Digitalisation has increased rapidly in recent decades, and became integral part of the development agenda of most states. The development of cyberspace has led to numerous opportunities for human development, but it also has presented certain challenges to societies. In acknowledging the importance of digital technologies, many states have endorsed strategies for digital development and cybersecurity. Because these strategies are often state-centric, techno-deterministic, and simplistic, they disregard the interconnectedness and complexity of the opportunities and challenges these technologies can entail in a region-specific context.
This paper argues that the human security framework may be applied to analyse and study the region-specific implications of digitalisation. The multidimensional and comprehensive human security approach includes state-centric concerns as well as the needs and fears of people and communities in a specific region. Moreover, the human security framework enables the local population to voice their concerns. The insights that the human security approach offers could contribute to developing meaningful and targeted policies that address the concerns of people and communities in specific regions. The paper uses the argument on the European High North as a case study to show that digitalisation has region specific impacts and how digitalisation is interrelated with human security.
The Arctic has received increased attention in the past decade, not at last due to new estimates about the region's vast natural resource deposits. The common interest of the Arctic states in developing these resources becomes visible in both their respective national Arctic strategies as well as through declarations of the main forum for intergovernmental cooperation in the region—the Arctic Council—where mass-scale natural resource extraction may be one way to move toward a sustainable future. This paper analyzes whether the promotion of hydrocarbon development can contribute to sustainable human development in the Arctic. This paper argues that, while some regions may be affected positively, the Arctic population at large will likely not benefit from hydrocarbon development. Following approaches from political ecology, this paper suggests that there are indications that hydrocarbon development is more in the interest of global elites—based in the economic and political centers in the south of the Arctic—rather than an agenda for meaningful human development of the Arctic population. Thus, this paper concludes that hydrocarbon development is not a suitable approach to develop the Arctic's societies in an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable manner for current and future generations.