Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 239

239 Arctic Yearbook 2015 increases risk to ships, since any incident will be compounded by the factors previously described. Risk of mortality, particularly if passengers end up in the water, is significantly higher in the Arctic due to low water temperatures. Policymakers seeking to improve emergency response capacity in the Arctic must therefore weigh the very high cost of enhancement against the very low probability of a major incident; consider the unknown pace of increasing ship traffic (particularly high passenger volume ships like cruise vessels); balance competing demands from other sectors of government, including maritime emergency response; and prepare for potentially significant criticism should their decision prove wrong. Here the wickedness of the problem can be seen more clearly. The wicked characteristics of Arctic emergency response can also be identified through the application of theoretical frameworks of wicked policy problems. Applying theoretical frameworks to Arctic emergency response While there are many frameworks for analyzing wicked problems, reviewing just one or two will be adequate to demonstrate that emergency response in the Arctic has all the characteristics of such a problem. Weber and Khademian (2008) identify three criteria: unstructured, cross-cutting, and relentless. Similarly, Van Bueren et al. (2003) note three types of uncertainty: cognitive, strategic, and institutional. These two frameworks highlight important aspects of Arctic emergency response. Information is both inadequate and evolving, in both human and environmental spheres, in the maritime Arctic: ship traffic in the Arctic has been variable in recent years,3 and the rate of change of both ship traffic and ice conditions is unknown. Cognitive uncertainty is clearly present; this problem can also be described as unstructured. The problem is dynamic, and it is not directly clear how various interventions affect outcomes. The cross-cutting nature of wicked problems is closely linked to strategic uncertainty: both frameworks highlight the number of actors and different perspectives involved in managing a wicked problem. The involvement of many different actors implies a high probability of conflict, as each actor will have a different problem definition, objective, and preferred approach. Bringing many different viewpoints and styles to a manageable consensus is one of the great challenges inherent in addressing a wicked problem. This challenge can be seen in the Arctic, where different states, state agencies, local agencies, industry groups, and nongovernmental actors all define adequate emergency response differently, and may seek to manage it differently as well. At this point, differences in the frameworks emerge. Weber and Khademian (2008) highlight the relentless nature of wicked problems: they persist and require long-term management. As the very nature of the Arctic continues to evolve far into the future, emergency response capacity must evolve as well: there is no solution that can be implemented in 2015 that will be appropriate in 2025 or 2050. Therefore, emergency response in the Arctic can be described as a relentless problem. Van Bueren et al (2003), in contrast, emphasize the institutional uncertainty inherent in wicked pr