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Arctic Yearbook 2012
State of the Arctic Strategies and Policies – A Summary
Norwegian strategy mentions a few important northern universities and other knowledge-
based institutions, and towns in North Norway, such as Tromsø and Kirkenes (Norwegian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2009: 84-88). Finally, the Russian state policy is (almost) all
about the Russian Arctic, while at the same time, it is strongly linked with, and supported, by
other federal policies.
Similarities: The rhetoric of sustainable development/sustainability, when talking about the
utilization of natural resources, is present in all the Arctic strategies. Consequently, all of
them emphasize the sustainable use of energy resources.
Differences: The strategies of the Kingdom of Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Russia take
into consideration regional policy emphasizing the role of the northernmost regions of the
country. In the case of the Danish Realm the positions of the Faroe Islands and Greenland,
particularly the new status of Greenland, are emphasized. The Finnish strategy takes into
consideration the development of regional transport, logistic and communication networks.
Environmental Protection and Climate Change
Canada’s Northern strategy lists protecting the North’s environmental heritage as one of the
“four equally important and mutually reinforcing priorities” of the Canadian Northern policy
(Government of Canada, 2009: 2). Canada aims to “protect the environment in a predictable,
effective and efficient manner” (ibid: 15), demonstrate its role “to play in the ongoing
stewardship of the Canadian Arctic, its vast resources” and this magnificent ecological region
(ibid: 8), improve infrastructure and contribute to “a cleaner environment” (ibid: 17), and
enhance its efforts on other pressing environmental issues.
The Kingdom of Denmark’s strategy describes the climate, nature and wildlife of the Arctic
as “fragile” and “unique”, which “must be managing based on the best possible scientific
knowledge and standards for protection” (Kingdom of Denmark Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, 2011: 43). The environmental dimension of the strategy focuses on strategic
priorities “to improve knowledge building on the consequences of rapid climate change and
to strengthen the protection of the environment and biodiversity” (ibid: 43).
The Finnish strategy devotes the first content chapter to the “Fragile Arctic Nature”, and its
fragility especially in the northern regions of Finland is emphasized. It underscores that
environmental issues are not a “separate sector of their own; instead they are an important