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Arctic Yearbook 2012
State of the Arctic Strategies and Policies – A Summary
This is first and foremost reflected in the way in which each country/nation locates and
identifies itself as an Arctic country or nation of, or global/natural player or actor in, the
Arctic region.
Canada describes itself as a “Northern nation. The North is a fundamental part of our
heritage and our national identity, and is vital to our future”. It is similarly held that
defending Canada’s sovereignty is “our number one Arctic Foreign policy priority”.
(Government of Canada, 2010: 2-3)
The Kingdom of Denmark’s Strategy for the Arctic has as its aim “to strengthen the
Kingdom’s status as global player in the Arctic” (Kingdom of Denmark Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, 2011: 10-11).
The Finnish Strategy defines Finland “as an Arctic country…a natural actor in the Arctic
region” and has a “natural interest in Arctic affairs” (Prime Minister’s Office, 2010: 7-8).
Iceland is “the only country located entirely within the Arctic region” according to the
Icelandic Report (Utanrikisraduneytid, 2009). The Parliamentary Resolution further states as
an objective securing “Iceland’s position as a coastal State within the Arctic region”
(Althingi, 2011: 1).
According to Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in the Norwegian Government’s High North
Strategy of 2009, “The High North is Norway’s most important strategic priority area…
[and] the need to develop our High North Strategy is greater than ever.” (Norwegian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2009: 3).
The Russian Federation would like to “maintain the role of a leading Arctic power”
(Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 2009).
Sweden is linked to the Arctic with many – historical, security-political, economic, climate
and environmental, scientific and cultural – links (Government Offices of Sweden, 2011: 9-
According to the US National Security Presidential Directive concerning an Arctic Region
policy “The United States is an ‘Arctic nation’” (White House, 2009: 2).
This same growing interest is also shown in how the Arctic (region) is (re)defined and
(re)mapped by many ways in the documents as the following definitions clearly show: