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Arctic Yearbook 2012
State of the Arctic Strategies and Policies – A Summary
maintain itself as “a leading Arctic power”, as Russia articulates. For the others – the ‘new-
comers’ – the self-definition as an Arctic country or nation is quite a new thing.
Sovereignty and Comprehensive Security
In the strategies of the five littoral states (of the Arctic Ocean) sovereignty is mentioned and
emphasized as a major or primary priority in the strategies: Canada’s sovereignty over its
Arctic lands, islands and waters is “undisputed” (Government of Canada, 2009: 13), and the
country seeks “to resolve boundary issues in the Arctic region” (Government of Canada,
2010: 7). The Kingdom of Denmark’s strategy includes the priority (and task) of
enforcement of sovereignty exercised “by the armed forces through a visible presence in the
region where surveillance is central” as well as to enhance maritime safety (Kingdom of
Denmark Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2011: 20).
The Norwegian strategy is rather multi-functional when dealing with sovereignty and
defence: it states that presence of armed forces as well as police and prosecuting authorities
is imperative to the priority of the exercise of authority, or “sovereignty firmly”, and
consequently, it mentions defence, i.e. the role of the Norwegian Armed Forces in the North
(Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2006: 17-20). The Strategy also emphasizes
developing of border control and civilian border surveillance, increasing of coast guard
activities, and strengthening of (bilateral) competence-building and “good neighbourly
relations” with Russia (Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2009: 37-42 and 54-57). In
addition of the Arctic “as a zone of peace” the Russian policy states that the Arctic is also
“the sphere of military security” to the Russian Federation (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 2009). The
US policy strongly emphasizes national security and “homeland security and defence”,
particularly borders dealing with maritime areas, and freedom of the seas as a “top national
priority” for example, by preserving “the global mobility of the United States military and
civilian vessels and aircraft” (White House, 2009: 2-3).
There are, however, also more sophisticated pictures when emphasizing the importance of
sovereignty and national security: for example, the Kingdom of Denmark’s strategy makes a
linkage between the importance of security and for protecting the economic base of
Greenland’s economy. The Norwegian strategy states that climate change has an impact on
the security of countries and peoples, and includes energy as a part of security policy. This is