The Contribution of Space Technologies to Arctic Policy Priorities

The European Union Strategy for the Arctic Region Policy Implications Sovereignty

There are few direct sovereignty implications for the EU mentioned in the policies. However, support for UNCLOS in resolving potential disputes between Arctic states is seen as key for maintaining peace and cooperation in the region, as promoting the sustainable resource development and joint management/response regimes. The policies promote the full implementation of existing obligations concerning navigation rules, maritime safety, routes system and environmental standards in the Arctic, in particular those under the International Maritime Organisation. Support to increasing the safety of cruise ships, better navigation, and restriction of access to highly vulnerable areas. The GNSS Galileo positioning system is an example of the EU’s commitment to navigation safety. Policy initiatives have also focussed on adopting common guidelines and best practices to improve safety. The environment and climate change is a major priority where the main goal is “to prevent and mitigate the negative impacts of climate change as well as to support adaptation to inevitable changes”. This is consistent with the EU’s commitment towards progressive global climate targets in climate policy negotiations. Particular support for Global Monitoring of Essential Climate Variables, the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) and contribution to the Sustainable Arctic Observatory Network (SAON) are examples of the EU acting in this regard. There is also strong interest in addressing issues such as monitoring of ice, permafrost, biodiversity and related environmental issues. Hydrocarbons – the policies focus on how the significant and known Arctic offshore hydrocarbon resources “are located inside the Exclusive Economic Zone of Arctic states” and a policy objective saying that the exploitation of these resources “should be provided in full respect of strict environmental standards taking into account the particular vulnerability of the Arctic”. EU member states have a vested interest in securing reliable hydrocarbon resources, particularly as reliance on foreign sources become increasingly more unreliable, including energy relations with Russia. Fisheries – the policies focus on “significant Arctic fisheries that are present in the Barents Sea and to the east and south of the Norwegian Sea”, and that “The EU is among the most important consumers of Arctic fish, of which only a small part is caught by Community vessels”. Also included is the policy objective of ensuring exploitation of Arctic fisheries to be “at sustainable levels whilst respecting the rights of local coastal communities”. As well as securing access to the Arctic Ocean, and the potential for hydro-carbon resources, the EU also has a definitive interest in Iceland’s application for accession because of its fishing resources, as well as expanding its already large market with Norway. Transport - EU Member States have the world’s largest merchant fleet and many of those ships use trans-oceanic routes. The melting of sea ice is progressively opening opportunities to navigate on routes through Arctic waters. This could considerably shorten trips from Europe to the Pacific.” The policy also has an objective of gradually introducing Arctic commercial navigation, while promoting stricter safety and environmental standards, and defending “the principle of freedom of navigation”. Tourism – there is reference to a policy objective of continuing “to support sustainable Arctic tourism” but to try to minimize “its environmental footprint”. There is clear indication of EU support to indigenous peoples and local populations with the statement that “Arctic indigenous peoples in the EU are protected by special provisions under European Community Law”. The EU has also embraced research as a form of better understanding Arctic environment and social change. Its ongoing commitment to an EU Arctic Information Centre is a pillar of its overall strategy of being a key player in Arctic science development. Similarly, the EU sponsored IPY project, IPY-CARE (Climate of the Arctic and its Role for Europe), included partners from over 60 countries to assess Arctic change on Europe.



Economic Development

Indigenous and Social Development

The capability to: yy conduct research, monitoring and assessments - with the statement that “EU Member States and the European Community are major contributors to Arctic research”, and a policy objective to “maintain the Arctic as a priority area for research to close knowledge gaps and assess future anthropogenic impacts, especially in the area of climate change”. yy monitor traffic in the Barents Sea and to the east and south of the Norwegian Sea – linked to fisheries yy communications networks related to shipping and marine traffic yy navigation ability in air, on land/ice and off-shore (particularly sea-ice conditions). yy monitoring for relevant scientific research

Capability Requirements


Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online