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Arctic Yearbook 2012
UArctic and NRF TN on Geopolitics and Security Update: Highlights from Calotte Academy 2012
Arranged for the first time in 1991, the annual Academy takes a focus on important and acute
themes emerging in the European and Circumpolar North, with a goal to promote effective
discussions and sustainable international relations in the Arctic. Building on the Northern Research
Forum (NRF) platform, it is a “school of dialogue” that brings together researchers and regional
actors and representatives with an aim to integrate the research community and findings in local and
regional planning and policy-making. Participants from around the world (as far as Mexico in 2012)
travel together across borders to towns and cities of the North Calotte to meet with local
stakeholders in informal but intensive and constructive discussion settings.
In spring 2012, the CA was arranged from May 28
to June 4
in Rovaniemi and Inari, Finland; in
Kiruna, Sweden; and in Tromsø, Norway. In total, 26 presentations focusing on water
Arctic were made during the lively sessions at these four locations. In this open-dialogue setting, the
knowledgeable group of international participants (coming from Austria, Canada, Finland, France,
Germany, Iceland, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom) generated hundreds of
questions and comments that fed and guided the discussions during the whole week together.
Water, Locally & Globally
During the Academy, questions and aspects related to water were discussed both on the local level
and in global contexts as well as from a multidisciplinary perspective. Some presentations focused on
water as a commodity and raised themes related to ‘water markets’, the role of transnational
corporations (TNCs) in the commercialization of water, as well as different models of water
management around the globe, notably in major markets like Europe. Meanwhile, others focused on
water as energy, inside and outside the Arctic; issues related to the advantages and downsides of
hydropower, hydropower advertising and hydropower construction in development aid programs
were discussed.
From Ice to Water to ‘New’ Geopolitical Spaces
Furthermore, discussions continued during the week on water in the form of ice and, especially, in
relation to climate change. In the context of decreasing sea ice in and around the Arctic Ocean,
Arctic change can be considered as a process generating new narratives of geopolitics and competing
discourses of the region. In addition to new discursive spaces and practices, the concrete implications
of a changing climate and retreating sea ice were highlighted in several presentations. Among themes
raised by the experts, issues related to health and resilience of human and natural systems, shipping