Arctic Yearbook 2012
State of the Arctic Strategies and Policies – A Summary
Correspondingly, Summers (2010) studies the littoral states and their relations with a focus
on energy and the environment, and also looks at China and the European Union as new
players in the Arctic.
I will begin by briefly introducing how each Arctic state has (re)positioned itself in the Arctic
region, and then by providing an overview of the Arctic strategies and their priorities. It
briefly describes how the states (re)position and (re)define themselves as Arctic
states/nations, and how the Arctic is (re)mapped. Finally, the paper proceeds to a
comparative study between the Arctic strategies based on the explicit priorities or priority
areas through nine inwards – and outwards-oriented indicators, emphasizing outlying
differences and similarities between them.
Priorities of Arctic Strategies
This section is an overview on the Arctic strategies and state policies of the Arctic states with
an emphasis on the priorities or priority areas, and the main objectives of the strategies (in
alphabetic order). Each sub-section begins by briefly discussing how each Arctic state
(re)positions itself in the Arctic region, or the entire Circumpolar North. It is then followed
by a brief overview of the priorities and main objectives of each strategy/state policy.
Canada’s Northern Strategy
Canada’s Northern Strategy “Our North, Our Heritage, Our Future” was released in July
2009 at Gatineau, Québec, by the Government of Canada (2009). It was followed by the
“Statement on Canada’s Arctic Foreign Policy” in August 2010 (Government of Canada
The Canadian Government has been active in international northern and Arctic discussions
and cooperation during the last few decades, particularly in the 1990s, such as in proposing
and promoting the establishment of the Arctic Council (AC) and pushing sustainable
development and human security as the focus of circumpolar cooperation. Already in the
1970s Canada enacted the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act (AWPPA) to protect its
marine environment in its Arctic archipelago. It was an early and unique environmental
prevention act, though it has not wholly managed to convince other states that the
Northwest Passage (NWP) is Canada’s internal waters (e.g. Heininen, 1992).