Jennifer Spence

In recent years, the Arctic Council has received a growing number of applications from states, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to obtain Observer status. This has generated a diverse commentary about the impact of increased involvement from non-Arctic actors, what influence they could have, and the role that they should play. An underlying assumption in all of these debates is that the Arctic Council has been an exclusive club that now must open its doors to non-Arctic interests and ideas. But is this in fact the case? Has the Arctic Council been a closed forum? The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) is one of six Arctic Council Working Groups. Its mandate is to “monitor and assess the status of the Arctic region with respect to pollution and climate change issues” (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, 2016). Using the AMAP as a case study, this article uses social network analysis (SNA) to visualize the network of experts and officials from Arctic and non-Arctic states that have participated in shaping climate and pollution science prepared for the Arctic Council. This article examines the key features of the AMAP’s networks and uses data available between 1998 and 2015 to consider how these networks have evolved and changed over time. This article finds that actors from non-Arctic states have been present in the work of the AMAP since its inception. Furthermore, there has been a growth in their involvement in the AMAP since 2006; although, non-Arctic actors have remained peripheral in the AMAP networks.

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