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Arctic Yearbook 2012
de l’Environnement
1’ – acknowledged that the Arctic region plays a central role in the overall
balance of the planet’s climate. It also states that France will promote “the adaptation of
international regulations for new usages of the Arctic Ocean made possible by decreasing
sea-ice and its accessibility.” Furthermore, the
Grenelle de l’Environnement
also called for the
introduction of an Arctic treaty during the 2008 French Presidency of the Council of the EU
(Sénat, 2009).
Gradually, because of climate change, the French connection with the circumpolar north was
shifting, while “France’s stance on Arctic issues acquired an overtly political character” (CIC,
2011: 10), arguably because Paris was considering the governance structures of the Arctic
(namely UNCLOS, AC, IMO) obsolete, requiring contextual reconfigurations by the
international community, thus having an impact on France’s foreign policy. Impacts of
climate change in the Arctic were conveying responsibilities on the international community
to make sure “exploitation of resources, as well as tourism in these regions [would be
properly] regulated” (Truc, 2011). In that perspective, the Arctic maritime space was being
considered as an international zone like any other where global powers must pursue their
national interests through foreign policy, and by reinforcing international institutions
through dialogue and cooperation. In this process, mentions of existing governance
structures or long-lasting cooperation between Arctic states were limited or simply
Outside the government, other actors also believed that the Arctic needed an enhanced
international framework to protect the region and its inhabitants from any form of economic
activity arising from thawing ice. In 2006, the NGO “
Le Cercle Polaire
” (CP) was created in
France “to develop and promote true scientific understanding of the Arctic and Antarctic
regions, and to encourage the preservation of the polar environments.”
Its mandate also
seeks to develop and promote an international treaty for the Arctic space by promoting “the
principles of international control over and management of the polar environments, through
either the reinforcement of existing regulatory frameworks or the introduction of new
CP was co-founded by Stanislas Pottier and Laurent Mayet. Pottier had previously been
advisor to past minister of the Economy, Industry and Employment, Christine Legarde,
currently president of the IMF, while Mayet, physicist and philosopher, is Associate