Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 299

299 Arctic Yearbook 2015 opportunities and challenges ahead. Simply put, the Arctic is having growing pains. As framed by Arctic Institute Director Kathrin Keil, “institutional cooperation [in the Arctic] depends on keeping this cast of characters only ‘as-big-as-necessary,’ rather than ‘as-big-as-possible,’” or what this author identifies as a tension between inclusion and efficiency (Keil 2014). Despite this limitation, the last halfcentury of Arctic governance has revealed a variety of governing arrangements worthy of discussion as Arctic states consider governance realignments. The Ilulissat approach Following the controversial 2007 Russian scientific expedition to the North Pole which saw a flag planted on the seabed, nationalist fervor amongst the Arctic states peaked. The Arctic Ocean Conference, held in Ilulissat, Greenland in May 2008, was the natural outgrowth of this geopolitical discomfort. At the Conference, the five littoral Arctic states affirmed their “commit[ment] to this legal framework [UNCLOS] and to the orderly settlement of any possible overlapping claims” (Ilulissat Declaration 2008). The concern guiding the conference was the Arctic moving from Gorbachev’s “zone of peace” to a “zone of conflict,” and the language of the Ilulissat Declaration was designed to dispel these fears. The Declaration also concluded that with UNCLOS as a guide, there is “no need to develop a new comprehensive international regime to govern the Arctic Ocean” (Ilulissat Declaration 2008). The Ilulissat Declaration has gone on to be hailed as evidence that the Arctic can remain a conflict-free region, but we should not rush to agree with this conclusion. Despite the seemingly successful nature of the Arctic Ocean Conference, there was a major deficiency; some, not all, Arctic states were parties to the agreement – Sweden, Finland, and Iceland were excluded due to geographical technicalities. For Alun Anderson, this exclusion crystallizes the point that “Even within the Arctic nations, not all are equal. […] The Ilulissat meeting was a reminder that the Arctic coastal states see the Arctic Ocean as their own lake” (Anderson 2009: 120). But the affront extended beyond the exclusion of the three residual Arctic states; the Declaration intimated that the international community, most notably those states in Asia with a heightened interest in the Arctic, should direct their political activism elsewhere. Unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral approaches As evidenced by the absence of armed conflict in the Arctic, the Circumpolar North has, up to this point, been a region of cooperation. Undertaking an inventory of Arctic strategies, Lassi Heininen observes that “International cooperation, largely multilateral […] has emerged and expanded since that time, at which there was less cooperation” (Heininen 2011: 80). Multilateral