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Arctic Yearbook 2012
and the emerging kinds of interrelations between the region and the rest of the globe
(Heininen, 2004). Consequently, they can be interpreted as responses to the significant,
multi-functional and global change(s) of the early-21
century in the Arctic environment,
geopolitics and economies as well as Northern security. This is rather obvious in the cases of
Canada, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and the USA, though the reasons for this range from the
broad to the narrow: security risks and threats to sovereignty as a result of the potential
impacts of climate change are large factors in Canada’s Northern Strategy. The growing
global interests toward the Arctic region and its rich natural resources lie at the core of the
strategies of Finland and Iceland. The Swedish strategy’s response to the challenge is to
emphasize biodiversity and the human dimension. And the US policy emphasises national
and homeland security.
In the cases of the Kingdom of Denmark, Norway and the Russian Federation there are
other motivations which are as, or even more, important: the new self-governing status of
Greenland as well as the first ministerial meeting of the five littoral states of the Arctic
Ocean provides a central focus in the Kingdom of Denmark’s Strategy. The Norwegian
High North strategy is very independent and reflects the new Norwegian-Russian
relationship in the Barents Sea region, emphasizing closer bilateral cooperation between the
two countries. The Russian State Policy first and foremost is a response to and reflection of
the domestic politics of the Federation.
Finally, a common feature in all of the Arctic strategies and state policies is that each of the
Arctic states would like to become a natural/real, even leading, actor/player in the Arctic, or
in some field of northern affairs, or would like to maintain a leading role there.
This article discusses and compares the recent strategies, or state policies, for the Arctic
region of the Arctic states (here Arctic strategies), and their priorities and main objectives
with an aim to emphasize their outlining differences and similarities.
It is neither an
inventory nor analysis on the content of the strategies, but is based on the author’s inventory
and comparative study on the Arctic strategies and policies (Heininen, 2011). There are also
a few other comparative studies on Arctic strategies, though mostly on those of the five
littoral states of the Arctic Ocean - Canada, Denmark or Greenland/Denmark, Norway,
Russian Federation and the USA. For example, Brosnan et al. (2011) looks at and discusses
how cooperation and conflict appear in the Arctic strategies of these five states.