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Articles and papers 2011


Kristine Offerdal (IFS):
The EU in the Arctic: In pursuit of legitimacy and influence, International Journal no.4, 2011.

The article sheds light on what role the European Union seeks in Arctic affairs and how its ambitions overlap with and/or challenge the interests of the region’s coastal states. EU-Norway relations serve as a case in point. The EU has since 2007 gone through a learning process on Arctic matters, in which its priorities have been more clearly defined, particularly in relation to coastal states. Important factors that motivate and affect policy are the engagement of a small number of particularly active stakeholders at the state, institutional, and individual levels; Arctic or international events; and EU policy in other issue areas with Arctic implications. Since 2007 EU Arctic policy has developed from addressing the security implications of climate change, to focusing on how the EU could gain legitimacy and influence by being a responsible actor, to a more recent approach of highlighting EU rights as well as responsibilities in the region. It has become a major goal to be accepted as a legitimate and natural partner in Arctic affairs.

There seems to be general agreement on the basic principles of Arctic affairs between Norway and the EU. It is more likely that possibly contested issues will emerge as a consequence of interaction at the issue-specific level, such as EU-Norway energy relations, or EU environmental regulations with relevance for the economic agreement and Arctic implications, than as the result of the development of an overarching EU policy for the region. Finally, Norway’s relatively relaxed relations with the EU, and the country’s willingness to include the EU more fully in Arctic affairs, do not necessarily provide us with a positive answer to the question of whether the Arctic is about to open up for new actors. The EU still has a long way to go, particularly with Russia, but also with Canada. The EU would therefore need all the diplomatic skills and resources it can direct toward the issue to get a stronger foothold in the region in the future. One way could be through its Arctic member-states, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. At the same time, it could use its institutional power to affect the policies of a closely integrated stakeholder like Norway.


Olav Schram Stokke (FNI):
Environmental Security in the Arctic: The Case for Multilevel Governance, International Journal no.4, 2011.

Despite the rapid regional changes associated with climate change, the environmental security of the Arctic is satisfactory. Three stabilizers explain this situation. Economically, substantial continuity characterizes the conditions which so far have limited the accessibility and commercial viability of Arctic resources and navigation routes. Politically, the Arctic states have relatively few unsettled maritime boundary issues, and they manage the remaining ones in a cooperative manner. Legally, a globally accepted legal framework exists for governing the economic use of the region. That framework is based on customary international law as codified in the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention and is capable of responding flexibly to new challenges emanating from increasing economic activities. Regulatory dynamism is called for, but regional means such as the Arctic Council have only partial roles to play in strengthening the system for governing regional activities – what the Arctic needs is multilevel governance. This finding has implications for the question of wider involvement of non-Arctic states in Council work. Provision of effective and legitimate governance is the best basis for ensuring continued environmental security in the Arctic.


Bettina Rudloff (SWP):
Fish in water? The EU and Arctic fishing, Zeitschrift Osteuropa 2-3 2011.

As a fishing region, the Arctic is at the moment only of regional significance. Seen globally, catches barely have any significance, and even for the EU fishing industry, the Arctic hardly plays a role. The EU is important merely as a trading partner for Arctic fishing countries. Despite over-fishing, conflicts over quotas and trade are indeed seldom. What kind of effects climate change will have on future catch potentials is unclear. Even the available data on current fish stocks is too unreliable. The ecological systems are too complex, and the scientific data too fragmentary to make prognoses about the economic potential of Arctic fishing in the event of a continued decrease in sea ice.


Daniel Fjærtoft, Petter Lindgren, Julia Loe and Lars Lunden:

Commerciality of Arctic offshore gas: A comparative study of the Snøhvit and Burger fields, Econ working paper 2, 2011.

This paper attempts to shed light on the potential for and challenges of economic Arctic gas production by investigating two discoveries: the Snøhvit gas development in the Norwegian Barents Sea and the Burger gas field in the US Chukchi Sea. Both Snøhvit and Burger show positive project economics given current price expectations and available cost estimates. Still, Snøhvit is the only of the two that has actually been developed. Possible explanations include different climatic conditions and access to markets.


Claudia Major and Stefan Steinicke (SWP):
 SWP Working Paper No 4/5, October 2011
EU Member States' Perceptions of the Security Relevance of the High North

While developments in the Arctic offer huge economic opportunities, they also touch upon a number of different but interconnected security issues. The perception of these security challenges might lead to either more cooperation or confrontation among actors interested and involved in Arctic affairs. In recent years, the interest of the EU member states, France, Germany and the United Kingdom in the High North has increased. This paper explores the extent to which British, French and German positions on the High North have developed in recent years, how new priorities have been defined and implemented. More specifically, it investigates whether the potential for military conflict is the overarching narrative in policy-makers’ perceptions and actions, and whether economic and environmental policies have gradually been securitized. In a first step, this paper approaches the concept of ‘security’ against the backdrop of recent changes in the Arctic region. It then analyses how different positions have been constructed in France, the UK and Germany – through discourse and the adoption of policies at both the national and EU levels. The last part compares national perceptions and actions in these three countries, and investigates whether a convergence can be observed and whether this may pave the way for a more coherent EU policy on the Arctic region. This part summarises the findings of the study and also illustrates the challenges and opportunities for closer inter-regional (Europe-Arctic) cooperation on security developments in the High North.

 


Daniel B. Fjærtoft:

Prospects of the internationalization of Murmansk Oblast, Working paper 1, 2011

The paper examines federal and regional policy forces influencing the balance between a development of Murmansk oblast characterized by greater openness and economic internationalization on the one hand and greater securitization and ‘closedness’ on the other. Although the outlook for oil and gas development heralds greater interaction with the outside community, important forces are found limit the scope for Murmansk to culture regional development based on international cooperation. In the absence of breakthroughs in the oil and gas sector, securitization measures are found to have the most visible impact on the region’s trajectory. 


Harald Eie (IFS):
Russian emergency preparedness in the Barents Sea in theory and practice, IFS Insights, February 

This study provides an overview of Russia’s sea safety legislation, organisation and capabilities in the Barents area. The report has two focal points: search and rescue and oil spill containment. The study finds significant flaws in the Russian legislation regulating maritime emergency preparedness. The regulations do not administer a clear and practical division of responsibility between the involved departments, and as a result, fail to facilitate coordination and cooperation at an adequate level. In the absence of purposeful legislation officials have found pragmatic solutions. At the same time, their disregard of regulations has laid the ground for conflicts over authority. The involved departments are underfinanced, inducing them to sell services outside their geographical areas of responsibility. Some of the oil spill containment equipment is old and in need of replacement; the helicopters used in search and rescue missions are unable to operate in the dark and, in other respects, are sensitive to the region’s harsh weather. Despite these deficiencies, the departments are surprisingly good at cooperating and drawing on each other’s resources when needed. The paradoxical observation to be to drawn from this study is that the Russian system of emergency preparedness in the Barents Sea may be working despite regulations rather than because of them.


Julia Loe (Econ):

Driving forces in Russian Arctic policy, working paper, Econ Pöyry, 2011

This paper points out some main drivers for change in Russian future Arctic, or High North, policies. Emphasis is given to the complex interaction of various important factors that will influence and form Russian Arctic policies towards 2030. The rationale for renewed interest in the post-Cold War Arctic region is primarily economic. The main focus in this study is therefore driving forces related to the seemingly greatest sources or economic opportunities in the region: first and foremost extraction of hydrocarbons (oil and gas), and secondly development of the Northern Sea Route for commercial shipping. We have identified six driving forces categorized as related to either climate change, technology, economics, politics or socio-cultural factors, and that are likely to influence Russian Arctic policy:  Climate change may lead to great economic opportunities in the Arctic Region, but also increased pressure for a climate agreement that may impede development. Access to harsh weather  technology is decisive for developing the energy and shipping sector, but may depend on accommodating foreign investment in Russia. Raw material exploitation may on its side represent a dilemma as it in some ways could be contradictory to modernization of the economy. The market situation in the energy sector is nevertheless decisive for whether it will be profitable to invest in oil & gas and building infrastructure. The international political situation will influence Russia´s approach to the Arctic region, towards cooperation or conflict. National priorities depend on socio-cultural factors that shape values and ideas in the Russian post-Soviet generation.

Torbjørn Pedersen (UiT):
International politics and law in American policy-making: The United States and the Svalbard disputeOcean development & International law, vol. 42, issue 1& 2, January 2011. 

This article explains the position(s) of the United States in the maritime dispute adjacent to Svalbard. While the United States has regarded Norway's exclusive claim to the natural resources outside Svalbard as everything from “wishful thinking” to legally plausible, Washington maintains that it may have rights under the 1920 Svalbard Treaty to exploit the maritime zones adjacent to the archipelago. The U.S. reservation is the result of assessments and reassessments of legal considerations as well as national interests. 



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Norwegian Institute for defence Studies CSIS Fritjof Nansen Institute Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik University of Tromsø Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the MFA of Russia University of Oslo Institute of general history Norwegian Defence Research Establishment Econ Pöyry
 
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