Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 386

386 Arctic Yearbook 2014 to establish how indigenous communities could best interact with and benefit from independent scientific activities. This section is interesting both for its emphases and its omissions. It aligns the UK with all AC states in rejecting an Arctic Treaty, in identifying the AC as the central place to seek Arctic solutions (also in dialogue with outsiders), and in noting the importance of UNCLOS – on which the document later expands. While the UK itself has no sovereign rights or territorial claims to protect in the Arctic, the forthright references to military activity and the role of NATO28 bring London in line, notably, with Denmark’s stated strategy for defending its Arctic possessions29 as well as with some of the more recent US policy documents.30 By praising the Ilulissat statement the UK also implicitly recognizes the special status under UNCLOS of the five ‘coastal’ (or ‘littoral’) states – Canada, Denmark by virtue of Greenland, Norway, Russia and the US. The other AC member states (Iceland, Finland Sweden) have complained when these five met separately, at Ilulissat and elsewhere.31 On the other hand, the document does not directly discuss the risks of and safeguards against conflict in the Arctic, as does for instance the recent Faroese strategy; and it fails to highlight – either here or, with only slight exceptions, later – the non-military security threats of accidents and oil spills, natural disasters, and possible non-state attack (terrorism, sabotage, violent protest). The AC has in fact devoted particular attention to civil emergency response in recent years, leading to the achievement of two legally-binding agreements among member states on Search and Rescue and major oil-spill handling respectively.32 A further gap is any substantive discussion of the societal, developmental, and health challenges facing many indigenous groups, and indeed the urbanized Arctic populations. As for institutional omissions, the British