The Arctic Council and the Search and Rescue Agreement: The case of Norway

Polar Record, published online 13.05.2013, 9 pp

At the 12 May 2011 Seventh Ministerial Meeting, the member States of the Arctic Council signed the Arctic SAR Agreement, the first legally binding agreement negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council. Its objective is to strengthen search and rescue cooperation and coordination in the Arctic. The purpose of the article is to explore why an agreement on search and rescue under the auspices of the Arctic Council has been negotiated; what its key features are; and lastly, how it is and will be implemented. It is argued that the SAR Agreement is more important for the Arctic Council than for Norway. It has had limited practical consequences in Norway. The Agreement may be politically and symbolically significant but it has neither financially nor organizationally changed Norwegian search and rescue policy.



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