Why governance of the North needs to go beyond the Arctic Council

OpenCanada.org posted an article titled, “Why governance of the North needs to go beyond the Arctic Council .” The article reads in part as follows;

“The rise in geopolitical importance of the Arctic region since the mid-2000s has been well articulated and documented. Concomitantly, the stature of the Arctic Council, the region’s premier intergovernmental forum, has gone up, as demonstrated by a growing interest in the organization by both Arctic and non-Arctic state governments.

This state of affairs has led many commentators to invest in the Arctic Council as a monopolizing force in Arctic politics; to place it at the apex of a hierarchical pyramid, rather than just one among many regional organizations. The clearest evidence of this has been the undue importance assigned to the Observership that was granted to a number of Asian states to the Arctic Council in 2013; the reaction against the so-called Arctic Five grouping of Arctic littoral states (Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Norway, the United States and Russia), which has been denounced as undermining the Arctic Council and the regional stability and peaceful consensus it has embodied; and the lamentation that the Arctic Council doesn’t address traditional security and military issues in the region.

There is no doubt that the Arctic Council is an important – probably the most important – intergovernmental forum in the Arctic region. But it is facile to suggest that all Arctic affairs can or should fall within its mandate. The Arctic Council has real structural and organizational limitations. As regional governance gets more complex, additional forums should be welcomed – or as many already exist, recognized – for the role they play in effectively governing the Arctic.”

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