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Arctic Yearbook 2012
assessments presented the first circumpolar picture of pollution pressures in the Arctic. One could
thus argue that the framing of security was widened to include circumpolar environmental security.
Local concerns were also present in the AEPS, for example in relation to some pollution issues and
the impacts of pollution on indigenous peoples. However, the AEPS placed these concerns in a
circumpolar rather than national context.
A Circumpolar Focus
In rhetoric, the AEPS spoke about global environmental linkages, but Young (1998: 38) highlights
that the regime is just as notable for what it left out as what it included. For example, it explicitly left
questions of climate change and ozone depletion to the side, with reference to existing international
fora (Nilsson, 2007). However, in spite of this political reluctance to deal with some global
environmental problems, the AEPS came to act in relation to global environmental politics. This was
apparent from the very start in CAFF’s explicit links to the Convention on Biological Diversity
(Archer & Scrivener, 2000), and later in efforts towards a global convention on persistent organic
pollutants (Downie & Fenge, 2003). In relation to scientific cooperation, the global scale preference
was explicit from the beginning in that a major aim was to increase knowledge about Arctic
processes in order to better understand the global systems of climate, weather, ocean circulation and
other important environmental issues (IASC 1990 cited in Archer & Scrivener, 2000: 602).
1996–2007: Broadened Agenda, Environmental Security, and Increasing
With the Ottawa Declaration of 1996, the AEPS was transformed into the Arctic Council. The goal
of the Arctic Council is broader than that of the AEPS. Under the overarching umbrella of
“sustainable development” it goes beyond environmental protection and from broad perspectives
embraces issues such as human development, economic development, resource use and
management, transport, communication, tourism, and human health. This has been apparent in both
ministerial declarations and in actual activities, such as assessment processes relating to human
development (AHDR, 2004) and shipping (Arctic Council, 2009). The balance between the
environmental focus and broader sustainable development concerns was contentious during the
negotiations, and defining the specific agenda was postponed. According to Archer and Scrivener,
the genesis of the Arctic Council slowed the momentum of environmental cooperation and “revived
mutual fears of hidden agendas behind the impetus of regional collaboration” (Archer & Scrivener,