24 February 2023

Navigating Breakup: Security realities of freezing politics and thawing landscapes in the Arctic

Russia’s re-invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has had immediate and ongoing effects for Arctic security and cooperative governance at both a regional and international level. The region is impacted by the increased sanctions, the withdrawal of Western companies from Russia, the Western disconnect from energy dependencies, and has also witnessed an increase in hybrid security incidents.  In addition, climate change continues at to change the environment at a staggering pace in the north.

This report provides insights into both established and novel drivers of change in Arctic and security governance. Despite the current reduction in circumpolar cooperation and dialogue involving Russia, there are significant actions that relevant actors can take to improve regional governance and security.

The chapters of this report have been written by subject matter experts selected for their ability to bring longstanding and novel drivers into conversation in areas relevant to the shaping of regional politics. We have elected to focus on: 1) how climate change is shaping the region, and the challenges this poses to regional security dynamics; and 2) how the three major powers (China, Russia and the US) are responding to both long-term change and the current, contentious security landscape.

This report was an input to the Arctic Security Roundtable (ASR) and the Munich Security Conference, February 2023. It is originally published by the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs and Wilson Center, and can be found here.

Photo credit: Global Panorama / Flickr