Canada’s Arctic Council leadership gets mixed reviews

By Eilis Quinn

The Alaska Dispatch

Canada is now just over one year into its two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

It assumed leadership of the circumpolar forum last May with an ambitious plan centered on northern development.

But now, at the mid-point of its mandate, Canada is getting mixed reviews from experts.

‘Development of the North for the people of the North’

The business focus of Canada’s Arctic Council mandate was welcomed in many of Canada’s northern communities when it took over from previous chair Sweden.

At the time, Terry Audla, president of Canada’s national Inuit organization, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, said it sent a positive signal to Northerners.

Militaries Know That The Arctic Is Melting — Here’s How They’re Taking Advantage

By Jeremy Bender and Michael Kelley

Business Insider – Australia

The new Wild West

The Arctic, long considered an almost worthless backwater, is primed to become one of the most important regions in the world as its ice melts over the next few decades.

Unlike every other maritime area in the world, there is no overarching legal treaty governing the Arctic. Instead, the Arctic Council, made up of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the U.S., oversees and coordinates policy.

But the Arctic Council has no regulatory power. The countries only use the Council to communicate on policy and research and each member state is free to pursue its own policies within their declared Arctic boundaries.

Northwest Territories and Beaufort Region Face Vast Arctic Opportunities, but Need Stronger National Support, Says New CIGI Paper


Digital Journal

The Northwest Territories (NWT) is arguably the most promising economic region in the Canadian Arctic, but to realize its full potential, national infrastructure planning and investment is urgently required, according to a new report issued by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).

In CIGI Policy Brief No. 40, “The Northwest Territories and Arctic Maritime Development in the Beaufort Area,” John Higginbotham and Marina Grosu say, “Arctic marine transport and infrastructure are central to the sustainable development of Canadian Arctic communities.” The NWT, with its public and private potential, scale of resources, variety of transport routes, well-functioning territorial government and close cooperation with neighbours, “should use devolution as a new opportunity for enhanced land/marine partnerships with the federal government, similar to federal-provincial nation building transportation projects in [Canada’s] South.”