If the United States wants to fulfil all the three declared goals and hold high-level meetings, considerable efforts will need to be exerted by all the members of the Arctic Council, especially Russia. It will be difficult, for example, to implement the agreement on search and rescue and Arctic Ocean oil spill response without close cooperation with Russia. Large-scale exercises would lose much of their value without Russia’s participation. Furthermore, to advance such important issues as environmental protection and climate change, the Arctic should remain a stable and peaceful region. The introduction of new long-term priorities calls for a consensus, which is hard to achieve in an atmosphere of mistrust and tensions.
Monday May 27th, Stockholm MASD researchers Ekaterina Klimenko (SIPRI) and Annika E Nilsson (SEI) visit Umeå University to participate in a seminar on security issues in the Arctic, together with Umeå MASD researchers Niklas Eklund and Lize-Marie Van der Watt. The seminar is arranged by the Association of International Affairs at Umeå University (Utrikespolitiska föreningen).
In a recent essay, MASD researcher Ekaterina Klimenko discusses how five years of dynamic development, cooperation in the Arctic region is at risk of stumbling on the geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West.
The forthcoming chair USA needs to make a strategic choice: either it, along with other Arctic states, will pursue a policy around the intention to keep the Arctic a ‘zone of cooperation’ (which will require close collaboration and engagement with Russia), or it will seek to challenge Russia as part of the response to the Ukraine crisis and the Arctic cooperation will become a victim of the broader geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West.
For the past five years the Arctic region has enjoyed a high level of cooperation not least because Russia has opted for collaboration with its Arctic neighbours. However, geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West have raised questions regarding the sustainability of that cooperation. The recent increase in Russia’s military activities in the Arctic have raised concerns over whether the Arctic can continue to be a ‘zone of peace and cooperation’ in the foreseeable future.
Read more in the publication: Russia and the Arctic: an end to cooperation? written by MASD researcher Ekaterina Klimenko. The essay is available at Sipris hompage. Klimenko March 15, 2015.
(In Swedish) Uppdrag granskning, SVTs program för grävande journalistik, har intervjuat handläggare i Norrbotten om deras handläggning av de miljöärenden som rör den numera nedlagda gruvan Northlands Resources. Läs mer på Länsstyrelsen i Norrbottens hemsida.