Building regional governance capacity in the Arctic: Asian impact on the development of the Arctic Council into a strong regional decision-baking organisation?

Activity: Talk or presentation typesLecture and oral contribution

Uffe Jakobsen - Speaker

In the Arctic region climate change is said to generate easier accessibility to natural resources, more possibilities for shipping and the development of new shipping routes from Asia through a prospected seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean as a short cut to European and North-American destinations and, thereby, generating Asian interests in Arctic resources. However, this also generates multilevel governance challenges in the Arctic. At the regional level the Arctic, therefore, needs a strong regional organisation to regulate and protect the vulnerable marine environment. The Arctic Council is already at hand but needs to transform itself from what has been termed a “debate forum” into a strong regional organisation capable of making legally binding decisions. However, the SAR decision (“Agreenment on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic”) at the 2011 Ministerial Meeting in Nuuk together with the Oil Spill decision (“Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic”) at the 2013 Ministerial Meeting in Kiruna are taken to be the first examples of the ability of the Arctic Council to make such binding decisions within the important policy areas of human security and sustainable development. But, also at the Kiruna meeting, five Asian countries (China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore) were accepted as permanent observers of the Arctic Council. So, the Arctic Council now consists of eight Arctic member states, six permanent participants and 32 permanent observers (eleven non-governmental organisations, nine intergovernmental or inter-parliamentary organisations, seven non-arctic European states in addition to the five non-arctic Asian states). The Arctic Council rules of procedure decide that decision are made by member states, upon involvement of the permanent participants, but also that permanent observers may contribute to the work by making statements, present written statements, submit relevant documents and provide views. Hence, the Arctic Council obviously is a fairly diversified organisation. On this background, the paper discusses which consequences is to be expected from the participation of Asian permanent observers in the work of the Arctic Council in regard to strengthening the role of the Arctic Council as a strong regional decision-making organisation.
5 Jun 2014

Event (Conference)

TitleSecond China Nordic Arctic Cooperation Symposium
Abbreviated titleCNACS
Date02/06/201405/06/2014
LocationUniversitu of Akureyri
CityAkureyri
CountryIceland

ID: 131097979