Over Easy: 5 Basic Arctic Geopolitics Resources

5:03 am in Uncategorized by Crane-Station

A map of the arctic circle

Over Easy gets chilly in the Arctic.

Arctic policy rhetoric is changing as the climate changes. Arctic geopolitics involves people and cultures, environment and ecology, zones and laws, agreements and alliances, shipping and industry, climate science, and even a donut hole. What sites can we consult to gain a basic understanding of this broad topic and follow the developments?

Aleksander Schilbach* (bio below) is currently defending a graduate thesis titled The Arctic Asia-Pacific Dimension for the University of Washington, Jackson School of International Studies: Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies Program. He recommends the following basic resources, for information and news about the Arctic region and Arctic (High North) geopolitics:

1. The Arctic Council Website.

The Arctic Council “is a high-level intergovernmental forum to promote cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States.” This website is a good starting point for getting to know the Arctic indigenous peoples and their languages and cultures, as well as the climates and environment, oceans and biodiversity. Learn about monitoring and conservation programs and anything else of general interest.

There are eight countries in the Arctic Council:

Canada
Denmark (representing also the dependencies of Greenland and Faeroes)
Finland
Iceland
Norway
Russia
Sweden
United States

Five of these member countries have Arctic coastlines: Russia, the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark (via Greenland).

Two major polar shipping routes are the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route.

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Chair of the Arctic Council’s call for decisive action to combat climate change by reducing global emissions is here.

2. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. (document also here in full-text)

The Law of the Sea Convention (1982) defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources. Wiki has the list of countries that have or have not signed this treaty.

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (mentioned yesterday in Fatster’s News Roundup) is an intergovernmental organization created by the mandate of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea.

3. Geopolitics in the High North.

Read the rest of this entry →