The impacts of climate change in the Arctic include melting sea ice, coastal erosion, and changes in the social structures of Arctic communities. New Arctic governance structures have been established and existing mechanisms rejuvenated to tackle the region’s pressing needs. Also countries outside the region are engaging with governance issues in and of the North. Of these, the People’s Republic of China stands out with its active and vocal participation in Arctic issues. Although China’s presence in the Arctic has been described the effects of its engagement on Arctic governance have not been studied in depth.

Drawing on political science and management science, the ArcGov project will study how a state external to the Arctic influences the effectiveness of governance mechanisms for dealing with specific challenges within that region. How does China – as a rising global superpower – influence or seek to influence the existing and new governance structures that shape how the Arctic states adapt to and manage rapid environmental, economic and societal change? With its clear policy-relevant orientation, this project will provide new insights into governance, regionalism and institutional effectiveness in the Arctic and beyond.

Selected cases
Governance MechanismsGlobal levelRegional levelNational and local level
Cases- Law of the Sea (LOS)-regime
- International Maritime Organization (IMO)
- Arctic Council (including general structure and specific working groups)
- Arctic 5+5 Fisheries Agreement
- Business investments in Norway
- Norway’s research and education policy
- Nordland County’s regional cooperation with China


Project period: 2021-2024



  • The Research Council of Norway



  • In Andrey Mineev, Anatoli Bourmistrov and Frode Mellemvik (eds), Global Development in the Arctic: International Cooperation for the Future. Routledge, 2022, pp. 47-62.