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What Holds the Arctic Together ?

200 pages
The Arctic region is undergoing dramatic transformation. With the melting of ice, the circumpolar region is subject to increasing forces of globalization, and navigating through the Northwest and the Northeast passages is rapidly emerging as a practical and commercial position. How can science calculate and assess the scale of change in this geographic space ? To what extent are the Native populations listened to and act as active participants in decision-making concerning the Arctic ? What is the present state of Arctic governance ? What role can be played by the others countries ?
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© L’Harmattan, 2012
5-7, rue de l’École-polytechnique ; 75005 Paris


ISBN : 978-2-296-99219-1
EAN : 9782296992191
Cécile Pelaudeix, Alain Faure
& Robert Griffiths (eds)


Logiques politiques
Collection dirigée par Yves Surel

Créée en 1991 par Pierre Muller, la collection « Logiques politiques »
a pour vocation principale de publier des ouvrages de science politique,
ainsi que des livres traitant de thématiques politiques avec un autre angle
disciplinaire (anthropologie, économie, philosophie, sociologie). Elle
rassemble des recherches originales, tirées notamment de travaux de
doctorat, ainsi que des ouvrages collectifs sur des problématiques
contemporaines. Des séries thématiques sont également en cours de
développement, l’une d’entre elles visant à publier des ouvrages de
synthèse sur les systèmes politiques des États-membres de l’Union

Dernières parutions

Xabier ITÇAINA et Julien WEISBEIN (sous la dir.), Marées noires
et politique. Gestion et contestations de la pollution du Prestige en France et
en Espagne.
Christophe VOILLIOT, Éléments de science politique, 2010
Sous la direction de Sylvain BARONE et Aurélia TROUPEL,
Battre la campagne. Élections et pouvoir municipal en milieu rural, 2010.
Isabelle ENGELI, Les politiques de la reproduction, Les politiques
d'avortement et de procréation médicalement assistée en France et en Suisse,
André-Louis SANGUIN, André Siegfried. Un visionnaire humaniste
entre géographie et politique, 2010.
Bruno PALIER et Yves SUREL (dir.), Quand les politiques changent.
Temporalités et niveaux de l’action publique, 2010.
Amandine CRESPY et Mathieu PETITHOMME, L’Europe sous
tensions, 2009.
Laurent GODMER, Des élus régionaux à l’image des électeurs ?
L’impératif représentatif en Allemagne, en Espagne et en France, 2009.
Jaeho EUN, Sida et action publique. Une analyse du changement de
politiques en France, 2009.



OF THE STARS ................................................................................11
Alain Faure 11
FOR A NEW REGION? ...................................................................15
Cécile Pelaudeix 15
Jérôme Weiss 25
IGGIAGRUK IS MY INUPIAQ NAME....................................................43
William l. Iggiagruk Hensley 43
Heather N. Nicol 51
A SCIENTIFIC OR A POLITICAL PROJECT?..................................67
Cécile Pelaudeix 67
Natalie Novik 85

OF SOVEREIGNTY IN THE CANADIAN ARCTIC.........................93
Paule Halley & Marie-Eve Mercier 93
WILL NOT TAKE PLACE ........................................................... 107
Frédéric Lasserre 107
ANTARCTIC AND THE ARCTIC CONVERGE............................. 123
Anne Choquet 123
Alexander N. Vylegzhanin 137
MENTALITY TO PEACEFUL COOPERATION ............................. 151
Lassi Heininen 151
Clive Archer 169
Robert Howell Griffiths
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS............................................................ 191


AC Arctic Council
ACAP Arctic Contaminants Action Program
AEPS Arctic Environmental Program Strategy
AMAP Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program
ARHC Arctic Regional Hydrographic Commission
ANCSA Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
AWPPA Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act
CAFF Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna
CFNA Canadian Forces Northern Area
COMNAP Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs
CLCS Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf
EEA European Economic Area
EEZ Exclusive Economic Zone
EP European Parliament
EU European Union
IAATO International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators
IACS International Association of Classification Societies
ICC Inuit Circumpolar Council
ICCPR International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
IHO International Hydrographic Organization
ILC International Law Commission
IMO International Maritime Organization
IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
JBNQA James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement
MARPOL Internal Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships
MEPC Marine Environment Protection Committee
MSC Maritime Safety Committee
NAO North Atlantic Oscillation
NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NDPTL Northern Dimension Partnership for Transport and Logistics
NEAFC North-East Atlantic Fisheries Convention
NILCA Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement
OSPAR Oslo and Paris Convention for the Protection of the Marine
Environment of the North-East Atlantic
PAME Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment
PIOMAS Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modelling and Assimilation System
SDWG Sustainable Development Working Group
SOLAS International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea
STCW International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and
Watchkeeping for Seafarers
UNCLOS United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
UNDRIP United Nations Declaration of the Rights on Indigenous Peoples

The Grenoble Centre for Canadian Studies has addressed the subject
of the Canadian Arctic for more than seven years, through courses offered
on Canada at the Grenoble Institut d’Etudes Politiques as well as through
participation of its members in international conferences.
The Grenoble Centre organized the International Conference entitled
st“The Arctic: Geopolitical Issues and Equations in the 21 Century”, which
rdtook place in Lyon in 2010 as part of the 23 edition of the Entretiens Jacques
Cartier linking the Rhône-Alpes Region of France with Quebec. As a follow-
up to this event, which was the first of its kind in France, a further
Conference took place in Montreal one year later. This was entitled “The
Arctic in Transition” and it was organized by the Chaire Raoul Dandurand at
the Université du Québec à Montréal. Both of these Conferences provide
eloquent testimony of the dynamic cooperation and close collaboration
between the French and the Canadian scientific communities on Arctic
The Grenoble Centre for Canadian Studies expresses its warm thanks
to the Canadian Embassy in Paris for the continuous support of the Centre’s
research activities (and a support valiantly upheld recently in very difficult
The title of this book derives from the Centre’s use of the phrase
“What Holds Canada Together” in the title of several of its Conferences, and
subsequently in a book published by L’Harmattan, entitled La Société
Canadienne en Débats: What holds Canada together? (eds. Faure and Griffiths,
2008). Although that book was written entirely in French, the subtitle was
retained in its English form because its direct translation into French proved
a little shaky and controversial. Here, in an even more apposite context -
What Holds the Arctic Together? – we have gone one stage further (at the risk of
furrowing a few brows) in retaining the English language not only for the
title, but also for the whole book. The Editors stress that this is because
contributors include not only French and French Canadians, but also
Russian, Finnish, Scandinavian, British, American and English Canadian
researchers and we wish to reach the widest possible readership.

C.P., A.F., R.G., May 2012

Alain Faure
Director of the Grenoble Canadian Studies Centre

“There is nothing that is so hidden that it does not need
to be made manifest. In this, the heavenly firmament is
like the sea and the earth. It is necessary that all things
become manifest, but it is up to man to uncover all
things.” Paracelsus (1494-1541)

The Grenoble Canadian Studies Centre organized an International
Conference in Lyon in November 2010 which brought together about thirty
specialists from diverse fields and countries to discuss together the
geopolitical significance of the Arctic in the twenty-first century. This book is
not presented as the ‘proceedings’ of the Conference and it does not pretend
to be the summation of all the valuable contributions made during the two
days of extensive scientific exposition and discussion. Rather is it an attempt
to distil some of the essence, to conceptualize and offer further reflection on
the subject’s importance, taking as its common thread the rather existential
question: “What Holds the Arctic Together?”. The emphasis here is on
convergence, rather than divergence, the Arctic’s centrality not its
eccentricity. The book is resolutely interdisciplinary and international, and,
acting like a veritable astral conjunction in the awe-inspiring arctic sky, it
brings into alignment three major elements of transformation.
The first transformation is ecological: the melting of the ice is a
phenomenon which touches and perturbs the environmental balance of the
whole world. And this is not just a ‘surface’ phenomenon, however
astonishingly vast (and changing) that liquid and solid arctic surface is
revealed to be. Below the terrestrial surface is an unstable and disappearing
permafrost, and below the expanding liquid surface there are shelves and
ridges, containing ores, oils and minerals which, as ever, are coveted by man’s
insatiable appetite for wealth creation. And then, thirdly, above the surface of
both sea and land, there is the atmosphere, both the troposphere and the
stratosphere, where the ‘whiteness’ (literally ‘albedo’) effect in the form of

What Holds The Arctic Together?
reflected radiation becomes a major factor in climate change, with its effects
stretching well beyond the Arctic Region.
The second transformation is political: and here again, the analytical
vision is three-fold; for the whole world is involved (the globalized and the
universal); and yet much political emphasis is inevitably ‘regional’ (involving
the surrounding ‘powers’ – states which are only partly arctic – ‘coastal states’
with interest in ‘off-shore’ control, claiming ‘borders’ or ‘frontiers’ and
interested in questions of ‘sovereignty’; and then, last but not least, there is
the truly ‘local’, the literally ‘indigenous’ (less discredited a word than it is in
French) or aboriginal, or (if we want to delve back to the Greek)
‘autochthonous’. For all these three interwoven levels (world, regional and
local), the Arctic constitutes a ‘theatre’ in which all the actors (leaders,
politicians, diplomats, scientific experts and commentators) play roles. But in
this enumeration of the actors, I have left out the main actors: those who live
Which brings me to the third transformation, which is
anthropological. And this concerns the cultural dimension of these main
actors whose civilizations often go back thousands of years. It concerns their
communities, their languages, their modes of thought and of action. To use
the fine expression of Jean-Christophe Victor, they are “parent peoples” who
have been caught up in the maelstrom and contradictory logics of so-called
‘development’ (with its colonization, industrialization, urbanization,
overconsumption…). Each fragment of territory is the vehicle of their own
singular history with its traumatisms but also its contentment, demonstrating
their vulnerability but also their resilience and capacity for new social
This book deals with all three of these transformations and each
chapter touches on the links between them. In an introductory chapter, a
member of our Grenoble Canadian Studies Centre (and our in-house Arctic
specialist and the instigator of the Conference), Cécile Pelaudeix, sets forth
the overall alignment of our constellation of twelve essays on the Arctic. As a
conclusion to the book, another member of the Centre, Robert Griffiths,
puts the Arctic into a wider, if sub-stellar, context by reflecting on the
importance of the subject in aesthetic as well as civilizational terms, by
alluding to aspects of its geographic, historical, literary and linguistic
significance in recent centuries.
If I appear in this brief preface to be drawn to etymology and the
meaning of words, it is only natural that I should conclude it by noting that
the word ‘arctic’ is generally thought to come from an Indo-European word
coming into Greek as arctos which (in spite of its no doubt plausible
association with a ‘polar bear‘!) means she-bear (ourse in French) in Greek

What Holds The Arctic Together?
legend and refers to stories about the constellations that we now call Ursa
Major and Ursa Minor, or the Great Bear and the Lesser Bear (or waggon,
plough, dipper, chariot, or (Hindi) Rishi, - take your pick). Both
constellations only appear in the Northern Hemisphere. The bright seven-
star Lesser Bear points to Polaris which marks roughly the position of the
north celestial pole and which we therefore call the pole star, or the North
Star. The pole star is circling slowly among the northern constellations
because of the earth’s precessional motion. Now situated less than one
degree from Polaris, it is worth noting in your diaries that the celestial North
Pole will pass closest to this pole star at under half the present distance about
the year 2100. In the meantime, readers of this book will have plenty else to
think about.


Cécile Pelaudeix
The Arctic region is undergoing dramatic transformation. Rapid
change due to climate warming is currently affecting the Arctic more than
any other region in the world: the permafrost is melting, glaciers are receding,
sea ice is shrinking, the composition of the water is changing. Arctic
temperatures have increased at twice the global rate during the past hundred
years and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects a
similar pattern for the next hundred. In Alaska and western Canada, winter
temperatures have increased by as much as 3-4°C in the past fifty years. In
some projections, Arctic late-summer sea ice will disappear almost entirely by
stthe latter part of the 21 century [see for example, the 2011 Report of the
IPCC, p.46]. Temperatures at the top of the permafrost layer have increased
since the 1980s by up to 3°C. [ibid., p.30]. The transformation of ecosystems,
inland and ocean wildlife, altered fish migration, all increase the uncertainty
of environmental evolution. Changes in living conditions impact people
relying on the environment as a means of subsistence and as a support for
basic living, and the potential to adapt to these changes is open to question.
Infrastructure, including housing, roads and industrial structures built on
warming permafrost ground, also raises disturbing new questions in the
Arctic region. The Arctic we used to know will probably no longer exist.
With the thawing of ice, the circumpolar region is subject to the
increasing forces of globalization. The shrinking of the permanent sea ice
cover is opening up navigation through the Northwest and the Northeast
passages. Moreover, the US Geological Survey estimates the Arctic may be
home to 30 per cent of the planet's undiscovered natural gas reserves and 13
per cent of its undiscovered oil. Although costs of exploration and
development will be inordinately high in many of the targeted areas,
ambitious strategic development plans are already underway. Regions such as
Barents are immensely rich in natural resources: gold, silver, nickel,
chromium, platinum, copper, zinc, palladium, lead, iron, and molybdenum.
Fish stocks have not yet been assessed, but it is clear that Arctic species could
suffer overharvesting. Moreover, tourism has already increased in areas such
as Greenland where it brings pressure to bear on both the environment and

What Holds The Arctic Together?
social life. Adding to the current long-range pollution affecting the Arctic
through air and ocean currents (mercury, persistent organic pollutants, etc.),
pollution from mining activities, potential oil spill and other operational
accidents in the oil and gas sectors, all these put at risk the quality of land and
marine waters.
Eight Arctic countries are directly facing these new challenges:
Canada, the United States (Alaska), Denmark (Greenland), Iceland, Norway,
Sweden, Finland and Russia – all countries brought together within the
Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum established in 1996 to promote
cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic states.
The contributions gathered together here in this book all address
essential questions. How can science calculate and assess the scale of change
in this geographic space, in particular concerning the thawing of ice? To what
extent are the Native populations listened to and are they in a position to
participate in decisions concerning the administering and management of the
Arctic? In the context of international and regional cooperation, which has
followed a preceding period of conflict during the Cold War, what is the state
of Arctic governance? Are existing juridical arrangements adequate? What
role in the governance of the Arctic can be played by actors such as the
European Union?
The first climatic models failed to foresee the speed with which sea ice would
melt in the Arctic. New models, including in particular those based on the
dynamic properties of sea ice itself, can now help estimate the scale of
change. With such a huge transformation affecting the High North, science
still has to build theoretical models to understand the mechanisms of
environmental change, and these must ultimately serve to inform political
decision-making. It is indeed the lapse of time between the environmental
changes themselves and our understanding of the processes involved which
suggests above all that we should adopt a very cautious approach in
the economic development of the Arctic.
Jérôme Weiss (“Towards an Ice-Free Arctic Ocean”) explains that
changes in the sea ice have climatic, ecological, social, and economic effects
and that the consequences of sea ice loss will be severe on various levels.
Analysis of 30-year in-situ and remote sensing data records reveal strong and
significant, sometimes drastic, changes in the Arctic sea ice cover. Projecting
a schedule for a seasonally ice-free ocean remains, however, extremely

What Holds The Arctic Together?
difficult. Weiss argues that the variability in climate projections can be
explained by several deficiencies in the models used, in particular those that
did not involve dynamical processes and therefore underestimated the
observed decline of sea ice extent and did not foresee its recent acceleration.
Although the reduction of the Arctic sea ice cover is generally attributed to
atmospheric warming amplified by the albedo feedback, other mechanisms
may play a role, such as enhanced heat advection from warm, northward-
flowing Atlantic water [Spielhagen et al., 2011], or a strengthening of the
albedo feedback through mechanical and dynamical effects. A crude
calculation allowing a rough correction of the models’ predictions for this
shortcoming suggests a nearly ice-free Arctic Ocean in the month of
September being reached before the year 2050. More importantly, a shift
from a perennial to a seasonal state seems likely before the end of this
century, and could happen as early as in the next few decades [e.g. Holland et
al., 2006, Rampal et al., 2011]). A possible tipping point is likely to be
reached, i.e. it will become impossible to reverse the process of sea ice
decline even if arctic warming ceases.
The North American Arctic has been inhabited for 8,000 years, and
the Eurasian Arctic for 10,000 years. About 400,000 indigenous peoples
currently live in the Arctic and are affected by climate change in numerous
ways. The post-colonization period in the Arctic has witnessed very different
national situations, from the Federation of Russia to the state of Alaska.
Being at the forefront of climate change, how are indigenous peoples now
involved in decision-making?
William l. Iggiagruk Hensley (“Iggiagruk is my Inupiaq name”) gives a
valuable insight into Alaskan contemporary history. Early Europeans came to
Alaska searching for sea otter pelts, fur seals, whale products, walrus ivory,
salmon, and gold. Hensley points to the gold rush as the “beginning of the
end of Alaskan natives’ control of their own space and resources”, while
Alaskan natives were not for many years considered US citizens and were
subjected to assimilation policies. The Alaskan Native Land Settlement Act
implemented in 1977 did not include offshore oil exploitation. Crucial
problems include pollution due to industrialization, the fact that the
indigenous economy is now caught in a western economic web of costs with
indigenous villages having the highest costs of all, as well as the uncertainties
associated with climate change and economic development. To tackle all

What Holds The Arctic Together?
these problems, Hensley sees native participation as the key issue, quoting
Siikauraq Martha Whiting, the mayor of the Northwest Arctic borough:
“When industry runs out of oil and gas, they will leave. […] The only way we
will see benefit is if we are at the table from beginning to end. […]
Participation is the key to issues relating to tourism, fisheries, marine
transportation and scientific studies”.
Drawing on the increasing invocation of the concept of security in
Canada, Heather N. Nicol (“Canadian Arctic Security and Climate Change:
Going beyond a Traditional Security Approach”) emphasizes the need for a
broader approach to the notion of security. She distinguishes several phases.
First, the emergence of a non-traditional concept of security, highlighted in
1987 with the growth of the Canadian Rangers program that no longer
allowed military considerations to be intrinsically divorced from domestic
socio-economic, cultural, and environmental health questions. This definition
of human security, which emerged to a greater degree during the 1990s and
early 2000s, was consistent with the vision of the circumpolar North as a
place for intergovernmental cooperation initially conceived for
environmental issues, which was developing simultaneously through the
Arctic Council and its various committees, treaties and social forums. Then
the post 9/11 climate in Canada, along with the redefinition of climate
change as a security issue focusing on the accessibility of resources, led to a
renewal of the military security discourse: Nicol sees in this return the
resurgence of the State-centred system in the North. Symptomatic of this is
the Ilulissat Declaration (May 2008), which excluded indigenous populations
while remapping potential post-ice Arctic oceans in State-centred ways, using
State-centred mandates.
One of the potential casualties in narrowing down the definition of
security, argues Nicol, may be the power of indigenous populations and
regional non-governmental actors to participate in regional decision-making.
International law acknowledges the very real constituency of indigenous
rights; however, she asks how can non-State actors influence an international
system of law that is inherently biased towards the demands of State rather
than non-State actors? To ignore such actors and their initiatives with respect
to climate change, human security, and the implementation of sovereignty
claims in the Arctic, is clearly unadvised, and yet to accommodate such
initiatives will require that we develop broader approaches to international
relations (examining international, national or regional events as
interconnected events) as well as redefining the notion of security itself.
With climate change affecting the Arctic and increasing economic
prospects for resource exploitation and the opening up of globalized

What Holds The Arctic Together?
shipping, where does the question of Inuit political representation stand so
far as the major direction of Arctic politics is concerned? Cecile Pelaudeix
(“Inuit governance in a changing environment: a scientific or a political
project?”) proposes an analysis of Inuit governance at the national and
international level, discussing the evolving involvement of Inuit in policy-
making. She examines the negotiation processes with governments and the
role environmental knowledge might play in this process and shows that the
emergence of Inuit political thought during the colonization process in most
cases preceded the question of land claims, and underlines the restraints of
political power granted to Inuit through land claims agreements and self-
government at the national level, with the notable exception of Greenland.
The chapter then examines how environmental issues have been the driver
for involving Inuit representatives on the international level. She argues that
in the State-centred present system of political participation in forums such
as the Arctic Council, there is little probability that the advances of
environmental law will suffice for Inuit populations to be associated in the
decision-making process in the areas where decisions are being made more
and more through international politics.
Natalie Novik (“The Indigenous peoples of Russia as political actors”)
outlines the history of indigenous peoples in Russia, first driven into forced
labour and acculturated by the Russian empire, and then seeing, under the
Soviet regime, their traditional economies replaced by a communal farm
system. She considers that today the overall situation is definitely one of
struggle: with languages and cultures on the decline, and corruption,
incompetence and alcoholism undermining Russia’s first nations’
organization, there is an increasing pressure from companies to extend oil
exploitation, mining, deforestation and to implement other development
plans. Furthermore, the Russian legislation does not provide for ownership
of the land or for recognition of indigenous rights. Through the training of
indigenous lawyers, indigenous people have nevertheless developed the skills
required to represent themselves. Their long traditions of trade and
exchanges with their neighbours are resurfacing and their participation is now
seen as a normal component of trans-border agreements. The author states
that the development and passing on of traditional ecological knowledge so
as to cope with the prevailing preoccupation – climate change adaptation –
and to ensure sustainable development, requires more financial resources
than are currently available. Many leaders fear that if this does not happen
very soon, entire clans will move from their ancestral lands into large cities
and disappear forever, through an inexorable process of blending into the
Russian melting pot.

What Holds The Arctic Together?
Paule Halley and Marie-Eve Mercier (“Sustainable Development and
the Greening of Sovereignty in the Canadian Arctic”) show how an
integrated approach to sustainable development can play a role in the
development of the Arctic by considering the exercise of sovereignty over
the region, no longer considered as only an economic matter of concern, but
equally as an environmental and social matter. This approach allows for
recognizing the unity of the Canadian territory, currently fragmented by
international law that distinguishes between claims on land and claims on the
waters bordering them: from an ecological and social point of view, there is
indeed an intimate relationship between land, sea and ice. In this perspective,
the exercise of sovereignty is to be understood far beyond the concern of
‘effective presence’, since it implies State obligations. The authors refer to the
Anglo-Saxon doctrines of Common Law, such as ‘public trusteeship’, to
define a trilateral relation of the State with its territory: the territorial
resources (a public trust) are managed, in a sustainable way, by the State (the
trustee), for the benefit of each citizen (the beneficiary). Finally, Halley and
Mercier conclude that going beyond reflections on Canadian sovereignty over
the Arctic archipelago and its waters, the environmental and social impacts of
other legal influences at work in the region, notably concerning questions of
the freedom of the sea, need to be incorporated into our reflections to
promote a responsible and sustainable development for the Arctic.
The melting of the sea ice is occurring in a region of the world where
coastal States have already established their sovereignty. Only one surface
border still causes controversy: the tiny Hans Island, claimed by Canada and
Denmark. Frédéric Lasserre (“Continental Shelves and Maritime Boundaries
in the Arctic: the New Cold War Will Not Take Place”) characterizes
relationships between the Arctic Ocean coastal countries as being shaped by
two main politico-legal issues: the question of Arctic passage status and that
of maritime boundaries in the Arctic. The disputes in the Arctic lie in the
interpretation of limits for certain exclusive economic zones, and with the
extension of sovereign rights to the potential economic resources of the sea
floor. Nowadays, the media promote the recurring idea of a race for the
conquest of Arctic maritime spaces. The Arctic coastal countries have been
preparing their cases for several years in order to support their geological
arguments in a bid to claim extended continental shelves. Only in 2007 did a
media frenzy take hold of the issue, fuelling the idea of a relentless struggle,
fomented by climate change, for the conquest of the region’s natural
resources: an overstated and hardly representative vision of the historical and
legal reality, which is in fact characterized by cooperation and by the