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Arctic Yearbook 2012
State of the Arctic Strategies and Policies – A Summary
from exploitation, promoting Swedish environmental technology (ibid: 23-24). Sweden’s
strategy also emphasizes biodiversity.
The US strategy describes the Arctic and its environment as “unique and changing”, and due
to increased human activity “fragile”. Consequently, the State policy aims to “protect the
Arctic environment and conserve its biological resources”, and environmental protection is
listed as a “national interest” and Arctic environmental research, monitoring and
vulnerability assessments as “top priorities” (White House, 2009: 8-9).
In the strategies of the Kingdom of Denmark, Norway and Sweden climate/climate change
is explicitly mentioned in the priorities/priority areas. Interestingly, the Kingdom’s 2011
Strategy mentions the Arctic’s fragile climate, while the Denmark/Greenland’s draft strategy
said that climate change “will increase accessibility and opportunities for exploration”. The
first priority area of the Norwegian strategy is “Developing knowledge about climate change
and the environment in the High North”. And in addition to biodiversity, Sweden’s strategy
also emphasizes research on climate and the environment.
Similarities: Environmental protection including climate change is explicitly defined as one
of the priorities and/or basic objectives of all of the Arctic strategies.
The strategies of Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden
explicitly mention the environmental protection as one of the priority areas. In the US State
Policy environmental protection is mentioned as one of the policy objectives. The strategies
of the Kingdom of Denmark, Norway and Sweden explicitly mention climate change as a
priority area.
Differences: When it comes to describing the nature, or ecosystem, and climate of the
Arctic, the term “unique” is used by the Kingdom of Denmark, Sweden, Russia and the
USA. The term “fragile” is used by the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland and the
USA. The term “vulnerable” is used by Norway and Sweden. The term “environmental
heritage” is used by Canada.
Canada, Finland, Iceland and Russia recognize, even emphasize, that the environment is not
a separate sector (of its own) but an element of a wider whole, such as sovereignty in the
case of Canada, security for Iceland, and environmental security in the case of Russia.