Continental shelf delineation is an orderly and lengthy process prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that is being followed by coastal states all over the world, including by Arctic Ocean coastal states.
In addition to the joint scientific surveys undertaken with Denmark and the US, Canadian, Russian and Danish scientists have been meeting annually since 2007 to discuss issues related to the continental shelf. The most recent meeting, hosted by Denmark in Copenhagen in November 2011, included scientists and officials from all five Arctic Ocean coastal states. The US will host the next meeting in November 2012.
It is possible that some submarine features will be part of the continental shelf submissions of several states. For example, Canada’s submission to the Commission will include portions of the Lomonosov Ridge. The inclusion of portions of the Lomonosov Ridge in a Canadian submission does not preclude other states such as Russia or Denmark from including portions of the Lomonosov Ridge in their submission to the Commission. It is possible the continental shelves of Arctic Ocean coastal states may overlap but the extent and location of these overlaps is not yet known. Any overlaps will be resolved through discussions, negotiations and/or arbitration, in accordance with international law. All Arctic Ocean coastal states reaffirmed this commitment in the May 2008 Ilulissat Declaration.