Arctic remains one of the world’s last great, pristine and undeveloped areas. Equivalent to one-sixth of the world’s landmass, the region is home to just 4 million people. The region is rich in both renewable and non-renewable resources.
While the Arctic has been subject to geopolitical pressures during the Second World War and the Cold War, today a combination of resource-hungry great powers, climate change, and rapidly evolving resource extraction technology has now turned one of the world’s most stable regions into a focal point of much geopolitical interest and concern. The question is whether the eight circumpolar states can accommodate not only one another’s interests, but also those aspirant non-Arctic states like China and India, who wish to advance their own respective economic and commercial objectives in the region. In the author’s opinion, such accommodation is possible by building upon the governance structures and successes that have been established in the region over the last 30 years.
About the author:
Jeffrey F. Collins, Research Fellow, Centre for the Study of Security and Development, Dalhousie University, Canada.