Former CCU Board Chair Oran Young (Professor Emeritus – Institutional and International Governance, Environmental Institutions at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara) writes on the challenges ahead for the Arctic in an era of rapid global environmental change and increasing focus on the region’s resource potential.
The article seeks to begin a discourse on “Arctic Stewardship,” beginning to raise and address some of the most pressing questions for the region:
This essay explores the consequences of these developments for the Arctic and seeks to identify strategies for enhancing its resilience, given the extent to which external forces determine the course of events in the region. Specifically, I address the following questions: What sorts of harms arising from changes now occurring in the Arctic are actionable in the sense that it is realistic to expect existing legal and political processes to respond to them in specific cases? Who can and should take the actions required to respond to these harms? What specific remedies are available to those harmed by the impact of external forces? How can we encourage responsible outsiders to fulfill their commitments? Equally important, how can we avoid actions taken in this context that (however well-intentioned) give rise to the pathologies of paternalism, internal colonialism, or neocolonialism? Are there innovations in governance arrangements that will help to produce positive responses to these concerns?