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Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, USA December 13 2011
The Arctic Council (consisting of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the U.S.A.) achieved a milestone in its short history on May 12, 2011 by concluding, in Nuuk, Greenland, the “Agreement on cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic”. This “SAR Agreement” is the Council’s first legally binding international agreement, and resulted from years of effort by the Council’s staff and the governments of the Arctic Council’s Member States (the “Parties”). The Agreement aims to strengthen cooperation and coordination in the Arctic in aeronautical and maritime search and rescue operations carried out on the ―territory‖ of the Parties (meaning their respective land areas, internal waters and territorial seas, together with the superjacent airspace). Such operations are to be carried out on the basis of the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue 1979 (the ―SAR Convention‖) and the Convention on International Civil Aviation 1944 (the ―Chicago Convention‖), with additional guidelines provided by the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual (the ―IAMSAR Manual‖). Search and rescue regions are defined for each Party, which are required to establish, operate and maintain an ―adequate and effective search and rescue capability‖ within precisely defined areas of their territory. The ―Competent Authority‖ of each Party is also identified, Canada‘s being the Minister of National Defence. The agencies responsible for search and rescue are also identified for each Party, which in Canada‘s case are the Canadian Forces and the Canadian Coast Guard. The aeronautical and maritime ―rescue coordination center‖ (―RCC‖) of each Party is identified. In Canada, the RCC is the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton, Ontario. Parties may request permission to enter the territory of other Parties for search and rescue purposes (including refueling), and must be advised as soon as possible whether such entry has been permitted and, if so, under what conditions, if any, the mission may be undertaken. The most expeditious border crossing procedure possible, according to law and international obligations, shall apply in such cases. The Parties are required by the Agreement to exchange information that improves the effectiveness of search and rescue operations (e.g. re communications; search and rescue, fueling, supply and medical facilities; airfields and ports and their refueling and resupply capabilities). They must also promote cooperation, giving consideration to collaboration on many matters (e.g. exchanges of experience and visits, sharing of observations, ship reporting systems, information systems, support services, joint research and development initiatives and exercises). The Parties must meet regularly to consider and resolve issues of practical cooperation. Joint reviews of major joint search and rescue operations are encouraged after such operations have been conducted. It is to be hoped that the Arctic Council States will implement this Agreement quickly and that it will contribute significantly to enhancing the safety of both shipping and aviation in the far northern regions of our planet. The adoption of the Agreement suggests that in future, the Arctic Council will play a more significant role in creating a new, cooperative and constructive legal regime for the Arctic. In this regard, it is significant that the Council, in its Nuuk Declaration, announced its intention to establish a Task Force to report to Senior Arctic Officials on the development of an international instrument on Arctic marine oil pollution preparedness and response. It also urges the IMO to complete its work on the long-awaited mandatory polar code. THE ARCTIC COUNCIL SETS ITS COURSE FOR TOMORROW In addition to adopting ―SAR‖ in the Arctic, the Arctic Council set forth the specifics of its work program for the next few years, in its Nuuk Declaration of May 12, thus setting the course for the Council‘s future work in improving the life of the Arctic peoples and their circumpolar environment. The following are some highlights of the Nuuk Declaration: Establishing a permanent secretariat for the Arctic Council, in Tromsø, Norway, no later than 2013, when Canada again assumes chairmanship of the Council. Establishing a task force to implement decisions strengthening the Arctic Council. Adopting criteria to evaluate pending applications for observer status in the Arctic Council (e.g. from China and the European Union). Developing a Strategic Communications Plan for the Council. Recognizing the need to improve the physical and mental health and well-being of the Arctic‘s indigenous peoples and residents and to assess human development in the Arctic. I nstructing Senior Arctic Officials (the body that directs the Council‘s work, meeting every six months) to consider how best to follow up on the recommendations made by the ―SWIPA‖ Report on ―Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic‖, in view of climate change as it affects the cryosphere. Supporting the reduction of black carbon and other emissions and establishing a ―Short-Lived Climate Forcer Contaminants project steering group‖ to conduct circumpolar demonstra tion projects to reduce such emissions. Supporting intergovernmental negotiations of the UN Environment Program towards a global agreement on reducing mercury emissions. Approving use of traditional knowledge of the Arctic‘s indigenous peoples in measures to address climate change. Establishing an expert group on ecosystem-based management of the Arctic environment. Working on an Arctic marine oil pollution preparedness and response agreement; calling for the Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response Working Group to develop best practices for the prevention of marine oil pollution; and encouraging Senior Arctic Officials to consider that Working Group‘s report, ―Behavior of Oil and Other Hazardous Substances in Arctic Waters‖. Supporting the SAR Agreement and urging the IMO to complete its mandatory polar code for Arctic shipping. Fostering the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON) process for enhancing scientific observations and data-sharing and promoting the ―Knowledge to Action‖ Conference in Montréal in 2012 (the concluding event of the International Polar Year). Inviting Senior Arctic Officials to consider supporting the proposal for an ―International Polar Decade‖ to undertake further research on the Arctic environment, in light of the speed of climate change. Encouraging continuing support for the University of Arctic on its tenth anniversary. Reiterating the need for adequate financing of circumpolar coopera tion and the participation of the six Permanent Participants (indigenous groups) in Arctic Council structures and projects. Committing the Arctic Council to continued cooperation with ―other relevant bodies‖. The Arctic Council‘s work program represents a major strategic plan for addressing a host of concerns.
particularly the loss of permafrost and land-fast sea ice. such as freshwater supplies. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will attend the 7th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting. The United States contributed to the SWIPA report by serving as the lead for several chapters and by providing numerous authors and expert reviewers. … loss of ice and snow in the Arctic enhances climate warming by increasing absorption of the sun‘s energy at the surface of the planet. 2011 Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joined her counterparts at the May 12. Based on temperature measurements going back to around 1880 and using evidence such as lake sediments. ice caps. mountain glaciers. perhaps within the next thirty to forty years. The Snow. Loss of ice and snow in the Arctic accelerates global climate warming because the darker surface absorbs more of the sun‘s energy. The report assembles the latest scientific knowledge about the changing state of each component of the Arctic ‗cryosphere‘. likely within the next thirty to forty years. The Arctic Ocean is projected to become mostly ice-free in late summer within this century.95 to 5. Model projections reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007 underestimated the rates of change now observed in sea ice. The council has not kept pace with the rate of change occurring in the region to date and. released an assessment report on the impacts of climate change on Snow. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. The report represents the culmination of a multi-year study that included contributions from scientists and indigenous groups from all of the Arctic States and additional expertise from nonArctic communities as well. This has consequences for people who depend on Arctic ecosystems to supplement their livelihoods. The report goes on to assess how changes to human activities and ecosystem services within the cryosphere. underscoring its importance for achieving substantive agreements on the myriad challenges facing the region. Climate change One such contentious concern is the impact of climate change on the Arctic. Arctic summer temperatures over the past few decades have been higher than at any time in two thousand years. It could also dramatically increase emissions of carbon dioxide and methane and change large-scale ocean currents.including snow. and Arctic ice loss will make a substantial contribution to this.9 to 1. and oil and gas extraction in one of the last unexploited regions of the planet. Water. Greenland. Ice. economic. Interactions (‗feedbacks‘) between elements of the cryosphere and the climate system are particularly uncertain. Iceland. particularly on the issues of climate change and drilling in the Arctic. Issues of interest The last six years (2005-2010) have been the warmest period ever recorded in the Arctic.have all been declining faster since 2000 than they did in the previous decade. The largest bodies of ice in the Arctic – multi-year sea ice.6m (2. and Sweden. Finland. and runways. tree rings and ice cores. fishing.25 ft) by 2100. will impact the Arctic ecosystem as well as people living within the Arctic and elsewhere in the world. Denmark. Warming seas mean less ice.including roads. It could also turn the Arctic into a net source of carbon dioxide and methane and change large-scale ocean currents. The formal agenda includes the signing of an Arctic search-and-rescue coordination treaty—noteworthy as the first legally binding agreement to be signed by the eight member nations—which will hopefully pave the way for similar agreements on more controversial issues. as well as representatives of the Arctic indigenous populations— will address several issues regarding the role of the council and how these nations can work together to address the effect the rapidly changing Arctic will continue to have on the environmental. Changes in the cryosphere cause fundamental changes to the characteristics of Arctic ecosystems and in some cases loss of entire habitats. and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA). which means increased access for shipping. Water. ice caps and the Greenland Ice Sheet . The extent and duration of snow cover and sea-ice have decreased across the Arctic while the temperature of the permafrost (frozen ground) has risen by up to 2°C over the last few decades. there is an overwhelming lack of unified. conducted by the council‘s scientific arm. member states—Canada.faces increased risks of damage due to changes in the cryosphere. DC May 12. Arctic infrastructure. ice on rivers and lakes. which may have a significant impact on the acceleration of sea-level rise in the future. in welcoming the release of a major climate science report on the state of the frozen Arctic. a working group of the Arctic Council. frozen ground. ice sheets and sea ice. The combined outcome of these effects is not yet known. glaciers. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP). strategic management structures. CAP‘s Joe Romm commented on this groundbreaking report: The Arctic Ocean is projected to become nearly ice-free in summer within this century.Arctic Council Completes Major Science Report on the State of the Arctic Cryosphere Fact Sheet Office of the Spokesman Washington. 2011 Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Nuuk. as a result. Russia. . Today. Norway. Clinton will be the first secretary of state to ever attend an Arctic Council meeting. U. The combined outcome of these effects is not yet known. the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme.S. Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic assessment.or ice-bound environment . At the meeting. and national security interests of each nation. Global sea level is projected to rise by 0. sewer systems. found that observed effects of climate change in the Arctic are much more extensive and rapid than scientists predicted. There remains a great deal of uncertainty about how fast the Arctic cryosphere will change in the future and what the ultimate impacts of the changes will be.
A spill anywhere in the Arctic could take years to clean up and would be catastrophic to the entire region. considering it a vital part of their cultural heritage. The bi-annual resource report from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. Emotions are also running high as many circumpolar nations are exceedingly sensitive towards developments in the High North due to the fact that they identify themselves with the Arctic. Royal Dutch Shell submitted ―risky‖ plans to the U.2 feet by 2100. for example. The High North is also rich in natural resources. Arctic militarization is driven by domestic dynamics. responsible policy on offshore drilling is an agenda item that cannot wait any longer. under which each claimant state can extend their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) if it can prove that the geological structure of the continental shelf is an extension of its continental platform. with the added influence of Secretary Clinton. a Scottish company. the coastal Arctic states reconfirmed their commitment to UNCLOS at a meeting in Ilulissat. This would include a robust agreement for mitigating global warming. The Great Game in the Arctic Simultaneously. Besides energy resources. The legislation would completely disregard the lessons learned in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and instead open up enormous areas of the outer continental shelf to drilling. U. The U. and diplomatic disadvantage. The distance from Shanghai to New Jersey. they would avoid the politically volatile Middle East and piracy at the Horn of Africa.S. will allow new efficient trade routes. today‘s Arctic Ministerial provides the unique opportunity to fully apprehend the current situation in the world‘s last great frontier and take concrete steps to protect it. it has been all the rage for politicians and the Armed Forces to paint a dramatic picture of a new emerging ‗great game‘ in the Arctic. and projectdriven Arctic organizations. In the immediate term. as well as . Department of the Interior just last week seeking permission for four exploratory wells over the next two years in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska‘s North Slope. is unlike any other region in which these companies are currently drilling. The Arctic. which notes the potential vulnerability of the United States to terrorist and criminal acts in the Arctic region.‖ Like climate change. Moreover. The role of non-state actors Instead. it is these exact Sturm und Drang appeals for greater military securitization of the Arctic that may actually back-fire turning into self-fulfilling prophecies that could culminate in an arms race. particularly conflicting territorial claims and managing maritime resources. ―It took BP months to stop Macondo. the Arctic is also home to important fish stocks and precious metals. published last month. Pressing the issue even further is the fact that this week. Global warming unlocks new treasures It is clear that Arctic states wish to increase their sovereignty over these disputed waters as global warming will unlock a host of new treasures. developing a unified. which includes resource wars and threats to national interest and sovereignty. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted 7 to 23 inches of sea-level rise in 2007 but didn‘t count the effect of vast amounts of melting ice in Greenland. Greenland in May 2008. policy in the Arctic to date has been to remain outside Arctic governing structures. oil companies are eager to tap into the potential riches. with expedited permitting and no increased safety measures. with a fleet of 6.000 people and a bill of about $40 billion.500 ships. which has been in place for 30 years and has been signed by nearly 160 countries and the EU. According to the US Geological Survey the region possesses 13 per cent of the world‘s undiscovered oil and 30 per cent of undiscovered natural gas. recently won approval to begin drilling four wells this year in Greenland—the first exploration to take place off the country‘s coast in a decade. Such new commercial sea lanes could also relieve congestion on bottlenecks such as the Suez and Panama Canals as well as the Strait of Malacca. requires swift ratification of the Law of the Sea Convention. This Ministerial. the Republican-controlled U. or to only participate in informal. for example. And the company has plans to file requests for up to six more wells in the Chukchi Sea off the western coast of Alaska. valued at about $9. failure to ratify will leave the United States at an economic.S. however. or UNCLOS.N. what is urgently needed is not an uncoordinated zealous and emotional push for greater military involvement but better civilian governance and inter-state cooperation. multiyear contingency plan to manage the onslaught of offshore drilling in the Arctic. weather that can ground aircraft for days or weeks. The time has now passed for the council to launch further task forces or commission more studies into the matter.‖ Cairn. Twenty-foot swells. navigation. illustrates this by pointing out that Norway will have to go further into the Arctic if it wishes to maintain production figures. Dealing with climate change in the short term will require concrete commitments from every Arctic Council member nation to aggressively curb greenhouse gas emissions. and a complete lack of infrastructure make a spill of any size more likely and nearly impossible to clean up. without a demonstrated ability to adequately respond to a spill. Offshore drilling Another critical discussion item will be Secretary Clinton‘s push for an Arctic oil spill response task force. the circumpolar nations‘ security and defence establishments play a particular role as they naturally wish to expand their operational scope and responsibilities as well as budgets.S. This approach will not work any longer. would be 4. the extraction of natural resources. new supplies in the Arctic will sooner or later have to be brought online in order to meet global demand. is a top priority of Secretary Clinton and several other leaders in the international affairs and national security community. shipping companies.S. The melting of Arctic ice. Almost a fifth of the world‘s remaining oil and gas is thought to lie north of the Arctic Circle. real threats to sovereignty are emerging from cross-boundary issues and non-state actors. provides the ideal forum for such a commitment. represent roughly 25 per cent of the global catch of whitefish. and with gas prices rising. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea One issue that will not be discussed formally is the failure of the United States to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. with 50. Secretary Clinton must leverage her considerable clout to obtain a responsible. Cod in the Barents Sea and Pollock in the Russian Far East of the Arctic. the creation of an efficient multilateral governance ‗umbrella‘ mechanism for the Arctic which will cover environmental protection. Fact of the matter is that the issue of Arctic sovereignty and resources is still determined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).‖ Now more than ever will the Arctic need a unified approach to addressing the threats the region is facing. for example. ―is not the sort of company that can afford to take a $40 billion hit on an oil spill. Ironically. Shell has invested billions of dollars into exploring Arctic drilling. This further impedes rational policy-making and explains why classical hard security threats are exaggerated. such as UNCLOS. as well as the suffering ecosystem and native populations that depend on it for survival. strategic. The very fact that military chest-thumping and gung-ho sovereignty exercises in the region can provide politicians with an increased popularity amongst the electorate is also certainly not forgotten by Arctic governments. Both climate change and expanded resource extraction will have a significant impact on the economic development and national security of the region. While the treaty‘s prospects in this Senate remain uncertain. Any comprehensive U. In addition. will not only affect the local eco-system and indigenous ways of life but it will also lead to a catastrophic rise in the world‘s ocean levels endangering small island states and other low-lying areas A melting Arctic and the new resources and transport routes available will also attract a panoply of oil and gas majors. House of Representatives will continue debate on a trio of sweeping offshore drilling bills. as is currently negotiated. This dramatic shift will have untold ramifications for the hundreds of millions of people living in coastal communities around the world. policy aimed at protecting our interests in the Arctic. however. The latter has particularly been identified by January‘s US Presidential Directive. A recent report issued by the Center for Strategic and International Studies highlights this trend: ―With greater accessibility to the Arctic region and its abundant resources come both new opportunities for multilateral cooperation and the potential for regional competition and dispute. subzero temperatures. Oil companies are primed to drive their drill bits into the Arctic and will not wait for the council or any other governing body to deliberate their course of action.8 billion. Accession to the international treaty. As Ben Ayliffe of Greenpeace International points out. much of it offshore. tour operators and criminal activity ranging from human traffickers and drug cartels to terrorist groups. for example. Cairn. As such. technical.350 miles shorter than through the Panama Canal. Climate change and the melting of the Arctic‘s ice cap. Scientists and politicians rather than troops will therefore decide the Arctic‘s fate. and legal frameworks.Perhaps the most alarming finding in the report is the prediction that sea level will rise up to 5. Here. In this context. polar invertebrates represent a valuable resource for the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors as they are used in the production of analgesics and other types of medication. With dwindling oil and gas reserves from conventional fields. In addition.
the key being a proactive approach to the environment. allowing faster connection times in the U. The Bahamas often is used as a gateway for drugs andillegal aliens bound for the United States. say climate change is a major threat to the Bahamas. What would that kind of Arctic be like? Would it constitute a militarization of the Arctic? Would such a development encourage conflict? The more important question is how can Arctic states undertake Arctic Patrol Ship construction programs without jeopardizing the stability of the Arctic? The answer is to commit to an Arctic Council Security Agreement centered around the creation of a multi-national Arctic Response Force that recognizes and respects states. and the Bahamian governments have worked together on reducing crime and addressing migration issues. Once atmospheric CO2 reaches a certain level.8 million gallons of crude oil that was released into the ocean over a three month period. head to head. ―In the future. surveillance. everyone just needs to get on board" he said. civil aviation. The main goal is to reduce atmospheric CO2 to 350 parts per million. Without one. The latest pronouncement came from the Russian Federation. in 2005. According to Captain Stewart. Recycling Cpt Stewart went on to suggest the creation of a recycling system." Bahamian–US relations The Bahamas and the United States historically have had close economic and commercial relations. U. Specific effects of climate change that could impact the Bahamas include: rising sea levels. marine research. which makes them off limits to large fishing boats. Then imagine Arctic states navies going to war. a regional security agreement should be put in place as the Arctic opens to increased exploitation to guarantee stability and security. are interviewed and inspected before departure. Travelers to the U. The Arctic region comprised of five littoral states. The acidic water dissolves the shells of carbonic animals such as crabs. events are left to chance and chance is a fickle partner. Imagine in 2040 the Arctic Ocean is navigable for an extended period each summer. which is attributed to global warming. which scientists and activists say results from human activity such as the burning of fossil fuels. plankton absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and release oxygen into the water making it more acidic. Norway and Denmark currently possess armed Arctic patrol ships. climate change is very serious issue for a maritime state like the Bahamas. The United States and The Bahamas cooperate closely to handle these threats. the ocean. Arctic states must come back to their senses and realise that increasing their military presence will not solve the region‘s problems but might actually serve to exacerbate tensions. on 19 October 2011 Canada‘s National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) Secretariat announced Irving Shipbuilding. docked in the harbour for maintenance and crew changes. the effects will be irreversible. currently docked in Nassau on one of the environmental group's ships. and their indigenous populations sovereignty. eight Arctic Council member states and several indigenous nations all have a vested interest in a stable Arctic today for economic and security reasons. "There is a road map/plan that will phase out the use of fossil fuels and introduce clean alternative energy sources without destroying the economy.S. Regulating the reserves in partially sensitive sea areas (PSSA).S. The countries share ethnic and cultural ties.000 American residents. Navy operates an underwater research facility on Andros Island. as disbursement agents were used on the some 205. Increasing the volume of marine reserves would also be a logical step in the protection and conservation of the Bahamian marine environment. Inc. and acidification of the atmosphere and in turn. The United States and The Bahamas also actively cooperate on law enforcement. coral bleaching. So it isn‘t to hard to imagine an Arctic where every Arctic nation has its own fleet of armed Arctic patrol ships like the one pictured above. in the Arctic Ocean over natural resources. said Cpt Stewart. weather reporting and good mapping. He said: "Climate change is a severe threat to global security . The Norwegian Svalbard class and the Danish Thetis-class ice. In addition. He said: "Recycling is easy and can be mutually beneficial. The Bahamas and its political stability are especially important to the United States. The atmospheric CO2 is currently 387 parts per million. The Bahamas is home to approximately 30. He emphasised the point that it is not too late to reverse the effects of climate change. meteorology. especially in education. allowed The Tribune aboard to discuss Greenpeace's environmental campaigns and the possible impact of global warming on the Bahamas. According to CPU Gamer. According to Joel Stewart.S.S. civilization is still reliant on petroleum.-related businesses in The Bahamas and. both of which are abundant in the Bahamas. He said: "It will probably be 10 years before we can understand the full environmental effects of that disaster and the possibility of the currents pushing the oil into Caribbean waters is very real. Despite the projected proliferation of ice-capable Arctic patrol ships. Arctic states are actively undertaking major Arctic shipbuilding programs.S. Long-term stability in a region could be jeopardized by misunderstandings and further exacerbated by a general lack of a shared vision. cargo and cruise ships. Climate change. A computer game set to be released in the second quarters of 2012 called Naval War: Arctic Circle. is a huge increase. The Arctic Sunrise. However. would decrease potentially damaging human interaction with the fragile marine life. had been selected to build the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship. . He said: "Just because the Bahamas is a small country does not mean it cannot make a difference and have a global impact".‖ The irony of the scenario Naval War: Arctic Circle projects is exactly why an international mechanism is needed to preclude such a scenario.S. It is important for the Bahamas to phase out the use of fossil fuel and invest in clean energy sources such as solar and wind power. The U. this does not currently constitutes a threat to Arctic security. increase in the intensity and frequency of hurricanes. It would be a way to reduce the country's carbon footprint and is an easy way to save money in the disposal of garbage and waste".we must find a new energy methods in order to reduce CO2 emissions". oysters and more important to the Bahamas. is an increase in the average temperature of Earth's near-surface air and oceans caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2). The U. 87% of the 5 million tourists visiting The Bahamas were American. GREENPEACE activists. who on 20 December 2011 announced the Zvezdochka yard in Severodvinsk will begin construction of ice-class vessels crewed by a complement of sixty and designed to transport military hardware. and agricultural issues. there are about 110 U. a 22-year veteran of the organisation and captain of Greenpeace's "Arctic Sunrise" icebreaker ship. With the closest island only 45 miles from the coast of Florida.capable patrol ships current operate in Arctic waters. which compared to the pre-industrial age's 280 parts per million. To avoid jeopardizing the current stability of the Arctic. As a neighbor. brokering an Arctic Council Security Agreement is perhaps the best way to avoid militarization of the Arctic in the longer-term. Cpt Stewart explained that the Bahamas may also be effected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also known as the BP oil spill). assistance and resources have been essential to Bahamian efforts to mitigate the persistent flow of illegal narcotics and migrants through the archipelago. The nations of the far north struggle to harness the rich untapped wells of the Arctic Circle and will go to war to guarantee control of the black gold.effective and co-ordinated civilian enforcement of the region in order to impose clear rules of conduct as well as provide maritime services such as search and rescue. The Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Customs and Border Protection maintains "preclearance" facilities at the airports in Nassau and Freeport. By the same token. imagines just such an environment. but the easily accessible land-based oil reserves are dwindling rapidly. corals and reefs.
and 8) specific instructions. Arctic nations like Canada. What will happen when these nations. 3) shared challenges. The concept put forward in this article is simply a regionalization of the Danish model. ice-capable ship building programs? Will this lead to a militarization the Arctic? Will a nation or nations feel threatened and jeopardize the stability and security of the region? One might ask what would jeopardize stability and security? The answer is economic interests. Denmark. just to name a few. The UN could be likely a candidate. Furthermore. Possible candidates include the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Consequently. Collectivized security by its very nature is intended to be a guarantor of transparency. states should frame their commitment of resources to preserve Arctic security and ensure a peaceful opening of the Arctic. The EU is not a likely candidate because not all Arctic Council nations are part of the EU and some of these countries overtures to join the EU have been spurned. Russia and Norway have a direct interest. Therefore. Challenges and missions should also be informed by the permanent representatives to the Arctic Council. Sweden. Framed by a comprehensive list of defined challenges. the logical answer is a fundamental change to the Arctic Council‘s charter.. the United Nations (UN). Ideally. Following a statement of shared interests and sovereign responsibility. to sustain security and stability of the region. but these should be limited. There was a war in the name of the Cod fish in the last century. There should be little need to highlight the reported natural resources of the Arctic. Next. it seeks to link. And as discussed previously. environmental response assistance. It maybe necessary to form sub-committees. 7) exercises and conferences. maritime security. Assuming for a moment Arctic nations were willing to collectively secure the Arctic region. Arctic states should look to their indigenous populations to serve as the backbone of their Arctic Response Force.committees should be expressed. aids to navigation . Senate to accession to the Law of the Sea Treaty to understand the challenge associated with this option. Fisheries Management. The recent Arctic Council Search & Rescue Agreement highlights a principle concern of its member states. states should outline their shared challenges. the approaches and exits are adjacent to other Arctic states. Denmark and Norway are in varying stages of building a fleet of armed Arctic patrol ships. Before discussing the content of an Arctic Council Security Agreement. because not all challenges will be realized today. The Arctic today consists of two primary shipping routes. Resourcing should attempt to link indigenous efforts such as the Canadian Rangers and other analogous indigenous security forces.S. let‘s consider possible options. Chief among states interests should be a peaceful opening of the Arctic. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization cannot be considered a likely candidate because some of the Arctic Council nations are not member states and Russia would interpret the Alliance‘s presence in the Arctic as tantamount to encirclement. poaching and whaling. If that is not persuasive enough. the Arctic Council (AC) and perhaps an ad hoc organization. Caution is strongly recommended when amending international treaties or agreements. security? Success being defined as all Arctic nations agree to collectivized security and the Arctic opens in a peaceful manner consistent with international norms. a clear statement of sovereign responsibility should be articulated at this point. and their indigenous population‘s. Where economic interests proceed. Finland. has proposed creation of a national Arctic Response Force. In short. The point is the challenge associated with an opening Arctic is one that should be undertaken by all and codified in an agreement. The nation who holds the chairmanship of the Arctic Council should host the aforementioned forums. in a coherent way.. What may concerned them is surrender of their sovereignty. defense and security leadership should form an Arctic Council Chiefs of Defense and Chiefs of Coast Guard forum. the notion of an Arctic security agreement and an Arctic Response Force is not expected to pool resources or levy a membership fee. So. in addition to an Arctic Council Security Agreement. collaboration and trust. and perhaps other Arctic nations. One way of looking at these options is to ask oneself which organization represents the best guarantor of Arctic nation‘s. each nations territory into a regional security architecture.But under which international body should a regional security agreement be brokered? Preliminarily. lest we forget. prevent eco-terrorism. Russia and the United States all have an interest in this vessel‘s safe passage in or near their territorial waters. one can only assume that in twenty years time much more of the Arctic Ocean will be navigable. it is worth mentioning that leadership is a key component of this agreement. But. Furthermore. prevent illegal fishing. the United States. etc. Iceland and Denmark. structuring them as first responders and guides. Congress would likely interpret participation under the UN as an encroachment on its sovereignty. consider the recent rhetoric of China‘s Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo: "The Arctic belongs to all the people around the world as no nation has sovereignty over it. designed to provide security for its Arctic waters. Sub-committees might include Maritime Domain Awareness. along the Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage for the immediate future. organization of a Chiefs of Defense and Coast Guards forum and necessary sub. Some Arctic member states inherently realize collective security is the right idea. nations should also commit themselves to a multilateral Arctic Response Force. This high ideal should serve as the preamble to the Arctic Council Security Agreement. Governing states willingness to commit to such an arrangement is their shared interests. Rather. there are significant obstacles to creating an Arctic Council agreement because the council‘s charter precludes it from dealing with matter related to military security. if the satellite record data continues to reveal a receding ice cap. Finland. To gain consensus on the challenges and missions it will be necessary to look for the common challenges resident in Arctic states‘ strategic documents. But the obstacles associated with an Arctic Council Security Agreement aside. Arctic states should outline agreed missions to meet the challenges. however. 5) state resources. but link together national efforts under a single agreement that provides security for the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas. commit to armed. Arctic risks are assumed by all the Arctic states and their indigenous populations. ensure the freedom of navigation. Environmental Response. Arctic challenges are shared by governments and by national defense and security organizations. were the United States inclined to join. what is it an Arctic Response Force would be expected to do? Possible missions might include assisting in Search & Rescue efforts. The ideas put forward in this article seek to preserve the integrity of each nations sovereignty. Therefore. cooperation. what should an Arctic Council Security Agreement contain? What are its essential parts? Arctic Council Security Agreement An Arctic Council Security Agreement should comprise at least eight elements: 1) shared interests. 4) shared missions. The idea of an Arctic Response Force is not new. Discussions about environmental response and fisheries protection are further examples of contemporary safety and security needs. While the preponderance of these two routes lie within the Russian Federation‘s and the Government Canada‘s territorial waters. 6) organization of Defense and Coast Guard Chiefs Council. not to mention its cost-saving routes to high latitude ports. If originating in the Baltic. Both challenges and missions should be framed in time-horizons. the European Union (EU). One has only to look at opposition within the U. the Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage.China must play an indispensable role in Arctic exploration as we have one-fifth of the world's population. That is why this author recommends a more nuanced approach. but so might Sweden. it is vital to plan today for tomorrow‘s safety and security challenges.‖ To avoid misperceptions and an Arctic ship building race. security must follow. That leaves either the Arctic Council or an ad hoc organization. The regularity of their meetings should be in keeping with standard Arctic Council procedures. If originating in Asia. Challenges may include Search & Rescue. And these challenges will mainly come on the periphery. The question then is what kind of challenges would encourage Arctic littoral nations to collectivize security? The immediate challenge facing Arctic nations and their indigenous populations are safety and security related. whether it‘s a vessel originating in the Baltic destined to transit the Northern Sea Route or an Asian-based vessel intending to transit the Northwest Passage. Norway. 2) sovereign responsibilities. according to their Arctic strategy.
This dramatic shift will have untold ramifications for the hundreds of millions of people living in coastal communities around the world. and a complete lack of infrastructure make a spill of any size more likely and nearly impossible to clean up. Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic assessment. Dealing with climate change in the short term will require concrete commitments from every Arctic Council member nation to aggressively curb greenhouse gas emissions. failure to ratify will leave the United States at an economic. with the added influence of Secretary Clinton. shared security interests are an essential starting point to ensure a peaceful opening of the Arctic. subzero temperatures. Therefore. militarization.and other security and defense related matters. For example. Today. U. The Arctic. At the meeting. Additionally. there is an overwhelming lack of unified. economic. or to only participate in informal. and Sweden. The combined outcome of these effects is not yet known. This Ministerial. more rapidly perhaps than Arctic nations are preparing to meet the challenges associated with an opening Arctic. Denmark. Without such an agreement. Secretary Clinton must leverage her considerable clout to obtain a responsible. The Arctic is changing rapidly. particularly on the issues of climate change and drilling in the Arctic. Additionally.‖ Cairn. the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme. developing a unified. it is paramount that Arctic Council nations codify an Arctic Council Security Agreement that can serve to govern safety and security in a changing Arctic. The Snow. The time has now passed for the council to launch further task forces or commission more studies into the matter. Oil companies are primed to drive their drill bits into the Arctic and will not wait for the council or any other governing body to deliberate their course of action. Almost a fifth of the world‘s remaining oil and gas is thought to lie north of the Arctic Circle. strategic management structures.2 feet by 2100. The U.8 billion. A spill anywhere in the Arctic could take years to clean up and would be catastrophic to the entire region. Offshore drilling Another critical discussion item will be Secretary Clinton‘s push for an Arctic oil spill response task force. A recent report issued by the Center for Strategic and International Studies highlights this trend: ―With greater accessibility to the Arctic region and its abundant resources come both new opportunities for multilateral cooperation and the potential for regional competition and dispute. policy in the Arctic to date has been to remain outside Arctic governing structures.S. and projectdriven Arctic organizations. multiyear contingency plan to manage the onslaught of offshore drilling in the Arctic. Norway. such as UNCLOS. a Scottish company. House of Representatives will continue debate on a trio of sweeping offshore drilling bills.S. Therefore. today‘s Arctic Ministerial provides the unique opportunity to fully apprehend the current situation in the world‘s last great frontier and take concrete steps to protect it. and diplomatic disadvantage. Warming seas mean less ice. ―It took BP months to stop Macondo. The council has not kept pace with the rate of change occurring in the region to date and. weather that can ground aircraft for days or weeks. Department of the Interior just last week seeking permission for four exploratory wells over the next two years in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska‘s North Slope. Russia. responsible policy on offshore drilling is an agenda item that cannot wait any longer. U. provides the ideal forum for such a commitment. This approach will not work any longer. The legislation would completely disregard the lessons learned in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and instead open up enormous areas of the outer continental shelf to drilling. Finland. without a demonstrated ability to adequately respond to a spill. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea One issue that will not be discussed formally is the failure of the United States to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. with a fleet of 6. there are invariably nature seams in the transition zones between state‘s boundaries that should be addressed to promote cooperation and collaboration.S. The formal agenda includes the signing of an Arctic search-and-rescue coordination treaty—noteworthy as the first legally binding agreement to be signed by the eight member nations—which will hopefully pave the way for similar agreements on more controversial issues. CAP‘s Joe Romm commented on this groundbreaking report: The Arctic Ocean is projected to become nearly ice-free in summer within this century.N. likely within the next thirty to forty years. is unlike any other region in which these companies are currently drilling. And the company has plans to file requests for up to six more wells in the Chukchi Sea off the western coast of Alaska. requires swift ratification of the Law of the Sea Convention. as a result.S. conducted by the council‘s scientific arm. In the immediate term. While the treaty‘s prospects in this Senate remain uncertain. . which means increased access for shipping. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will attend the 7th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting. and oil and gas extraction in one of the last unexploited regions of the planet. Royal Dutch Shell submitted ―risky‖ plans to the U. policy aimed at protecting our interests in the Arctic. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted 7 to 23 inches of sea-level rise in 2007 but didn‘t count the effect of vast amounts of melting ice in Greenland.S. Perhaps the most alarming finding in the report is the prediction that sea level will rise up to 5. Any comprehensive U. underscoring its importance for achieving substantive agreements on the myriad challenges facing the region. … loss of ice and snow in the Arctic enhances climate warming by increasing absorption of the sun‘s energy at the surface of the planet. technical. recently won approval to begin drilling four wells this year in Greenland—the first exploration to take place off the country‘s coast in a decade. ―is not the sort of company that can afford to take a $40 billion hit on an oil spill. as well as the suffering ecosystem and native populations that depend on it for survival. and with gas prices rising. states should draft specific instructions to cover remaining issues that do not fit neatly into previous mentioned categories. much of it offshore. Shell has invested billions of dollars into exploring Arctic drilling. As Ben Ayliffe of Greenpeace International points out. Climate change One such contentious concern is the impact of climate change on the Arctic.500 ships. the Republican-controlled U. with expedited permitting and no increased safety measures. Iceland. oil companies are eager to tap into the potential riches. Cairn.‖ Now more than ever will the Arctic need a unified approach to addressing the threats the region is facing. Accession to the international treaty. particularly conflicting territorial claims and managing maritime resources. they should create an Arctic Response Force as a means to address safety and security challenges. Both climate change and expanded resource extraction will have a significant impact on the economic development and national security of the region. fishing. strategic.000 people and a bill of about $40 billion. Pressing the issue even further is the fact that this week. valued at about $9. Water. or UNCLOS. member states—Canada. It could also dramatically increase emissions of carbon dioxide and methane and change large-scale ocean currents. heightened national security risks and other concerns may lead where Arctic nations do not seek to go. Finally. Clinton will be the first secretary of state to ever attend an Arctic Council meeting. increased defense spending. with 50. however. found that observed effects of climate change in the Arctic are much more extensive and rapid than scientists predicted. as well as representatives of the Arctic indigenous populations— will address several issues regarding the role of the council and how these nations can work together to address the effect the rapidly changing Arctic will continue to have on the environmental. and national security interests of each nation. is a top priority of Secretary Clinton and several other leaders in the international affairs and national security community. Twenty-foot swells. which has been in place for 30 years and has been signed by nearly 160 countries and the EU. guidance as to the regularity of regional exercises and conferences should be communicated.‖ Like climate change.