The lecture gives an overview on the future cooperation between Arctic states in the light of recent tension with Russia. For a long time the Arctic has been, politically, a very stable region. Geopolitically it has not been considered to be a very significant area. Despite several boundary and resource disputes, peace, dialogue, and cooperation have been flourishing in the area. The Arctic states have been able to successfully develop co-operation in non-strategic areas such as scientific research, environmental protection, and sustainable development. However, during the last decade, changing conditions in the Arctic and warming of the region have ignited great-power politics in the area, affecting Arctic cooperation.

The melting Arctic ice sheets have created new economic opportunities and serious environmental challenges attracting an increasing amount of attention both within the Arctic states and outside of the region. The situation has created competition between Arctic states over resources and ownership causing old political concerns to surface. There are emerging lines of conflict such as territorial and sovereignty disputes. Furthermore, the crisis in Ukraine has been causing East-West tensions and as a result many Arctic states have been re-evaluating strategic cooperation with Russia in the Arctic region.

This re-evaluation, combined with fear that Russian policy in Crimea is an indication of grander territorial ambitions, has the potential to reshape national approaches in the Arctic. Arctic cooperation is essential to cool down the potential conflicts in the region however the Crimea crisis and anxieties about Russian territorial ambitions may disturb the fragile mechanics of cooperation.

This lecture discusses the future of Arctic cooperation in the context of changing conditions in the region and the effects it has on national approaches in the Arctic in the light of recent tensions with Russia.

Date: 18.2.2015 10:00–12:00
Place: LS2
Address: University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland