The Arctic Council: Challenges and Recommendations

In Svein Vigeland Rottem and Ida Folkestad Soltvedt (eds), Arctic Governance: Law and Politics. Volume 1. London, I.B. Tauris, 2017, pp. 231-251.

The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the place of the Arctic Council (AC) in Arctic governance with a specific focus on the role of the working groups (WGs). The main conclusion to be drawn is that while the Council plays a crucial role in the formulation of Arctic policy, there is a growing debate on the potential for improving operations at the Council. We find here a variety of views concerning the challenges facing the Council and the steps required to tackle them. And although many more or less critical evaluations have been undertaken of Council, fewer workable solutions have been suggested. I discuss three questions with immediate bearing on the role of the WGs and suggest what can be done to remedy the situation. The chapter does not undertake a critical assessment of a particular WG or member state, but it does look at long-standing challenges of greater or lesser relevance to each of the WGs and member states.