Comparison of the Nordic Chairmanship Programmes and the Outputs of the Arctic Council in 2000–2013

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online

The impacts of climate change as well as the increase of economic activities call for effective governance of the Arctic Region. The Arctic Council is the predominant intergovernmental forum in the region. The rotating chairmanships of the Member States have a defining role in the work of the Council. This paper compares the Arctic Council chairmanship programmes of the five Nordic Countries with the organisation’s outputs following the two-year chairmanship periods as expressed in the ministerial Declarations and the SAOs’ reports. The paper finds that the discourse on the studied topics has developed greatly over time and despite the similarities between the countries’ foreign politics in general, there are some notable differences in the way the countries see the future of the Arctic – for example through the region’s vast natural resources or as a unique environment of the Arctic biodiversity. The conclusion of this research is that even though the chair cannot take all the credit for its accomplishments during the chairmanship period in question, nor can it be blamed for all possible failures, the chair’s work does leave its mark on the Arctic Council’s performance.

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