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Summary of Working Paper No. 167-1999

0.1.1 The INSROP Integration Book

By W. Østreng (ed.), The Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Lysaker, Norway; L. Brigham, R.D. Brubaker, E. Gold, A. Granberg, V. Grishchenko, J.-L. Jernsletten, K. Kamesaki, A. Kolodkin, K.A. Moe, G. Semanov and M. Tamvakis.

The purpose of this book is to integrate the prime results of the International Northern Sea Route Programme (INSROP) - a five year inter-diciplinary and multi-national research on the sailing conditions along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) - and make them comprehensible to a wide audience of interested readers. Input from INSROPs four subprogrammes: Ice and Navigation, Environmental Impacts, Economy and Commerciality and Political, Legal and Security Aspects will be melted together with the aim of presenting the composite and multi-faceted reality of the NSR when it comes to navigation. In so doing, three overarching questions will be addressed:

INSROP00090000.gif What features of the route may, under what preconditions, attract the interest of non-Russian shipping circles to utilize what it has to offer?

INSROP00090000.gif What features of the route may, under what preconditions, discourage the same circles from taking a keen interest in using it?

INSROP00090000.gif What future scenarios are most likely to occur under what precondtions, encouraging and/or discouraging international utilization of the route?

In other words: the object of study in this book is the international usage potensial of the NSR - past, present and future. The analysis is designed around two counterveiling parameters: the obstacles to utilization and the promoting factors of utilization. The method employed will be to extract and integrate the core findings of the 166 different INSROP Working Papers produced and, if need be, to supplement those findings with the scientific results of non-INSROP research on the NSR.

To make the NSR a viable commercial route the Russian federation has to outwit two categories of navigational parameters - natural and societal. The natural parameters - climatic conditions, ice, shoals, polar darkness etc - are physical manifestations ruling these waters more or less on a permanent basis. As such, many of them - for instance the shallowness of the continental shelf - are inflexible and static and possesses no ability on their own to adjust to changing circumstances. In many ways, they are the route, and can not be politically wished away. This is not to say that the inflexibility applies equally to all parameters. Some of them fluctuate with the change of seasons, such as the extension of ice and polar darkness. In general, however, to become promoting factors of utilization natural conditions have to be manipulated and/or conquered by the application of adequate technology, know-how and operational experience. The only role of the political system in this respect is to provide favourable conditions for these measures to be applied in an optimal manner.

The societal parameters - military, political, social, cultural and legal conditions - represent the perceived interests of the coastal state. These parameters aim at guiding, directing and regulating the usage of the route to the best of national interests. In principle, these parameters are changeable - they are the manifestations of political decisions which can be altered and/or replaced by new political decisions. In character, they are flexible and dynamic, and possess the ability to adjust to changing circumstances. They can be applied both as obstacles to utilization and as promoting factors of utilization, depending on the political inclinations and objectives of the littoral government and the content and leverage of international political circumstances.