Arctic Governance: co-operation and power tactics

Is the Arctic a geopolitical hotspot or a zone of peace? Surprisingly cooperation and conflict can coexist and one does not exclude the other. As Michael said, the western Arctic states can work with Russia in a hostile environment. Partly, it is due to the complex different levels of governance. Elana Wilson Rowe explained that while NATO and Russia were mobilizing in the Arctic during 2014/15, the Arctic states concluded the scientific cooperation agreement by the same time.

I find surprising Michael Byers’ statement when saying that the ongoing military and surveillance activities will probably not end up in a military confrontation, however this scenario could potentially happen if the Arctic states miscalculate or disregard the impacts of there actions. For instance, the US Navy could potentially provoke a military confrontation when operating in the Northern Sea Route if they are not aware of Russia’s strong sovereign identity of the Northern Sea Route.

However, Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv commented that the Arctic faces three security problems: military security in terms of hybrid warfare practices; environmental security; and human security.

Following Stephanie Pezard’s idea that the power relations in the Arctic may be re-balanced in the future since new non-Arctic actors are engaging in the region, I am wondering what governmental institutions and practices will foster in the future when large territories of the Arctic are indeed sovereign. As Ulf Sverdrup pointed out, the Arctic is not a shared or common place.

To conclude, I want to translate the enlightening experience of attending this event in which, as a student, you get a quick, straightforward and accurate understanding of the Arctic governance delivered by a panel of high-level experts.

Valentin Strömberg, Masters, Linköping University, Sweden





DISCLAIMER: These posts are contributions from participants in Arctic Frontiers Young Ambassadors program and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arctic Frontiers.

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