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U.S. against militarisation of the Artic

Topics covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

U.S. against militarisation of the Artic:


Context:

On the eve of an Arctic Council meeting of Foreign Ministers, the US has expressed concerns about increased military activities in the Arctic.

  • This comes after Russia defended its military activities in the strategic region.

What are the concerns?

Increased military activities in the Arctic increase the dangers or prospects of accidents and undermines the shared goal of a peaceful and sustainable future for the region.

Background:

President Vladimir Putin has in recent years made Russia’s Arctic region a strategic priority and ordered investment in military infrastructure and mineral extraction, exacerbating tensions with Arctic Council members.

About Arctic council:

It is an Intergovernmental forum which addresses issues faced by the Arctic governments and people living in the Arctic region.

It is Not a treaty-based international organization but rather an international forum that operates on the basis of consensus.

The decisions, recommendations or guidelines of the Arctic Council are non-enforceable and strictly the prerogative of the individual state.

Its mandate explicitly excludes military security.

Who takes part in it?

The 1996 Ottawa Declaration lists the following countries as Members of the Arctic Council: Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States.

In addition, six organizations representing Arctic indigenous peoples have status as Permanent Participants. They include: the Aleut International Association, the Arctic Athabaskan Council, Gwich’in Council International, the Inuit Circumpolar Council, Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North and the Saami Council.

Observer status in the Arctic Council is open to non-Arctic states, along with inter-governmental, inter-parliamentary, global, regional and non-governmental organizations that the Council determines can contribute to its work.

Arctic Council working groups:

  1. Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP)— strengthening and supporting mechanism to encourage national actions to reduce emissions and other releases of pollutants.
  2. Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) — monitors the Arctic environment, ecosystems and human populations, and provides scientific advice to support governments as they tackle pollution and adverse effects of climate change.
  3. Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) — addresses the conservation of Arctic biodiversity, working to ensure the sustainability of the Arctic’s living resources.
  4. Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR)— protect the Arctic environment from the threat or impact of an accidental release of pollutants or radionuclides.
  5. Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) –protection and sustainable use of the Arctic marine environment.
  6. Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) — works to advance sustainable development in the Arctic and to improve the conditions of Arctic communities as a whole.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is NISER?
  2. About the Arctic Council.
  3. About NCPOR.
  4. What is IndARC?
  5. About India’s permanent research station in the Arctic.

Mains Link:

Discuss the issues associated with militarisation of the Arctic.

Sources: the Hindu.