The Contribution of Space Technologies to Arctic Policy Priorities


Although without Arctic territories, France is concerned with questions of military security in the Arctic via its engagement with NATO and the European Union. In this context, special concerns arise from France’s status as a nuclear-weapon state. A major goal is the preservation of stability and the guaranteed access to critical transportation routes and natural resources. As a result of articulated environmental, economic and security interests, the safety of transportation and operations is implicit in Frances’s perspectives on the Arctic. A leader in international polar research, France is carrying out major research initiatives designed to understand climate change in the Arctic, as well as adapting to the consequences of climate change, particularly with respect to economic activities. The Arctic is considered a major element in the climate system with direct consequences for France. In response to the increased accessibility of the Arctic as a result of a decreasing ice cover, France actively promotes regulating use of the Arctic ocean by means of an international treaty. Focal points of special interest include French business interests in the Arctic (e.g. fishing, shipping, oil/gas). Arctic indigenous and social development is not a primary policy objective for French Arctic policy, although issues affecting northern communities are implicitly addressed in France’s stance on Arctic environment and science.

Policy Implications



Economic Development

Indigenous and Social Development

The capability to: yy evaluate effects of climate change on the Arctic

Capability Requirements

yy monitor long range transport of pollution yy long time monitoring of the environment yy Apply instruments of international law and multilateral governance yy Establish military policy and regional security yy Implement environmental standards yy provide safe and secure transportation across maritime trade routes yy provide effective search and rescue capabilities throughout the Arctic yy provide access to critical natural resources yy effective response to environmental emergencies

Information on: yy knowledge of environmental conditions yy comprehensive situational awareness yy rate and impacts of climate change yy knowledge of navigation and environmental hazards

Information Requirements

B.1.13 The European Union Strategy for the Arctic Region The European Union Strategy for the Arctic Region Facts in Brief Jurisdiction: Europe (EU).

Background: Finland, Sweden, and Denmark are the only EU member states within the Arctic, and thus have seats on the Arctic Council. The EU has sought Observer status on the Council for several years, but the application has been stalled due to disagreement from within the Council. Greenland holds special status within the EU and is recognized as one of the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT), thus promoting special trade agreements and fishing rights. The Northern Dimension (1999, renewed in 2006) has been an important policy in shifting the EU’s focus northward, establishing regional security, and improving ties with Russia, as well as building its relationship with Iceland and Norway. The EU has also been involved in regional Arctic governance, and was one of the original signatories of the Kirkenes Declaration, which founded the Barents-Euro Arctic Council. Depending on the outcome of Iceland’s accession to the EU, formally applied in 2009, the EU may eventually have a legitimate territorial claim to the Arctic Ocean. Finally, an official EU Arctic Strategy is expected to be released in 2012, and will provide a clearer framework for assessing EUs interest and impact in the Arctic, as follow-up to the direction taken from the policies and reports analyzed below. Responsible Organizations: The European Union. Status: The European Union and the Arctic Region (Commission of the European Communities 2008); European Council’s Conclusions on Arctic issues in March 2009. European Council 2009a and 2009b. A Sustainable EU Policy for the High North, 2011. Joint Report to the European Parliament and the Council: Progress in developing a European Union policy toward the Arctic Region (anticipated 2012). Type: Government policy. First step towards a strategy. Coverage: Europe (EU) Web link: The main policy objectives of the EU Commission’s Communication (supported by the Council’s Conclusions) are first, protecting and preserving the Arctic environment and its population; second, promoting sustainable use of resources; and third, contributing to enhanced Arctic multilateral governance.

Policy Objectives


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