September 16, 2019
 In Arctic Circle Resource Exploitation

Country: Egypt
Delegate Name: Abigail Huffman

Special Political Committee
Arctic Circle Resource Exploitation
The Arab Republic of Egypt
Abigail Huffman
Forest Hills Eastern

Recently, countries and corporations across the globe have been intent on Arctic exploration in order to exploit the region for its resources. Rich in assets such as oil, gasses, and rare earth metals, the Arctic is a prime area for excessive exploitation. In fact, the US Geological Survey has reason to believe that 25% of the world’s oil reserves call the Arctic home. However, the Arctic has already seen catastrophic effects on its atmosphere due to the extraction of oil and gas occurring there. Specifically, pollutants released amid oil and gas exploration undertakings (such as gas flaring) have expedited the warming of the Arctic climate, which harms all life in the ecosystem, including the lives of at least five million people. A large majority of the arctic is water, and the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) supplies governance for this part of the region. UNCLOS is preventing open water beyond 350 miles off of the coast of an Arctic 5 country (US, Russia, Norway, Denmark, and Canada) from being exploited, which allows that area to stay intact from potentially irrevocable change. Additionally, the Arctic Council was established in 1997 in order to serve as the governing body for the Arctic. The council consists of fourteen total members. Eight are the nations of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, and the U.S. While the remaining six serve as permanent participants: Aleut International Association, Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC), Gwich’in Council International (GCI), Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), Russian Arctic Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) and Saami Council). These participants represent the Arctic’s indigenous people.

As a consequence of Egypt’s location, its involvement in Arctic affairs is relatively limited. Especially as they do not exceptionally benefit economically from the continuation or termination of Arctic exploitation. However, it is reasonable to assume that Egypt would encourage more regulation regarding Arctic resource exploitation, particularly pertaining to oil extraction and trade stemming from the region. Oil is a large industry of international trade in Egypt, as the country is twenty-seventh in the world in oil production and the twenty-sixth largest exporter of crude petroleum. In total, the nation exports 25% of its produced oil. The major countries that receive crude petroleum from Egypt are India, Italy, Germany, Greece, and China. Unfortunately for Egypt, arctic nations like Russia and Norway also export oil to many of these countries, making them direct competitors. These countries’ main source of oil is from oil fields and reserves located in the Arctic. If these countries were not allowed such unrestricted use of Arctic oil and other resources, it would increase economic opportunities not only for Egypt but countries globally as well. It is necessary to mention the environmental threats that extreme utilization of arctic resources poses to the planet. Egypt, as a member of the Paris Climate Agreement, is working towards limiting global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. If this is successful, approximately 2 million square km of the total area of permafrost in the arctic could be saved. Nonetheless, this is only possible if pronounced action is taken to limit the degree of Arctic exploitation.

The exploitation of arctic resources is evidently affecting the planet environmentally and economically. Therefore, the Arab Republic of Egypt would support a possible solution to limit the number of resources that can be extracted from the Arctic. This would allow the global climate, Arctic indigenous people, and the international oil market to be prosperous. However, as this issue is not of the utmost priority, and in an effort to maintain cohesion between allies, Egypt retains a comparatively neutral position.

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