Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 196

196 Arctic Yearbook 2015 However, due to many political developments taking place in the Circumpolar North since 2008, when the Illulisat Declaration (Ilulissat Declaration 2008) was issued, and especially the growing interests of non-Arctic actors in the region, the position and role of non-state actors has been challenged by pressures from the Arctic national governments (Koivurova et al. 2015; Steinberg & Dodds 2015; Ingimundarson 2014; Duyck 2012; Graczyk 2011). If this expanding trend of intergovernmentalism within Arctic cooperation continues – and the significance of the Arctic grows further both globally and nationally – then indeed, “defining political community and legitimate participation in Arctic governance” is becoming increasingly important, as suggested in the Arctic Human Development Report II (Poelzer & Wilson 2014: 185). Furthermore, it may lead to questions about the plurality of the regional governance, about its democratic legitimacy and accountability, and finally, a debate on lack of respect for the rules of democracy in the Arctic governance – a subject that is sometimes raised in regard to other intergovernmental institutions (Bernstein 2011; Grigorescu 2015; Zweifel 2006). In fact, such voices and concerns have appeared in the past, in the early 1990s, e.g., when the Nordic Council’s Parliamentary Conference was organized in Reykjavik from 16 to 17 August 1993 (Samstag 1993). Or maybe such concerns are exaggerated or not fully justified? Maybe Arctic regional governance should not be criticized, taking into account the indigenous peoples’ organizations exceptional consultation rights as Permanent Participants in connection with the AC’s negotiations and decisionmaking process (Koivurova & Heinämäki 2006) and the development of indigenous internationalism (Loukacheva 2009)? Or maybe the presence of regional inter-parliamentary organizations and nongovernmental organizations as Observers in the Arctic Council provides sufficient protection against such objections? While the issue of the role of the indigenous peoples’ organizations in Arctic governance has been discussed in several other places (Koivurova & Heinämäki 2006; Duyck 2012; Loukacheva 2009; Wilson & Øverland 2007; Martello 2008), this article aims to address the problem of democratic accountability within Arctic governance by me