BLUE GOVERNANCE: INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL COOPERATION IN THE ARCTIC REGION Arctic environmental management and the constitution of regimes concerning rules, norms and governance
It has for a long time been called ‘the earth’s last frontier’ and its harsh environment has discouraged heavy investments in the region, up until now when all attention is directed towards the white dot on the map, the Arctic. By melting ices and permafrost, the natural resources of the Arctic have been made visible and actors are now preparing to exploit its assets. Without any explicit regime-structure, the Arctic is facing a scenario in which national territorial selfclaims will incuse the agenda as well as aspects of ‘creeping sovereignty’. The aim of this dissertation is to explain the Arctic national strategies concerning the eight Arctic states and how the strategies have evolved since the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012. To analyse different forms of transnational cooperation, I draw on the theories of governance and regime theory, as well as developing the concept of ‘Blue Governance’. The empirical study investigates the establishment of regimes in the Arctic, concerning aspects of rules, norms and governance. Using a qualitative approach and the method of content analysis, data is based on Arctic national strategies and documents. The results show that there has been a development towards more ‘green’ or ‘blue’ geopolitics but also that national self-interests regarding resource exploitation seem to affect current Arctic environmental cooperation. The results also indicate that Arctic regimes now are more influenced by environmental norms and rules than earlier. Still, the absence of common Arctic regulations or guidelines constantly risk disturbing the Arctic legal order.