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The Politics of Maritime Security in the Arctic (summer school)


The course is a collaboration between Ilisimatusarfik/University of Greenland, Memorial University of Newfoundland and University of Copenhagen and financially supported by the UArctic.

Maritime security is a key and cross-cutting issue in Arctic politics. It is high on the regional political agenda and seen as a key concern for the future development of the Arctic region, since safety and security are prerequisites for the development of Arctic communities. However, the maritime Arctic territory is often characterized by low temperatures, sea ice, long distances, limited infrastructure, sparsely populated areas, scarcity of resources for search and rescue, and vulnerabilities related to human life, communities and the environment. These characteristics pose severe challenges to all human activities in the Arctic. To promote safety and security, these risks call for developing emergency preparedness and capabilities for response to avoid or reduce risks in terms of unwanted and unexpected incidents that threaten human lives, the environment or society at large. The Arctic needs robust security risk management systems for example in terms of search and rescue (SAR) and oil spill response (OSR).

The overall goal of the summer course is to facilitate an understanding of how safety and security is organized and regulated regionally, nationally and locally in the Arctic in general and for instance as part of the politics within the Danish Realm including the multilevel links between Danish governmental authorities and the sub-state authorities of the Faroe Islands and Greenland. How are sub-state entities represented in relevant regional organizations in the Arctic like the Working Group of the Arctic Council on Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) and the Arctic Coast Guard Forum? What is their role in the geopolitics of the Arctic? The summer course also serves as a lens to investigate different scales of Arctic politics and their interconnectedness. Taking place in Nuuk, the participants in the course will have access to a wide range of public policy decision-makers involved in maritime security, Danish and Greenlandic authorities that are responsible for the emergency preparedness system, shipping companies and other stakeholders of maritime activities.

The point of departure for the summer course will be the narratives of regional change in the Arctic that are framing the conceptions and perspectives of safety and security: Climate change results in melting sea ice. This is often articulated as opening up economic opportunities that will result in increased maritime activities and societal change in the Arctic, but also internationalization and increased economic, social and political interdependence between regional Arctic and global development. Theoretically the course will build on recent and ongoing research activities, including developments within security studies, public policy and maritime security.



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Ilisimatusarfik / University of Greenland
Field of study
Social science
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Governance & political science
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Ilisimatusarfik/University of Greenland
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