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How has Arctic coastal state cooperation affected the Arctic Council?

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The Ilulissat Meeting in 2008 was widely seen as the onset of enhanced cooperation between the five Arctic coastal states (Canada, Denmark (via Greenland), Norway, Russia, and the United States, commonly known as the A5). At the time, many diplomats and analysts feared that this enhanced emphasis of coastal state cooperation would undermine existing governance structures in the region, most importantly the Arctic Council. This article looks back at the period between 2008 and 2019 in order to examine what impact the A5 has had on the Arctic Council. It demonstrates that the A5 has changed over time to become a functional supplement to the Arctic Council. The Ilulissat Meeting did not specify whether the A5 would become a competitor of the Arctic Council nor did the coastal states’ behavior dispel the critics’ fear that it would undermine the Arctic Council. However, from 2010, the coastal states changed how they use the A5, which has become a low level forum predominantly for scientists and civil servants to address issues that are not easily covered by the Arctic Council, and where other actors besides the coastal states are occasionally invited to attend meetings. This change of practice has thus diminished the tensions between the A5 and the Arctic Council. However, some of the underlying ambiguities of the key features of the A5 have not been addressed. The role of the A5 can change in the future, which could reactivate the tensions of the past.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer104239
TidsskriftMarine Policy
Vol/bind122
Antal sider7
ISSN0308-597X
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2020
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