September 16, 2019
 In 2022-Arctic Circle Resource Exploitation

Country: Turkey
Delegate Name: Elleah Berger

Delegate: Elleah Berger
Country: Turkiye
Committee: SPECPOL
Topic: Arctic Circle Resource Exploitation

One of the coldest and most desolate places of the globe is also one of the most rich in land and undiscovered natural resources. The Arctic Circle contains as much as 30% of the world’s undiscovered natural gas, and 15% of the undiscovered oil. Before recent times the extraction of these resources would have been extremely difficult and costly, but scientific and technological developments have made the task easier and a goal of many countries. The Arctic 5, nations who hold territory in the arctic circle, and the Arctic States, from the Arctic Council, which has governing power over the Arctic circle. The Arctic 5 wish to harvest these resources and have laid claims to any resource deposits found in the future. The non-Arctic states, any countries that are not on the Arctic Council, have realized the benefits of this exploitation, but the Arctic 5 view this as a threat to their territory and resources. The exploitation of these resources could have significant environmental impacts and worsen the problem of global warming that has already taken such a toll on the Arctic. Furthermore, it is necessary to take into account the needs and desires of the Indigenous peoples of the arctic, whose lives have already been drastically affected by environmental changes to their home. As members of the UN it is imperative that we resolve this complex issue in a way that benefits the future of our globe, recognizes the Indigenous peoples, and is fair to all nations, whether they are of the Arctic 5 or not.

When debates over Antarctica took place decades ago many countries, including Turkiye, signed the Arctic Treaty right away, or soon after. This treaty only permits scientific studies and environmental protection in the Antarctic, it does not allow drilling for resources. The treaty has been successful in protecting and conserving the Antarctic, and helped inspire Turkiye to establish its own polar research center in 2015, the ITU Polar Research Center. Many trips and studies in the Arctic and Antarctic have led to Trukiye’s discovery of new species, including bacteria that reduce the harmful effects of pesticides, and algae that help heal wounds faster.

Turkiye sees the great potential for resources and scientific discovery in the Arctic, and wants to join the Svalbard Treaty, which grants Norway sovereignty over the Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard. It would also grant signing nations the right to engage in maritime, industrial mining, and commercial activities, and also permits scientific research and studies on the islands. Turkiye believes that countries that formally own parts of the Arctic should be able to do what they wish with those regions with respect to the Indigenous peoples of that region. Turkiye, however, believes that the regions of the Arctic not formally owned by any one country should not be exploited in order to limit the effects of global warming and conserve the land, but that countries still be allowed to travel through the Arctic for trade routes with UN oversight of the area. Turkiye has a great interest in the Arctic and hopes to make many more scientific discoveries and become a spectator member of the Arctic Council. Turkiye would like to collaborate with the other non-Arctic Nations to increase the influence of non-Arctic Nations in the Arctic Circle.

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