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Security in the Circumpolar World


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Seminar presentation for POLS462, Queen's University, Fall term 2009.

Published in: News & Politics
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Security in the Circumpolar World

  1. 1. THREATS TO CANADIAN SECURITY IN A TRANSFORMING CIRCUMPOLAR WORLD Xiren Wang, Studies in National Security, Queen’s University November 25, 2009
  2. 2. OVERVIEW •Actors within the circumpolar world •Transformations of the region •Threats to Canadian security •Canada’s responses to threats •Recommendations 2 Xiren Wang
  3. 3. ACTORS • 8 Arctic states – Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, The Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States. • International Institutions – The Arctic Council (Canadian initiative) – The Barents Euro-Arctic Council – The Council of the Baltic States 4 Xiren Wang
  4. 4. TRANSFORMATIONS •Climate change •Resource development •Geopolitical change – the realization that United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) allows most of the Arctic nations to claim the majority of the Arctic Ocean seabed 5 Xiren Wang
  5. 5. UNCERTAINTY • Factors reshaping the north do not proceed in a linear, progressive manner • Events occur at a rapidly increasing rate that defies prediction • The duration of these changes is unknown • It is also unknown if or when the impact of climate change will stop 9 Xiren Wang
  6. 6. MILITARY PRESENCE • The Canadian effort to maintain military control over its Arctic ended almost as soon as the Cold War ended. • 1989: The navy ceased its Northern Deployments (NORPLOYs) • 1995: The air force reduced its northern sovereignty overflights from a high of 22 in 1987 to 2. • The only current land force presence in Canada’s Arctic is the Canadian Rangers Units. • 1999: Members of the CF seriously reconsidered their role in the Arctic. • 2001: Post- 9/11, the entire Canadian government began to take security issues much more seriously. • 2002: Canada resumed military training operations in the north. 10 Xiren Wang
  7. 7. THREATS •Sovereignty & Control •Environmental security •Food security •Cooperation •Nature: nebulous, multi-dimensional, evolving 11 Xiren Wang
  8. 8. SOVEREIGNTY • Interdependent concepts: – Sovereignty & security – Sovereignty & control – Security & control • Existence of an accepted Governance System Competing states and competing interests undermine sovereignty • A Defined Territory: The littoral states are engaged in various stages of demonstrating the limits of their continental shelves beyond 200 nautical miles from their declared baselines in accordance with Article 76, paragraph 8, of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) • Population: Hans Island 12 Xiren Wang
  9. 9. CONTROL 3 Zones of Controls established by UNCLOS Zone 1: Territorial Sea Zone 2: The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Zone 3: The Continental Shelf 13 Xiren Wang
  10. 10. ENVIRONMENT Industrial Development - destruction and pollution of environment • long-range transport of contaminants • persistent organic pollutants (pesticides, fertilizers) •changes in atmospheric gases •increases/decreases in global temperature (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment) • Domestic pollution: many settlements lack waste processing facilities • The environmental security and rich biological diversity of the Canadian north needed protection. • Transboundary & local pollutants contaminate food 14 Xiren Wang
  11. 11. FOOD SECURITY • Defined as: the requirement of adequate amounts of safe, nutritious, culturally acceptable food, accessible to all in a dignified and affordable manner (Koc and MacRae, 2001) • Requires the fulfillment of 4 needs: – Availability – Accessibility – Acceptability – Adequacy • Food insecurity due to: – changes in species’ ranges and availability – access to these species – perceived and real changes in travel safety/changing weather conditions • Indigenous communities face major cultural & health impacts 15 Xiren Wang
  12. 12. COOPERATION «If we make the geopolitical choice of putting the Arctic in a central position - not the only region of concern, but in a central position - in our thinking on our foreign policy, that will mean that we will concentrate a whole series of problems that we are dealing with separately, such as, to begin with, the management of our relations with all of the countries of the circumpolar region.» – The Seventh Report to the House of Commons, Canada and the Circumpolar World: Meeting the Challenges of Cooperation into the Twenty-First Century 16 Xiren Wang
  13. 13. ADAPTIVE RESPONSES • Arctic Security Intergovernmental Work Group – interdepartmental (federal - territorial) security work group • DND review of its Arctic capabilities • Canada’s Integrated Northern Strategy, August 2007 – strengthen Canada's sovereignty – protect our environmental heritage – promote economic and social development – improve Northern governance 17 Xiren Wang
  14. 14. RECOMMENDATIONS 1.Decision-making process on Arctic affairs must be improved. • The creation of a Cabinet Committee, focused solely on the Arctic 2.Canadian surveillance and enforcement capability must be improved. • acquire, build, and maintain infrastructure and equipment 3.Canada must cooperate better with its Arctic neighbours. • esp. US and Russia 18 Xiren Wang
  15. 15. CA’S AIMS In the future, aims to: • Enhancing the marine regime for Arctic shipping • Options for regulatory improvement in the North • Expanding broadband connectivity in the NWT and Nunavut • Advancing devolution in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories and, • Engagement on the Northern Strategy with northerners, stakeholders, Aboriginal groups and the Canadian public. 19 Xiren Wang
  16. 16. Thank You Q&A