Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 242

242 Arctic Yearbook 2015 given) the power to both define a problem and choose a preferred solution. The other stakeholders must acquiesce to the decision made by the small group. While this type of strategy holds the appeal of simplicity, “experts can be wrong”, both in their understanding of the problem and in their chosen solution, and in a small group, learning is unlikely to occur (Roberts 2000: 4-5). Competitive strategies, on the other hand, spur innovation, as stakeholders compete for the power to define and solve problems on their own terms. While challenging the entrenchment of power, competitive strategies can produce undesirable outcomes, including stalemate, gridlock, and conflict (Roberts 2000: 5-6). Collaborative strategies seek to satisfy all stakeholders, avoiding the zero-sum approach present in competitive strategies. Collaboration can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enable stakeholders to focus on their individual strengths and interests. However, collaboration is difficult, and raises transaction and communication costs. In addition, “collaboration requires practice; it is a learned skill” (Roberts 2000: 7). From this quick review of the literature, it appears there are few clear-cut strategies for managing wicked problems. In trying to improve emergency response capacity in the Arctic at the international level, no state can act alone nor compel action by other states; as a result, a collaborative approach is the only option. However, the task of building collaborative strategies across international boundaries is heightened by increased transaction and communication costs. Cultural differences may intensify challenges associated with human factors: values may differ widely between state agencies tasked with emergency response, which may have been demonstrated in the Oryong 501 case; in addition, the political calculus of domestic politics may drive emergency response agencies in different directions. The strategy described by Chapin et al (2008) does offer some promising avenues. Focusing on central areas where all or most actors share a common problem definition, and identifying key intervention points and linkages that will result in change, may be helpful strategies for Arctic states. The operational level of emergency response may serve as common ground around which consensus can be built. The forthcoming Arctic Coast Guard Forum may serve as a platform that can contribute to consensus around operational emergency response issues, and midwife emerging norms and best practices. Much as the Arctic Council has nurtured collaboration and the emergence of shared norms relating to environmental protection and sustainable development in the Arctic region, the Arctic Coast Guard Forum may prove to be a useful mechanism for building relationships at the operational level among Arctic emergency response agencies, which may lead to more consensus around problem definitions and may decrease the communication and transaction costs associated with collaborative solutions to wicked problems. Are we ready for the Crystal Serenity? Fortunately for the Crystal Serenity, the Arctic Council is planning on facilitating the execution of a large-scale international rescue exercise during late summer 2016, which will likely coincide with the cruise. According to the Department of State, in the summer of 2016, “we’ll have an actual full-scale operational exercise for search and rescue”.6 Although details are not yet available, it is likely that this exercise will occur during the Crystal Serenity transit, providing a safety net for the voyage. In addition, the annual Arctic Zephyr exercise conducted by US DoD may coincide with the Crystal Serenity transit Large-Scale Disaster Response in the Arctic: Are We Ready?