ARCTIC COUNCIL

Cooling hostility in the North: Initiating Peacebuilding efforts

Difficulity: Intermediate

Double Delegate

Council Description:

Established in 1996, the Arctic Council since then has been the main body promoting cooperation within the Arctic. This council has become the leading body in moderating relations amongst Arctic states and indigenous people on common Arctic issues, particularly those that concern sustainable development and environmental protection. Arctic Council members are defined through the 1996 Ottawa Declaration, consisting of eight permanent members, six indigenous groups of the Arctic as permanent participants with full consultation rights, and observer states and organizations. Throughout the years, the Arctic Council has made several legally binding agreements, namely those that touch upon the issue of oil pollution, search and rescue, as well as scientific cooperation.

Topic Description:

As the earth’s temperature rises, tensions within the Arctic seem to follow suit. The Arctic has been a contested area by states for many reasons; not only is it a major deposit for oil, natural gas, and mineral resources, but as the Arctic's ice planes become thinner, the region could serve as a more efficient trade route. For example, when using the Northwest Passage, the distance from Europe to Asia would only be 15,000 kilometers — a staggering 8,00 kilometer cut from conventional sea routes. Some believed that the region is their sovereign right, however other wishes for it being a part of the international strait that allows free passage. Climate change yields these routes to be accessible and more resources to become exploitable. This then put nations at a crossroads on the security in the Arctic. With the varying perspectives that states have and how indigenous people within the region have been fighting for their self-determination for the past 20 years, it seems necessary to reassess security tensions in this region. Delegates are to give their input on this issue and cool down the hostilities up north to preserve the Arctic as a common heritage of humankind—or other alternatives.

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