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Arctic Yearbook 2012
cooperation as opposed to handling conflicts. It is notable that the Arctic Council managed to
uphold this consensus during the ACIA, in spite of diverging interests among the member states.
However, it might be argued that the approach has had a high cost in terms of lack of substantial
progress in addressing challenges that include conflicting state interests. For example, the mandate
for the ACIA did not include discussing the driving forces for Arctic climate change (i.e. sources of
greenhouse gases) and neither did the Arctic Council initiate any actions to address greenhouse-gas
emissions as a result of the ACIA, in spite of the fact that Arctic countries together produce a
substantial portion of global emissions. As in the region-building period, these negotiations were
referred to the global level: the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
2007 – Present: Globalization, Sovereignty and Security
The year 2007 marked a distinct shift in the Arctic political climate. The sea-ice minimum in
September 2007 caught many observers by surprise, as did the planting of a Russian titanium flag on
the sea floor at the North Pole. As noted by Young (2012), the Arctic is now in the midst of a
transformation driven by the combined forces of climate change and globalization. Signs of this shift
include increased attention to new potential for oil and gas development, shipping, fishing, and
tourism. As the consequences of climate change in the Arctic have become more and more apparent,
an increasing number of voices have called for a stronger Arctic political regime to address the
problems ahead, including suggestions to both strengthen the Arctic Council and to create new
regimes (Young, 2011, Koivurova & Vanderzwaag, 2007). The five Arctic coastal states have created
their own forum, emphasizing the Law of the Sea as the most relevant for solving potential conflicts
over territory and resources (Arctic Ocean Conference, 2008). State interests in the Arctic region
have become increasingly articulated in Arctic strategies and policies (Heininen, 2011; Huebert,
Exner-Pirot, Lajeunesse, & Gulledge, 2012).
Onus on Economic Development
How can recent events be described in relation to the two dimensions of sustainable development
and security? With respect to sustainable development, it is clear that interest in economic
development has become much more prominent. In the current discourse, economic development
includes issues related to exploitation of natural resources, transport, and tourism, which are all
portrayed as providing major new economic opportunities for the region. Heininen notes that
economic development is the main priority or key objective of all Arctic states as well as the