Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 200

200 Arctic Yearbook 2015 the form of the Nordic branch of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, known as the Nordic InterParliamentary Union (Piotrowski 2006b). Subsequent phases of this collaboration enabled the creation of new institutions (Schouenborg 2012; Fasone 2013), including those that later get engaged in the Arctic region. Inter-parliamentary organisations in the Arctic In the Arctic, regionalization does not take place like it does elsewhere, hampered by the transcontinental nature of the region, low population density, sparse infrastructure, and its landscape of endless sea and ice (Łuszczuk 2013; Knecht 2013). These difficult conditions did not, however, prevent the states of the region from establishing inter-parliamentary cooperation in the Arctic immediately after Cold War rivalries started to fade. This process began among the Scandinavian countries, but subsequently spread to other corners of the Arctic (though with the Nordic countries still in a clear dominant role). The so-called ‘Scandinavian Parliament’ (Piotrowski 2006b: 107) has been a crucial component in the process of tightening cooperation among the countries of Northern Europe. Its initial incarnation was the Nordic Inter-Parliamentary Union, which first convened in 1907. It was under this entity that the countries decided, in 1951, to breathe life into the idea of a ‘pan-Nordic parliament’ (parliamentary council) composed of parliament members from individual Scandinavian countries as well as representatives of their respective governments. Further work on this project led to the adoption of a statute for a new Nordic Council. The subsequent evolution of the Council increased the number of participating countries (since 1970, the five Nordic countries have opened participation in sessions of the Nordic Council to include representatives from local parliaments in the Faroe and Åland Islands, while Greenland was invited in 1983) as well as ever greater diversity in the subject matter, but also had a structural-institutional aspect (e.g. in the creation of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 1971) (Piotrowski 2006a; Nowiak 2001). The results of the Nordic Council’s activity (both positive and negative) as well as the vast swathes of territory it covered paved the way to the creation of another inter-parliamentary assembly in 1985 – the West Nordic Council. At the same time, changes in geopolitical conditions in the region contributed to the diversification of contacts and connections within the region, eventually bringing about the establishment of the Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians in 1993. However divergent the range and, in particular, the method of operation of each of these North European-dominated parliamentary institutions, each of them has, in its own way, expanded its level of engagement in Arctic issues in the first two decades of the 21st century. The Nordic Council Given that the genesis of the modern Nordic Council is strictly tied to the international engagements of parliamentarians from individual Scandinavian countries, it should not come as a surprise that, from the outset and until the creation of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 1971, the primary operational body of the Nordic Council was the parliamentary assembly (Piotrowski 2006a). The group of 87 delegates from eight national parliaments and governments make up its current incarnation, though Inter-Parliamentary Institutions & Arctic Governance