe are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away.

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That youve only to pay em the Dane-geld
And then youll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say:
Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But weve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say:

We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 22, 2011
and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!
1 / 5 (3) Aug 22, 2011
90 billion barrels.

That ought to supply the world for, oh, 4.5 years...maybe just 4 years if you count population growth and increased demand in developing nations.

At least it won't be coming from muslims.
5 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2011
I thought santy claus owns this??
3 / 5 (2) Aug 22, 2011
and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!

It all adds up, but don't pay the Dane geld..
3 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2011
Fortunately they have a navy which consists of a dinghy and two row boats, claiming it is one thing, enforcing the claim another.
3 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2011
the uss nautilus raised the american flag at the north pole in the sixties. also the pole was first reached by an American, admiral Byrd
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 22, 2011
The British Top Gear guys drove to the pole in Japanese cars does that count for anything?
not rated yet Aug 23, 2011
IT is absolutely crazy and finally indiscutable that, nowadays, some countries think the have tha right to claim tenure for a region just because of geografical issues.

Think about the following: Now it is "no man's land" - it belongs to no one or to all people and nations.

Why not let the UN administer this lressources (region), sell rights and use the money for humanitary tasks instead of pure money making greed of privatly held companies and nations.
not rated yet Aug 25, 2011
the uss nautilus raised the american flag at the north pole in the sixties. also the pole was first reached by an American, admiral Byrd

The Nautilus passed across the north pole but didn't stop so, no they didn't raise the flag there.

From wiki...
" the first confirmed surface conquest of the North Pole was that of Ralph Plaisted, Walt Pederson, Gerry Pitzl and Jean Luc Bombardier, who traveled over the ice by snowmobile and arrived on April 19, 1968. The United States Air Force independently confirmed their position." This was the first across ice journey to the pole.

The first people at the pole were in fact Russians who landed a plane there in 1948. Some dispute this and say that the US were the first to land there in 1952 but it is generally accepted that the Russians were first.
Admiral Byrd flew over the Pole in 1926 but didn't stop off to admire the view.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.