Arctic Visions | April-May 2013


There’s a great deal of activity in the warming Arctic. As satellite measurements show the ice cap retreating at record rates, Canada and four other Arctic Ocean coastal states have agreed to seek a deal to regulate commercial fishing in the ocean’s international zone. The deal would join existing protocols on search and rescue and responding to oil spills, a welcome demonstration of the awareness of the need to impose rules upon the economic development under way. The diplomatic flurry underscores how the motor of development in the Arctic is revving up. But the implications of more energy exploration, industrial fishing and shipping in the Far North worry many who are living in the circumpolar region, as well as outsiders who are increasingly alarmed about the global impact of changes to the Arctic ecosystem. In this issue, we examine some of those other national visions of the Arctic and provide a sense of how the region looks from Moscow and Beijing, from continental Europe and East Asia. The question is made more pressing by the push from several countries with nontraditional Arctic interests that want to join international forums such as the Arctic Council and assert jurisdiction over the top of the world.

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