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Arctic Strategies and Policies: an overview

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1 Arctic Strategies and Policies: an overview
Dr. Lassi Heininen University of Lapland, Finland Northern Research Forum 1


3 The early-21st century Arctic
A peaceful region with high stability based on a wide intergovernmental and regional cooperation No conflicts, but disputes on maritime borders and asymmetric environmental conflicts Major challenges e.g. climate change and long-range air and water pollution, and globalization Legally and politically divided by national borders and internal waters (of the Arctic states) Major military structures (nuclear weapon systems) and capability for national defence are still there Importance of national interests

4 The early-21st century Arctic continues..
A significant multifunctional - environmental, geoeconomic and geopolitical - change has occurred E.g. growing global interest toward the region and its rich natural resources E.g. a manifold growth in the geo-strategic importance of the region Among indicators of the change climate change, energy security, sovereignty (Ilulissat meeting), globalization This is taken as a reality, threat or challenge


6 The Arctic States The role and position of the Arctic states was changed due to the first geopolitical change – the A8+ was defined The five littoral states with their ministerial ad hoc meetings – the A5 was defined - and the Arctic redefined? A state still the most important actor in the Arctic, but .. .. there are new actors (with their interests) and challenges as well as threats The states emphasize the importance of the AC but have their own interests, agendas, priorities and policies An example of this is that the states have recently accepted their arctic/northern strategy/policy --- The post-Cold War period is over!?

7 Canada The Northern Strategy ´Our North, Our Heritage, Our Future´ (July 2009) (first of all) for domestic policy and audience Followed by ´Statement on Canada´s Arctic Foreign Policy´ (August 2010) to promote the Strategy and serve “Government´s Arctic foreign policy” Priority areas of the Strategy are: Exercising Canada’s Arctic sovereignty Promoting social & economic development Protecting the North´s environmental heritage Improving and devolving Northern governance 7

8 Interesting findings The North is central to Canada´s national identity, and said to be “first about people”, but peoples are not among the priorities Canada´s Arctic (maritime) sovereignty is the “...number one Arctic Foreign Policy Priority”, and sovereignty over its Arctic lands and waters is “undisputed” Canada will continue to be a global leader in Arctic science Economic develop as high priority and shall include indigenous participation in relevant processes The Strategy reflects a vision about, and for, the North in the context of the entire country 8

9 Kingdom of Denmark Join draft strategy of Denmark and Greenland (May 2008) with the twofold goal - to support and strengthen Greenland's development towards increased autonomy - to maintain the Kingdom's position as a major player in the Arctic Kingdom of Denmark’s Strategy for the Arctic (August 2011) Its strategic priority is to maintain a peaceful, secure and safe Arctic - with self-sustaining growth and development - with respect for the Arctic’s fragile climate, environment and nature - in close cooperation with international partners 9

10 Interesting findings The (first) joint strategy by Denmark and Greenland indicates and emphasizes Greenland’s stronger self-government and its new jurisdictional position The final strategy also covers the Faroe Islands and aims “to strengthen the Kingdom’s status as global player in the Arctic” Has a world-wide, global perspective Great emphasis on (new) industrial activities, such as fisheries, hydropower, mining, tourism and oil exploration, and tries to attract industries to come and invest Identification of connection between climate change and increases accessibility for exploration Importance of the Ilulissat “Polar Sea Conference” Criticism of the AC as having been “unable to play so prominent role on sustainable development in the Arctic” 10

11 Finland ‘Strategy for the Arctic Region’, adopted by Finish Cabinet Committee on European Union (June 2010) The main substantial sectors of the Strategy: The environment Economic activities and know-how Transportation and infrastructure Indigenous peoples Plus, a list of means for to reach these Arctic policy goals, and a chapter on the EU and the Arctic region 11

12 Interesting findings Comprehensive and with wide perspective
Emphasizes the Arctic as a stable and peaceful area Recognizes the special features and risks of the fragile arctic ecosystem; supports research as a basis for decision-making Highest priorities of the Strategy appear to be economic interests, such as marine traffic and infrastructure --- Is there a contradiction? Supports indigenous participation in international cooperation (no ratification of ILO 169 Convention) Emphasizes the importance of the multilateral northern cooperation, and supports the AC as the main forum.. .. and the role (and importance) of the EU in the Arctic region 12

13 Iceland ‘Iceland in the High North’ by the Icelandic MFA (September 2009) with six highlights: International cooperation Security through international cooperation Resource development and environ protection Transportation People and cultures International coop on research and monitoring ‘Parliamentary Resolution on Iceland’s Arctic Policy’ approved by the Parliament (March 2011) with twelve principles 13

14 Interesting findings No emphasis on sovereignty, but rather on international, multilateral and regional cooperation Stability and security as well as maritime safety through international and scientific cooperation Emphasis on the importance of resource development, incl. renewable energy and fishing industry; less emphasis on environmental protection One of the principles asks “to prevent human-induced climate change and its effects” Visions and strong expectations of global trans-arctic shipping routes, and aviation – a potential trans-shipment hub Emphasis on inter coop on research and higher education Iceland located “entirely within the Arctic region” and thus is included the Arctic Ocean – “to side firmly against the so-called five (litoral) states meeting” 14

15 Norway ’The Norwegian Government`s High North Strategy’ (December 2006) and its follow-up strategy ’New Building Blocks in the North’ (March 2009) Seven revised strategic priorities of Norway’s Strategy: to develop knowledge about climate change and the environment to improve monitoring, emergency response and maritime safety in northern waters to promote sustainable use of off-shore petroleum and renewable marine resources to promote off-shore business development in the North to further-develop the infrastructure in the North to continue to exercise sovereignty firmly and strengthen cross-border cooperation (with Russia) in the North to safeguard the cultures and livelihoods of indigenous peoples 15

16 Interesting findings Unusally comprehensive and integrated into long-term Norwegian policy in the North – growing recognition of its importance for Norway The follow-up strategy: the High North as one of the most important priorities of the Norwegian Government The term ‘the High North’ is used (stubbornly) as a broad concept The Strategy is built on the perception that the main feature of the arctic geopolitics is stability and peaceful cooperation, not a ‘race’ Concrete proposals for the building of a partnership with Russia in the BEAR and a strong call for active engagement of Russian cooperation Consequently, Norway defines the importance of regional coop and business development in foreign and security policy in terms of comprehensive security, economic growth and knowledge-building The High North is a “new petroleum province” and Norway “the best steward of resources” – strong emphasis on management and utilisation of marine resources, in cooperation with Russia Identifies both energy and climate change as security issues Emphasis on strengthening Norwegian state sovereignty in the High North 16

17 Russia ‘The Fundamentals of State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic in the Period up to 2020 and Beyond’ adopted by President D. Medvedev (September 2008) The strategy priorities are: active interaction of Russia with sub-Arctic states in regards to delimitation of maritime areas on the basis of international law and mutual arrangements creating a uniform Arctic search and rescue regime strengthening of bilateral relationships within regional organizations (AC and BEAC) assistance in management and effective use of cross-polar air routes and the NSR for international navigation contributions to international Arctic forums through the Russia-EU partnerships delimitation of maritime spaces in the Arctic Ocean and maintenance of a mutually advantageous presence of Russia in the Spitsbergen archipelago improvement of state management of the social and economic development improvement of the quality of life for indigenous peoples development of the Arctic resource base through improved technology modernization and development of Russia’s Arctic infrastructure 17

18 Interesting findings Comprehensive state policy for Russia´s Arctic zone and the entire region Reflects the basic national interest: using the Arctic resources as strategic resource base providing a solution to problems of social and economic development maintaining the region as a “zone of peace and cooperation” as well as “the sphere of military security” preserving unique ecological systems using the NSR as a national single transport communication of Russia in the Arctic This new Arctic state policy is keenly linked with and supported by other federal policies and strategies It is possible to interpret the Policy as a pragmatic means for domestic politics and development of the Federation, esp. in terms of Russia´s infrastructural challenges 18

19 Sweden ‘Sweden’s Strategy for policy in the Arctic Region’ (Sveriges strategi för den arktiska regionen), adopted by the Swedish Government (May 2011) The three areas, which are defined as the priorities: - Climate and the environment - Economic development - The human dimension

20 Interesting findings Adopted and launched at the same day, when Sweden started its chairmanship of the AC Shows, even emphasizes, many ties which connect, have connected, Sweden to the Arctic Among the three priorities economic development and interests, such as mining, petroleum, tourism, is the most rich and multifunctional, even some sort of top, priority of the Strategy Also climate and the environment, and ‘resilience’ The Strategy also clearly states that multilateral cooperation in, and dealing with, the Arctic is the main priority for Sweden - this is much along the tradition of Sweden’s foreign policy

21 The United States The US ’Arctic Region Policy’ by the President Bush’s Administration (January 2009) Interpreted objectives of the United States’ Arctic Policy: National security and homeland security interests in the Arctic International governance, largely through the AC Boundary issues including extended continental shelf Promotion of international scientific cooperation Maritime transportation (incl. maritime safety and environmental protection) Economic development, particularly energy Environmental protection and conservation 21

22 Interesting findings Strong emphasis of national and homeland security and borders, for “to project sea power throughout the region” Supports and proposes the US ratification of the Law of the Sea Convention High priority to international governance in the context of the AC, as well as continued cooperation with other countries High priority to scientific research, esp. international scientific cooperation, and the White House takes the responsibility The US shall continue to cooperate on Arctic issues through the UN and its agencies as well as int. treaties (e.g. UNFCCC) the USA is identified as “an Arctic nation, with varied and compelling interests in that region” 22

23 European Union The European Union’s ‘Commission’s Communication on the Arctic Region’ was launched in November 2008 It was followed by the European Council’s Conclusions on Arctic issues (March and December 2009) The main policy objectives of the Communication are: Protecting and preserving the Arctic environment and its population Promoting sustainable use of resources Contributing to enhanced Arctic multilateral governance 23

24 Interesting findings The main message is that the Union has growing interest in the High North and would like to become (again) present in, and implement its interests within, the region Indications that the EU is going to create its own arctic policy, and this is done via this ‘emerging’ policy The three main policy objectives indicate that the EU would like to emphasize its ‘soft’ values and policy in the region These can be interpreted to represent EU’s new geopolitical discourse with an aim to enter the North for to control The ND policy plays a weak role in the Communication The EU is seen as “inextricably linked to the Arctic region”: this is perceived as weakening the Union – there is real need for strengthening the Union’s position and presence there 24

25 The Arctic / the North defined by each strategy
Canada: “Own North” is Canada’s far North, and “Canada’s North is about people” Denmark: “The Arctic in recent years become a central location on the world map” Finland: Can be defined by several ways (e.g. the Arctic Circle) Iceland: The country is located “on the periphery of the Arctic in the center of the North Atlantic Ocean” Norway: Means more or less the Barents Sea region, and “the High North has been placed firmly on the map of Europe” Russia: Is defined as consisting of the five littoral states of the Arctic Ocean Sweden: There are several definitions of the Arctic USA: The Arctic is with ”a matrix of issues” 25

26 Self-identification and (re)definition as an Arctic / Northern country / state
Canada: “the global leader in Arctic science; “The North is central to the Canadian national identity” Denmark: “to strengthen the Kingdom’s status as global player in the Arctic” Finland: as an “Arctic country is a natural actor in the Arctic region” Iceland: “the only country located entirely within the Arctic region” Norway: “the High North is gradually becoming more synonymous with the Arctic”…“a Norwegian perspective” Russia: to “maintain the role of a leading Arctic power” Sweden: “there are many connections to tie Sweden to the Arctic” USA: an “Arctic nation” 26

27 Arctic states: main priorities / objectives
Sov/S Econ/ Trans Envir Gov Peo/ Scien Can x x+x x x x Den x x+x x x/x Fin /x x+x x x x /x x Ice /x x x x x+x x x Nor x x+x x x+x /x x Rus x x+x x x+x /x x Swe x x x x/x USA x x x x x x (Heininen, Arctic Strategies and Policies: Inventory and Comparative Study, 2011)

28 Arctic states: summary of the priorities
- Sovereignty and national defence: Five littoral states - Comprehensive security: Finland, Iceland, Sweden - Economic development: All the strategies - Regional development and infra: Most of the strategies - Transportation: Finland, Iceland, Russia, USA -- Aviation: Iceland and Russia - Environment: Almost all the strategies - Governance: All the strategies -- Safety/Rescue: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia Peoples/Indigenous peoples: Most of the strategies Science/Scientific coop: Most of the strategies

29 Reflection/response to the change(s)
Canada: yes Kingdom of Denmark: yes and no (self-governing) Finland: yes Iceland: yes Norway: not really (Russia) Russia: no (pragmatic means for domestic policy) Sweden: yes USA: yes -- Global perspective: Denmark and Finland


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