Arctic Yearbook 2012
State of the Arctic Strategies and Policies – A Summary
environmentally sustainable development. The third priority, “The human dimension”
includes people (of the region) and their living conditions. Here Sweden’s objectives include
promoting the preservation of the Sámi and other indigenous languages and a more active
participation of young people and women in political processes.
All in all, Sweden’s Strategy for the Arctic covers most of the features of a modern political
strategy, particularly in terms of adopting concrete objectives under each priority. Economic
development seems to be a top priority of Sweden’s Arctic policy, and ‘Resilience’ is some
sort of flagship project of the Swedish Chairmanship of the AC (Lind, 2011). The policy can
also be seen as a reflection of and response to the recent significant, multi-functional (global)
change(s) in the Arctic as much as the growing interest of and pressure from other Arctic
states and several non-Arctic states.
The US National Security Directive Concerning an Arctic Region Policy
The United States of America’s document “National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD
– 66” concerning an “Arctic Region Policy” was released on January 9, 2009 by President
George W. Bush’s Administration (White House, 2009).
The Arctic has not in general played an important role in US foreign or domestic policy. For
example, the Clinton Administration had issued, but did not publicly circulate, its US Arctic
Policy Objectives in 1994 which had as its main objectives the protection of the Arctic
environment, sustainable use of natural resources, strengthening of intergovernmental
cooperation, involving northern indigenous peoples in decision making, enhancing scientific
research, and meeting post-Cold War national security and defence needs (Macnab, 2009).
After the Russian expedition to the North Pole in August 2007, some experts argued that the
United States was falling behind Russia in the Arctic ‘race’ (Borgerson, 2008). The U.S. State
Department, however, declared in September 2008 that the Arctic countries use different
criteria to define whether their territory is considered to be a part of the Arctic region or not.
There were also some lobbying efforts within the US, the purpose of which was to
emphasize that the United States needs “an Arctic agenda” and has to understand its identity
as “an Arctic nation”, too (Commonwealth North, May 2009). Thus, it started to become
clear to the US Government that it was “necessary to develop coherent approaches to
problems that occupy a wide spectrum of issues” (Macnab, 2009: 27). Subsequently, the US
President’s Administration released an Arctic Region Policy in January 2009, which