How Outside Actors Hold Sway within the Arctic Council



The predominant inter-governmental forum the Arctic Council has received a lot of criticism over the recent years. This cooperative forum between the eight Arctic States (the five Nordic States, the United States, Canada and the Russian Federation), region’s indigenous peoples (permanent participants) and inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations (observers) has had to feel the heat of climate change. The synthesis reports of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other studies demonstrate that Arctic will warm twice the rate as compared to the rest of the world, with associated dramatic changes related to its environment (e.g. decreasing sea-ice coverage), which will open the region to increasing number of new economic activities (shipping for various purposes, offshore hydrocarbon exploitation etc.). With such dramatic changes, there are many who have called for stronger governance regimes for the region, or at least have provoked many to require changes from the moderately structured Arctic Council—a high-level forum that has no permanent funding scheme, no legal status and no secretariat (for a very long time).


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