Heidi Tiainen, Rauno Sairinen & Olga Sidorenko

Finland, Sweden, Greenland and Russia are all partly or fully Arctic countries that are seeking to develop new possibilities for mining and for promoting the regional economy in their respective northern territories. Even though mining can spur economic development and create new wealth within previously undeveloped regions, there is also the potential for causing negative environmental effects and irrevocably shaping the social dynamics of Arctic communities and indigenous ways of life. In this article, we will compare the national policy strategies, regulation and tools for sustainable Arctic mining. In addition, we will also review questions related to social acceptance, coexistence with indigenous people and traditional livelihoods as well as the state of corporate social responsibility. The four countries share the goal of sustainable mining at a strategic level and are influenced, to some extent, by global trends in mining, but the concrete governance of sustainable mining has evolved very differently in each country-specific context.

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Gary N. Wilson & Jeffrey J. Kormos

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian North has undergone a profound process of political, economic and social change. Nowhere is this change more evident than in the Chukotskii Autonomous Okrug (Chukotka), one of the most remote regions in the Russian Federation. During the Soviet period, Chukotka was the recipient of considerable state support which, in turn, led to the economic development of the region and an influx of settlers from other parts of the Soviet Union. These developments, however, quickly overwhelmed the indigenous peoples of Chukotka, who became marginalized economically, politically and demographically.

The post-Soviet period has brought new and unprecedented changes to Chukotka and its inhabitants. In the 1990s, the decline in state support triggered an economic collapse and an out-migration of non-indigenous settlers. Although the economic situation stabilized in the 2000s under the governorship of Roman Abramovich, a powerful oligarch with links to the upper echelons of Russian state authority, the region still struggles to cope with the challenges facing northern regions in Russia and throughout the circumpolar world: remoteness, harsh environments, underdevelopment, size and a dependency on government support. The fate of Chukotka’s indigenous peoples in this changing context has been mixed. Developments during the earlier stages of the transition rebalanced the demographic profile of the region, increasing the proportion of indigenous inhabitants in relation to the settler population, and provided some avenues for greater political autonomy, cultural regeneration and international collaboration. However, more recent changes, both at the federal and regional levels, have curtailed the activities of indigenous organizations, bringing them under the increasing control of the state.

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Melina Kourantidou, Brooks A. Kaiser, & Linda M. Fernandez

Scientific and policy-oriented publications highlighting the magnitude of uncertainty in the changing Arctic and the possibilities for effective regional governance are proliferating, yet it remains a challenging task to examine Arctic marine biodiversity. Limited scientific data are currently available. Through analysis of marine invasions in the Arctic, we work to identify and assess patterns in the knowledge gaps regarding invasive species in the Arctic that affect the ability to generate improved governance outcomes. These patterns are expected to depend on multiple aspects of scientific research into invasive species threats in the Arctic, including the ways in which known marine invasions are related to different stakeholder groups and existing disparate national and international experiences with invasive species. Stakeholder groups include dominant industries (fishing, shipping, tourism, resource exploration) and indigenous communities (regarded as resource users, citizen scientists, and recipients of goods shipped from other locations). Governance gaps are examined in the context of applied national policies (such as promoting or intercepting intentional introductions), international agreements (regarding introductions and mitigations) and existing prevention programs (regional, national and international). We intend to help focus domestic and international governance and research initiatives regarding introduced species on the most valuable, cost effective options, given the knowledge gaps derived from systematic research limitations and opportunities in the Arctic environment.

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Michał Łuszczuk

The participation of inter-parliamentary institutions in the processes of international cooperation, especially in the processes of regional governance in almost all parts of the world, has been expanding in the last few decades. The Arctic region too can be praised for the existence of a number of such entities, such as the Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians, the Barents Parliamentary Conference, the Nordic Council and the West-Nordic Council. This paper aims to provide, for the first time, a comparative analysis of the activities of these bodies in regards to their participation in the Arctic governance system, focusing in particular on the relations and links between the inter-parliamentary institutions and the Arctic Council. The paper ends with a reflection on the forthcoming role of such institutions in the future development of multidimensional cooperation among Arctic and non-Arctic nations as well as the threat of a possible democratic deficit in the Arctic.

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Cécile Pelaudeix

This article analyses the governance process of offshore oil and gas activities in the Arctic with the concept of multilevel governance and legal pluralism to address both issues of management of the environment and public participation. The analysis goes beyond the single issue of fragmentation pertaining to the international and supranational levels, to encompass national and regional levels and evaluate how the interactions between those levels structure the policy process and impact the efficiency of environmental management and public participation.

Four paths of reflection arise from the analysis. First it is unlikely that a dualistic vision opposing a normative option and an enabling option opens new avenues for solutions but the evolution of international law and customary international law deserves attention and a certain level of harmonisation may be welcome, for instance to cooperate efficiently on the prevention of an oil spill and the response to it. A second path relates to the institutional settings and proposes considering the stress lines pertaining to the entanglement of public and indigenous rights and authorities and the consequences at the local level. A third path suggests options pertaining to contract law to not only optimise the operator-regulator interface, but also more generally to offer a stable framework for inclusive dialogue between actors. In the end, the analysis of the rationale for engaging in offshore activities in the Arctic region, from a state perspective and from regional government, indigenous shareholders and corporation perspectives, could be helpful in providing relevant actors with arguments to weigh the decision on seismic and drilling activities in relation to risk acceptance.

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Rebecca Pincus

The cruise liner Crystal Serenity plans to conduct a cruise from Alaska to New York in August 2016. This will be, by far, the largest commercial cruise transit of the Northwest Passage ever attempted. The journey raises questions about the capacity of governments to respond to a large-scale environmental or human disaster in the Arctic maritime realm. Mass rescue operations in the Arctic are technically complicated by the extreme cold and enormous distances present in the region, and operationally complicated by governance challenges, including multiple and overlapping jurisdictions, networks of responders, and state-to-state variations in capacity, commitment, and funding schemes for disaster response.

The challenges of disaster response policy in the Arctic make this issue a “wicked” policy problem. Wicked policy problems pose special challenges to policymakers. This class of public policy problems involves a diversity of stakeholders holding varying interpretations of causes and solutions, and is closely interconnected with many other problems. The theory and literature that have developed around wicked problems offer a number of lessons about how actors and networks address these complex governance challenges.

This paper will address the challenge of effective disaster response in the Arctic, using the analytic framework of wicked problems. First, the wicked aspects of disaster response in the Arctic will be analyzed, using the Crystal Serenity as a case study; second, lessons from the literature that identify strategies for managing wicked problems will be identified; finally, the paper will draw practical conclusions about readiness in the Arctic.

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