ID:14 Critical Arctic Science Diplomacy: Sustaining Balanced Development at Times of Turbulence

24 February 2023 | 10:30 - 12:30 (GMT+1) 

Open Session - HYBRID


Room: Hörsaal 5


Session Conveners: Yulia Zaika


Session Description: 

Several past years have shown that the international science dialogue exists at the edge of turbulence and being disturbed by different geopolitical events. The notion of science diplomacy has taken the critical discourse at different levels of actors exposing the epistemological ambivalence which showcased the methodological imbalance of science and diplomacy in this phenomenon. Moreover, different levels of dialogue and cooperation have shown different examples of resilience and adaptability (or the opposite) to the external turbulence. This session aims in an open and inclusive manner discuss the vivid examples of past and current science diplomacy practices in the Arctic discourse within different circumstances bringing the turbulence of the previously considered as balanced relations and conditions. We welcome presentations and posters from researchers, practitioners, experts and other actors of science diplomacy in the Arctic. Session will be maintained as the regular science session with presentations and discussions.



  • unfold_moreThe Cooperation in Arctic Science Diplomacy: Centering on the biodiversity among China,Japan and Republic of Korea

    Chen Liying1; Wang Yanbo1; Zhang Hanwen1
    1Northeast Asian Studies College of Jilin University


    In recent years, with the intensification of global warming, the Arctic problems have also continued to deteriorate, and the solution to the Arctic problems depends on global cooperation. Eight Arctic countries have established the Arctic Council, which has made great contributions to solving Arctic problems and also provides a platform for other non-Arctic countries to participate in Arctic affairs. China, Japan and the ROK are all near-Arctic countries, and actively pay attention to Arctic issues and participate in Arctic affairs. In 2013, China, Japan and the ROK were included in the Arctic Council as observer countries and played their respective roles in it. The sharp decline of Arctic biodiversity has become one of the most serious Arctic problems. The Arctic Council has established a working group Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna to solve related problems. As an important Arctic regional mechanism, the International Arctic Science Committee has also actively carried out many related work. Whether past, present or future, biodiversity conservation is an effective way for countries to engage in science diplomacy in the Arctic. China, Japan and the ROK have participated in various Arctic biodiversity conservation work in many mechanisms. They have also carried out a lot of Arctic cooperation work in other mechanisms and established dialogue mechanisms. In the future, on the one hand, China, Japan and the ROK will continue to carry out science diplomacy in the protection of Arctic biodiversity through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms. On the other hand, they will continue to rely on the regional governance mechanism of the Arctic to carry out corresponding Arctic biodiversity protection work.

  • unfold_moreSustaining and Developing International Arctic Science Connections within the Continuum of Uncertainties

    Yulia Zaika


    The current geopolitical events of 2022 have created turbulent conditions in which international scientific and technological cooperation is undergoing a transformation of institutional systems, as well as ways of integrating Russian research community into it. Existing traditional institutions of scientific cooperation have shown their practical effectiveness, but with the onset of a critical geopolitical situation, have lost flexibility in decision-making - with regard to the Arctic discourse many have either suspended their cooperation with Russian representation or significantly reduced it. Such decisions, despite historical precedents in the past (the Cold War of 1947-1991), were unexpected for science community members involved in longstanding partnerships. In the framework of the protracted crisis and constantly changing conditions, Russian science community as an actor of science diplomacy has faced the times of uncertainty and frustration. As P.Berkman discusses informed decisions operate across a ‘continuum of urgencies,’ extending from security time scales to sustainability time scales for nations, peoples and our world. The Russian science community is mostly characterized by high uncertainty avoidance, which inhibits the establishment of new ways and mechanisms for international cooperation or decelerate them while enhancing long-standing cooperation in familiar geographies with familiar partnerships. In this presentation author will discuss the ‘continuum of uncertainties’ the Russian science community has faced with in the Arctic context and its open-ended effect in the ways of expanding science connections.

  • unfold_moreScientific presence and cooperation in the High North: How far science is from diplomacy?

    Mayline Strouk1; Marion Maisonobe2
    1University of Edinburgh; 2CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research)


    The presence of China, India and several other non-Arctic and non-European countries in the Arctic has been growing over the past two decades. Given the geographical and cultural distance of these countries from the polar region, their presence in the High North may seem surprising. In this presentation, we analyse the presence in the Arctic of scientists from non-Arctic countries through an analysis of the field missions in which they are involved. We highlight the role of the stations located on the Svalbard archipelago for access to the field and the cooperation strategies implemented by scientists from countries that do not have stations above the Arctic Circle. Finally, we discuss the issues of integration in the Arctic distinguishing empirically between three international cooperation logics: 1) core-periphery, 2) regional patterns of cooperation and, 3) mini coalitions of non-Arctic countries. This contributes to discussing the gap between science diplomacy discourses in the Arctic and effective scientific presence and integration in international research.

  • unfold_moreScience diplomacy as the only way to ensure Arctic’s climate balance

    Viktoriya Nikitina
    University of Lisbon


    Now that the Arctic Council was suspended last march by the A-7 (Canada, USA, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark), cooperation with Russia is restricted. The Arctic was considered to be a region of great cooperation and stability, however, the Russian invasion of Ukraine ended up severely affecting this previous status quo. Besides other threats, climate change is one of the biggest threats to the Arctic as this region is melting twice as fast. Without cooperation between A-7 and Russia, no effective measures can be taken since Russia represents half of the Arctic. Now, relationships between the West and Russia are getting more deteriorated, including in the Arctic where several science projects evolving Russia have already been paused. The lack of cooperation could jeopardize the climate ambitions of both sides. The only way to bring countries together and reestablish cooperative ties for the sake of the Arctic's climate balance is through science diplomacy. Scientists can play a mediating role in peacebuilding as they are the key to restarting cooperation in soft issues, which can then fuel cooperation in economic and political matters. Private companies are also the key to restarting cooperation between the Arctic countries. Indeed, several companies from Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland have recently met in Russia to discuss the development of the Arctic region. The goal of this presentation is to discuss how West-Russia relations could start over in the Arctic by looking at science diplomacy as the key to improved relations for the sake of climate change mitigation.

    Methodologically, this paper is based on document analysis of qualitative nature using first source and second source documents.

  • unfold_moreScience and Geopolitics of Arctic for supplying critical energy to the World; an Indian perspective

    Rosan Kumar Mallik
    Geological Survey of India


    The first step to mitigating climate change and its security challenges is reaching zero-net carbon emissions by 2050, an international goal established in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. It requires massive global investment in green technologies. Maintaining the status quo of rare earth element supply chains is untenable. China accounts for approximately 46 percent of global rare earth element exports, which it can leverage against its geoeconomic rivals. As global warming continues and the demand for rare earth elements increases, the U.S. must insulate itself from Chinese supply chain coercion. Arctic is concerned, India is a signatory to the 1925 ‘Treaty concerning the Archipelago of Spitsbergen’ or the ‘Svalbard Treaty’. In 2007, India established a scientific research station ‘Himadri’ at Ny Alesund, Spitsbergen and gave a thrust to India’s endeavour in the advancement of Polar Sciences. Besides scientific studies, India can also be expected to expand research in the field of resources. Part of this shift can be attributed to the evolving geo-economic shift to the North pivoting on oil and gas, deep-sea mining, and fishing and these activities would be of immense economic value to India. In that context, Russia can play a significant role in India’s energy security. In the past, the state owned ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) has been engaged with Russian oil companies in the Sakhalin oil projects and this has resulted in OVL gaining some expertise in cold-climate oil and gas exploration ventures. Keeping in view of the growing concerns for REE Supply and demand statistics, it is imperative for a
    A Free and Open Arctic
    Legal Recourse for Victims of Climate-Induced Displacement
    Ensuring Secure and Reliable Supplies of Rare Earth Elements
    The Dirty Cost of Clean Energy
    Geo-economics Rivalry and Supply Chain Coercion

  • unfold_moreRussia’s Arctic Science Diplomacy: Theory And Practice

    Maxim Gutenev


    Arctic science diplomacy (ASD) is both a relatively new topic and an acute issue in Russian academic and political circles. There is neither a clear definition of the concept nor a consensus on the stakeholders, tools and activities of science diplomacy. This article focuses on the main approaches that have developed today in Russia in relation to the concept of the "ASD":

    The first approach considers the ASD as a tool of "soft power" of regional players. Science diplomacy helps to promote a positive image of specific states and gain access to non-state resources that are usually inaccessible to state actors.

    A technical/instrumentalist approach to the ASD involves the use of academic and scientific-technical and cooperation between regions, countries and societies to create reliable international partnerships on a non-ideological basis and solve generally significant world problems.

    The third direction considers the ASD as a form of "new diplomacy", the strategic goal of which is not only to build friendly relations and cooperation with all Arctic countries, but also to develop international scientific cooperation and improve the international image of Russia.This analysis makes it possible to explain the strategic motives and driving forces of the ASD, to identify stakeholders, as well as the key forms of the ASD of Russia. It is established that the majority of the participants of the ASD share the idea that international scientific cooperation in order to ensure the sustainable development of the Arctic can become an effective mechanism for solving the most acute problems of the region, as well as for improving the current relations of Western countries with Russia.

  • unfold_moreImplementing the 2017 Agreement on Enhancing Arctic Scientific Cooperation: problems and opportunities

    Alexander Sergunin


    This paper aims to examine the major barriers to the implementation of the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation (2017) and to uncover ways of facilitating the Arctic science diplomacy in the High North. Particular, this paper explores how to operationalize the effective review process established under Art.12, utilize bilateral science and technology cooperation agreements with non-Arctic states to implement Art.17 on ‘Cooperation with non-Parties’, identify Arctic research projects and infrastructure available under the Agreement, and designate appropriate authorities as contact points under Annex 2 of the Agreement. The paper then examines the potential of linking the Agreement’s implementation with other forums and institutions. In particular, it recognizes the Arctic Council as a platform for enhancing Arctic scientific cooperation and considers how cooperation within various Arctic professional organizations and associations may be revived and how to create synergy between the Agreement and Arctic Science Ministerial processes. This paper also provides some policy suggestions specific to the implementation of the Agreement in light of the new phase of the Ukrainian crisis.

  • unfold_moreIASSA and world events: Reinvigorating social science diplomacy

    Grete Kaare Hovelsrud
    Nordland Research Institute


    Since its founding in Fairbanks in 1990, the International Arctic Social Sciences Association IASSA, with more than 800 members from a broad range of social science disciplines and humanities, has become an organization at the forefront of setting the social science and humanities agenda and supporting international research in the Arctic. This includes broad collaboration with organizations such as the International Arctic Science Committtee IASC, UArctic, the International Science Committtee ISC, and the Arctic Council on addressing and developing relevant projects. IASSA collaborates with Arctic Indigenous Peoples on multiple issues including Indigenous knowledge, knowledge co-production and setting ethical and equity standards in Arctic research. ICASS, the triannual congress of IASSA has become the meeting place for Arctic social scientists and the showcase for the wide range of topics and disciplines we represent. Being the voice of Arctic social sciences, IASSA is well positioned to address current social and political issues. Based in 30 years of experience, the current and past IASSA-presidents will discuss the role of social science diplomacy in the light of the current war in Ukraine, and the recent pandemic and highlight how we as social scientists can contribute to continued international research collaboration.

  • unfold_moreChina's Arctic Science Diplomacy: a chance to improve mutual understanding?

    Marco Volpe
    University of Lapland


    The freezing of the Arctic Council's activities and the enhanced Sino-Russian axis in Arctic energy collaboration have increased skepticism regarding China's Arctic engagement. In this framework of uncertainty, scientific knowledge and expertise play a prominent role in addressing emerging challenges, however, they are deeply affected by the evolution of the international relations regime. The interplay between science and international relations led to the conceptualization of Science Diplomacy (SD), that in the traditional taxonomy consists of three main pillars: “science in diplomacy”, “science for diplomacy” and “diplomacy for science”. Gluckman et al. (2017) theorize a new and more pragmatic approach to SD that merges and balances national interests with common global challenges. China’s scientific engagement seems to collide with mistrust and suspicion that pervade English literature on China's role in the Arctic. China has been a member of the International Arctic Science Committee since 1996, through the China-Nordic Arctic Research Centre (CNARC) eight Chinese and ten Nordic institutions collaborate and organize international symposiums, and it regularly participates in Arctic Council working groups as a regular observer state in the Arctic Council. The presentation aims at framing SD under a global approach in order to better understand whether China's Arctic SD resembles the balance between national interests and addressing global challenges.

  • unfold_moreAsian countries' Arctic interests; sustainable development, geopolitics and diplomacy in the contemporary world

    Alma Karabeg
    The Arctic University of Norway


    The Arctic region is changing and offers economic opportunities as well as political and environmental challenges. As the Arctic area becomes more important in global politics, Japan and the Republic of Korea grow their interest in the area and make their Arctic policies. The focus is on Arctic governance, future scenarios in the Arctic, and the sustainability of the Arctic. Asian countries' interests rest on the international science dialogue and collaboration in the scientific field. In the context of climate change, new geopolitical and geostrategic dynamics led to the growing interest of non-Arctic states in the affairs of the Arctic. Another factor connected to future-oriented cooperation of importance is under what global conditions will this cooperation take place because international science dialogue is being disturbed by different geopolitical events. The engagement of countries like the Republic of Korea and Japan in the Arctic will significantly influence the evolving dynamics in that region. Economic change linked to globalization offers new opportunities for Asian countries. The melting of ice due to global warming and the creation of the northern passage offer new logistic opportunities and are changing the geopolitical situation. However, the focus on the Arctic policies of Asian countries is very much focused on research and the need for collaboration. Realizing that common threats and challenges can be solved by collaboration is a good way to create a society for all. What is the contribution of Japan and the Republic of Korea in science diplomacy practices in the Arctic discourse in the current geopolitical context?

  • unfold_moreA Research on Building Resilience in the Russian Arctic through Science Diplomacy

    Ebru Caymaz
    Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University


    International scientific collaborations in the Arctic region has become one of the most successful cases for science diplomacy. Since the theme of the Russian Chairmanship in the Arctic Council was selected as “Responsible Governance for Sustainable Arctic”, the collaborations were expected to enhance further particularly in the fields of sustainability and resilience. However, both international Arctic research as well as Arctic exceptionalism has been threatened by the recent Russia-Ukraine conflict. On the other hand, as being home to 40 indigenous peoples, building resilience in the Russian Arctic necessitates a more inclusive framework combining traditional knowledge with scientific knowledge. Therefore, Arctic science diplomacy may offer alternative channels for communication and a common ground for discussion. Even though a major research gap exists in studies of history and practices of Russian science diplomacy, the Russian Arctic hosts a highly active group of regional actors within the international scientific and educational cooperation framework. Accordingly, by examining the successful Arctic science diplomacy cases, this study aims to outline feasible suggestions for building resilience in the Russian Arctic.