The role of the Arctic Council’s role in environmental norm-making in the globalization context

Lead Author Camille, Escudé
Institution Contact Sciences Po Paris Doctoral School Camille Escudé 10, rue Bellot 75019 Paris France
Theme Theme 2: Vulnerability of Arctic Societies
Session Name 2.1 The role of law and institutions in Arctic transformation process
Datetime Wed, Sep 14, 2016 01:20 PM - 01:40 PM
Presentation Type Oral
Abstract text I will try to make a critical assessment of the impact and influence of the Arctic Council as main norm producer in the Arctic. The key to success of the Council lies in its generative role, and over the years the AC has built a foundation on shared norms and values. I will therefore observe the progress of AC deliverables and agreements, the consequence of the evolution from a norm and policy-shaping to an increasingly policy-making body, and the political visions that underlines its production.
The AC has often been viewed as politically ineffective, with lots of talks but little action on issues relating to its mandates of environmental protection and sustainable development. It turned out that despite - or thanks to its internal limitations, the AC reached big results in terms of norm-making, after the twenty first years of his term.
I would like to accentuate the paradox of a soft law body that produces binding agreements, advocating for the "Strength of Weak Ties”, resuming Mark Granovetter's expression (1973).
Ironically, the strength of the AC is to have managed to remain flexible with its structure and organization of soft law, which could be a precursor medium to cooperate in the global field of environment. It is this strength of flexibility, this ability to bend without breaking flexibility in international relations that seems particularly valuable in operation of the AC, as a facilitator of regional cooperation.
Soft law is often viewed as a step in the development of the standard that would evolve in time in hard law. My approach is on the contrary to consider the soft law as a new and effective method to implement environmental standards. It seems to be the direction the AC moves, which is likely to implement binding agreements retaining its soft law structure.
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