Moscow Ready to Cooperate with Northern Rim Nations in High North

28 10 2010

Bochkarev_Danila Comment by Dr. Danila Bochkarev

Climate change is a key factor shaping the contours of international security and policy-making. This is particularly the case in the High North, where the retreating ice cap is likely to create a wide range of new opportunities and challenges.

Melting ice cover facilitates the exploitation of mineral resources and opens up access to fish stocks and new shipping routes in particular, which promise shorter distances for trade between Europe and East Asia. On the other hand, the shrinking of the Arctic’s ice cap, while increasing the region’s geopolitical and geo-economic importance significantly exacerbates its environmental fragility and threatens the traditional way of life of indigenous populations.

The melting of polar ice, resulting insignificantly raised sea levels, would have grave global environmental, economic, and human security ramifications, affecting well-being of around 800 million people around the world.
 
Moscow is by far the major regional player in the Arctic. With significant deposits of mineral resources and fish stocks, Russia’s key economic interests are linked to the High North – the Arctic is home to 1.5 % of the country’s population, but accounts for 11 % of its GDP and 22 % of its national exports.

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EU Clashes with Greenland over Arctic at NATO Conference

15 10 2010

Arctic Council told it is failing to safeguard the region, while EU accused of ‘panic reactions’ over deep-water drilling ban

The European Union has clashed with Greenland and other Arctic nations over their perceived failure to ensure wider international stewardship over the far north.

Diana Wallis, the vice-president of the EU, said she could see “people on the streets” protesting if this fragile environment was not seen to be safeguarded properly.

In response, a Greenland foreign minister accused European countries of “panic reactions” in pushing for a deep-water drilling ban after the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

At a workshop under the aegis of Nato held at Cambridge University, Wallis said she was bored by continuing talk rather than immediate action over wider participation in the Arctic Council.

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