Multilateral Governance in the Arctic via the Arctic Council and its Observers – an Arctic Community?
Arne Riedel, Researcher at Ecologic Institute, presented the institutional framework for the Arctic and its changes as well as the possible influence of Arctic Council observers. Taking the expansion of regional interests into account, the presentation also examined the role of Arctic Council observer states in the possible concept of an "Arctic Community." He outlined the possibilities for observer states to influence the policies of Arctic states within and outside of the Arctic Council and concluded such observer states have been (and will likely remain) demanding actors in Arctic governance. The presentation slides are available for download.
The Arctic is an area with a complex legal and institutional structure. The Arctic Council brings together not only the Arctic states but also a growing number of observer states on arctic relevant topics. The presentation raises the question if and to which extent an "Arctic Community" could be seen developing.
The workshop on The Climate Challenge in the Arctic. Environmental impacts, new opportunities and future policy options was organized by the International Center for Climate Governance (ICCG) and addressed an audience of several professions with an interest in the Arctic. In each of the three thematic sessions, two participants presented on specific areas of their expertise followed by a moderated discussion.
In the first part, Peter Wadhams (University of Cambridge, UK) and Carlo Barbante (Ca' Foscari University Venice, Italy) presented on the actual status and the mechanisms of the disappearing sea ice as well as on the impacts of contaminants in the Arctic.
The second part focused under the lead of Katrin Rehdanz (University Kiel, Germany) and Klaus Dodds (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK) on the economic opportunities linked to climate change in the Arctic and a geopolitical perspective on the Arctic resources' potential.
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Within the third part, taking a governance perspective on policy options in the Arctic, Olav Schram Stokke (Fridtjof Nansen Institute, FNI, and University Oslo, Norway) presented on Governance with relevance for the Arctic Environment while Arne Riedel (Ecologic Institute) turned towards the institutional framework and its changes in the Arctic as well as the possible influence of Arctic Council observers.
Within his presentation, Arne Riedel took first on the question of a change from international to regional governance within the Arctic. Taking into account the recently adopted agreements under the auspices of the Arctic Council (Search and Rescue, Oil Spill Pollution Prevention and Response) a codification of common sectoral interests would already exist. A possible future agreement of fisheries could hint towards a grip on further issues that are regulated either internationally (high seas) or national and bilateral (cross-bordering issues).
Taking the expansion of these regional interests into account, Arne Riedel also took a closer look at the role of observer states in the Arctic Council in a possible "Arctic Community". He laid out the possibilities of observer states' to influence policies of Arctic states within and outside of the Arctic Council and concluded they would be (and remain) demanding states. However, in sector-specific international agreements and possibly with an additional cooperation within the Arctic Council, observer states could exercise some degree of influence.
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