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Political Framework of Cooperation in the Arctic Region.

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Presentation on theme: "Political Framework of Cooperation in the Arctic Region."— Presentation transcript:

1 Political Framework of Cooperation in the Arctic Region

2 Key questions: 1.The Arctic region under transition 2.Future scenarios for Northern Europe, Arctic region and Russia

3 The Arctic region under transition Arctic region is still under construction. In a narrow context, it consists of 5 polar countries (the Arctic-5 group). In a broader context, it unites 8 countries of the Arctic Council (AC) plus other interested participants – EU, NATO.

4 The Arctic region under transition We can also include the third interested group of countries – China, Japan, United Kingdom, etc. But the main players are USA, Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark.

5 The Arctic region under transition The Arctic region has become subject to territorial disputes of the littoral states, the majority of which are members of the Northern Dimension initiative, including the Russian Federation. However, only a part of the enormous Arctic space is institutionally covered by the Northern Dimension networks, with the US and Canada pursuing their own Arctic strategies.

6 The role of the Arctic Council The political role of the Arctic Council is rather small. It does not pretend to solve urgent political issues or to address territorial disputes. At the same time the Arctic Council has a strong position in question like nature protection, rights of indigenous people, etc.

7 The Arctic-5 group The political role of the Arctic-5 group is stronger, but it still does not have a formal status. In spring 2008 Greenland hosted the first international conference of the polar states – the US, Russia, Canada, Norway and Denmark. The participants agreed to consider the region a vulnerable ecological area, but did not find a common ground on territorial issues.

8 The Arctic-5 group They sighed in 2008 the Ilulissat Declaration, which states that international law and the Law of the Sea is the foundation for relations in the region. In 2010 the 5 Arctic states met again in Chelsea (Canada), to find a balance between economical and ecological interests.

9 The Arctic region under transition The main problem of the Arctic region – there is no fundamental international agreement on the Arctic region. Meanwhile, the current Arctic race raises a question of a future model of interaction on the huge Arctic space, its border delimitation, juridical status, etc. The major obstacles – different approaches of polar states towards the Arctic region, the clash of their respective interests, and the lack of mutual confidence as well.

10 The Arctic region under transition The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982) is widely recognized by the majority of polar states (with the exception of the USA). As a result, the polar states prefer to act individually, without a regional consensus. They also prefer to stress the importance of the Arctic region in terms of national security Politization of problems Militarization of the region Revival of cold war perceptions

11 The Arctic region under transition However, good news is that some polar states recently signed bilateral agreements (Canada- Denmark, Russia-Norway). In April 2010 Russia and Norway signed an agreement on border delimitation in the Barents Sea.

12 The Arctic region under transition The problems of the Arctic region require a certain “desecuritization”. The term “desecuritization” refers to the experts from the Copenhagen school of international relations (Barry Buzan, Ole Waever). Only if interested states stop to regard every issue of the Arctic agenda a security issue, they can succeed in establishing a multilateral dialog on Arctic issues.

13 The Arctic region under transition The Arctic region has a considerable potential of crude hydrocarbons: oil (about 7% of world reserves) and gas (about 26% of world reserves). At the same time, the Arctic ice is melting faster than expected before (40% during a period from 1970 till 2007).

14 The Arctic region under transition On the one hand, polar states cannot agree on division of the outer borders of the continental shelf. On the other hand, development of transport networks (cross-polar flights, Northern Sea Route), nature protection, fishing industry in the Arctic region seam to be not less important than oil and gas extraction.

15 The Arctic region under transition

16 Russia’s role in the Arctic region The geological and geophysical exploration maturity of the RF continental shelf as regards the number of drilled wells and seismic grid spacing is to date tens and hundreds times poorer than that in Norway, Denmark, Brazil, etc.

17 Russian expedition-2007 The starting point – Russian polar expedition in 2007, which provoked a wide international response.

18 Russia’s flag on the North Pole

19 The Russian polar expedition in 2007 The Russian expedition had a challenging task – to prove that the Lomonosov and Alpha- Mendeleev Arctic Ridges were part of the Eurasian continental shelf, i.e. the continuation of the Siberian Platform. Moscow was determined to prove this case in the UN expert commissions. In case of success, Russia could extend its continental shelf borders up to 1.2 million km and thus take control over large deposits of oil and gas.

20 Reaction of other Arctic states “This isn't the 15th century. You can't go around the world and just plant flags and say, we're claiming this territory”. The Canadian foreign minister, Peter MacKay “The first principle of Arctic sovereignty is: use it or lose it” Prime Minister Stephen Harper


22 Shall we expect an Arctic race for natural resources and territories…

23 Or the polar states will eventually come to a common ground?

24 Militarization of the Arctic region Since 2007 the majority of the polar countries have announced plans to deploy limited military forces in the Arctic region to defend zone of their economic interests. In the meantime NATO has also announced its interests in the security sphere of the Arctic region. In January 2009 in Reykjavik the North Atlantic officials held a seminar on security threats in the Arctic space. The EU officials unexpectedly used the rhetoric of the cold war and strongly criticized Russia for its Arctic endeavors.

25 Militarization of the Arctic region In March 2008 the High representative for the CFSP of the EU Javier Solana acknowledged that European countries should be prepared for a conflict with Russia over the Arctic energy resources.

26 Militarization of the Arctic region In February 2009 the Nordic Council announced plans to form Nordic Task forces with a mission of monitoring the situation in the Arctic region and performing crisis management, air surveillance and satellite cooperation.

27 Militarization of the Arctic region Former Norwegian foreign minister Thorvald Stoltenberg spoke in favor of armed forces capable of protecting the interests of the Nordic Council member states in northern territories. As expected, troops from Sweden, Norway and Denmark will become the core element of the future task forces.

28 Russia’s Arctic strategy At the Russian Security Council meeting in September 2008 President Medvedev set the task to transform the Arctic region into Russia’s resource base and delimitate its continental shelf borders. At the same session The Basis of Russia’s National Policy in the Arctic Region for the Period up to 2020 and in the Longer Term were adopted as a strategy that would shape Russia’s policy in the Arctic region.

29 Russia’s Arctic strategy But the economic recession has suspended the realization of the Russian ambitious plans. The Russian application to a UN committee about shelf delimitation has been postponed till 2011-2012, geological research of the Arctic region has been frozen, and the creation of the Russian Arctic security forces was put in question.

30 Europe with a strong efficient center (Brussels) Role of Northern Europe In this model Northern Europe and the Baltic countries stay in the periphery of European politics (semi-insiders); integration dominates over regionalization Role of Russia in the North-European region Russia plays the role of external partner (outsider), which can be member of some preferential treaties (close-outsider)

31 Europe with influential regional centers (Paris, Berlin, London, Stockholm, Warsaw) Role of Northern Europe Northern Europe will maintain its specific character and develop “Nordic cooperation” (semi- insider vs. semi- outsider); regionalization dominates over integration. Role of Russia in the North-European region Russia is an external force, but plays a significant role in regional projects (semi-outsider)

32 Competition among Northern, Eastern and Arctic dimensions (role of Brussels is insufficient) Role of Northern Europe A possible result is a merger of dimensions with a further consolidation of the Nordic countries and the Baltic states. A Baltic Union can be established to be in charge of economic integration and security threats. Role of Russia in the North-European region Russia will eventually leave the Northern Dimension and remain an external partner of the Baltic Union; cross-border cooperation between Russia, Norway and Canada within the Arctic dimension.

33 Europe as a zone of conflict Role of Northern Europe Europe is split over the Arctic resources. Northern countries create a new military alliance to secure their economic interests. Bilateral relations dominate over regionalization. Role of Russia in the North-European region Possible participation of Russia in conflicts over the Arctic resources.

34 Thank you for attention!

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