Resurging Geopolitics: Challenges to ‘Concert of Arctic’

Lead Author Fujio, Ohnishi
Institution Contact College of International Relations, Nihon University 2-31-145 Bunkyo-Cho, Mishima-Shi, Shizuoka-Ken 411-8555 Japan Tel :+81-55-980-0793 (Direct) Fax: +81-55-980-0871
Theme Theme 2: Vulnerability of Arctic Societies
Session Name 2.5 Geopolitics and Security of the Arctic
Presentation Type Poster
Abstract text International relations have been stable and peaceful for the last twenty five years. The stability of region was a result of concert of Arctic or Arctic concert system based on Arctic regional order, which formed during the 1990s and developed in the 2000s. However, geopolitical changes caused by climate change gradually influenced concert of Arctic, which now faces three key challenges. First challenge has been the issue of securing marine safety such as search and rescue operation and for training with possible oil spill incident. These kinds of marine safety are incorporated into the Arctic concert system when the Arctic eight concluded the search and rescue agreement in 2011, the oil spill agreement in 2013 and the establishment of Arctic Coast Guard Forum in October last year. However, whether the existing system is able to provide effective and practical cooperation is still to be seen. The second challenge is more intangible but rather intrinsic one. Purely in economic sense, opening-up of Arctic region to global market witnessed gradual emergence of a new political camp between ‘steward states’ and ‘user states,’ irrespective of whatever states recognizes themselves. In order to maintain the Arctic concert system, steward states needed to positions new players within their system, and thus allocated some political benefits to them. Admitting non-Arctic states AC’s observer status was seen as this sort of effort done by steward states, however, since political allocations were so limited within the system, this might not constitute long-term solution. When business card will be superior over science card, there is no assurance that new players would continuously follow and act under the existing system. The third challenge is impacts of the deterioration of the West-Russia relationship on the system. In the worst scenario, Russian alienates from the concert system, which undermines the regional stability.