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.
January 27th the e-book “Sustainable Development in the Circumpolar North. From Tana, Norway to Oktemtsy, Yakutia, Russia”, co-edited by Greg Halseth, Co-director of the Community Development Institute at the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada, was launched. The book provides practical strategies and tools for successfully dealing with the challenges and opportunities presented by the social and economic transformation being experienced in rural northern communities. Topics explored in the book include:
- Youth, entrepreneurship and rural development, with a chapter that addresses how to create an innovative and entrepreneurial consciousness and identity among youth;
- Sport, tourism and rural development, with chapters that look at the interface between different sections of the economy; and
- Social and economic development in indigenous communities and religions, with chapters on the effects of industrial development and development challenges in indigenous communitie
The book is available online:
Norway, Sweden and Finland share common economic, environmental and social interests in the Scandinavian Arctic. This report, a co-production of an expert group set up by the Prime Ministers of Norway, Sweden and Finland in April 2014, defines four drivers of growth and offers four instruments for the Governments of Norway, Sweden and Finland to use to secure sustainable economic growth in the North. Growth from the North
To clarify the standpoint of the Swedish Sami Parliament on how the natural resources within Sápmi shall be managed and especially in relationship to minerals mining, a strategy has been produced. It was adopted by the Plenary Assembly in Åre, Sweden on 20 May 2014. The document is available in English at the Sami Parliament, and a summary of the document is published at the Sami Parliament Homepage.
During the programme meeting in Storuman August 26-28, The MASD research team made significant progress on forwarding discussion across the programme, as well as on the AACA report, ethics, interview methodology, and the sustainability concept – and also got a very good understanding of the local case study area both in the public and invited stakeholder meetings!
Themes suggested by stakeholders at the public and invited stakeholder meetings:
- Tax systems and local income and return from major developments, e.g. water power, wind
- Long term consequences and valuation of resources: risks of exploitation, ecosystem services
- Local coping and adaptation with regard to global developments such as world market prices: what are the limits of robustness and how does one identify this?
- Changing climate and global resource demand
- Coordination and cooperation between sectors, e.g. ecotourism cooperation with forestry
- EU regulation, for instance requirements on sustainable design and environmental protection legislation
- Ownership (äganderätt)
- Mining legislation: why does it not include areas close to main cities
- Experienced local impacts (e.g. of the Malmfälten developments)
- The space available for municipal decision-making, in general and in relation to specific legislation
According to a recent Mistra publication, Russia has identified the Arctic as both a strategic priority and a resource base for the 21st century. Against a backdrop of expectations about the opportunities available in the Arctic, Russia has primarily pursued a policy focused on strengthening national sovereignty in the region. However, despite the considerable attention given to the development of the Arctic by the Russian leadership, progress in achieving Russia’s goals in the Arctic has been slow. While debate has increased in the media and research community with regard to China’s potential as a partner for development of the Arctic, significant challenges stand in the way of a major reorientation of Russian Arctic policy towards China. The success of Russia’s recent energy cooperation with China will depend on solving previous problems, developing mutually acceptable forms of cooperation and increasing mutual trust.
The publication, Klimenko 2014, is available at the file menu of this homepage: Klimenko 2014