Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 255

255 Arctic Yearbook 2015 the Arctic Council, both the external circumstances of relative détente in the aftermath of Cold War and the upfront explicit exclusion of military security from deliberations of the Council not only created favorable conditions for the development of circumpolar cooperation, but also enabled the chair to carry out functions that extended beyond strictly assigned procedural tasks and formalities. On the one hand, the applied model of a chairmanship rotating every two years (a relatively long duration for a rotating chair system) has brought about space for the chairing country to promote its own priorities, e.g. through presented programs, with the implicit acquiescence of the other members (yet formally under the rule of consensus) as all the Arctic states eventually receive the same privileged opportunity of heading the AC. On the other hand, however, a two-year period may oftentimes be not enough to address effectively some of the major challenges identified in the Arctic. For that reason three Scandinavian countries: Norway, Denmark and Sweden decided to pursue next to their national objectives also a set of common priorities, to endorse continuity in the work of the Arctic Council during their consecutive chairmanships (Norwegian, Danish, Swedish common objectives for their Arctic Council chairmanships 2006–2012).12 Yet, it did not prevent them from presenting as well their individual undertakings, reflective of their distinctive interests and concerns (Nord 2013) as much as of the changing external environment which for example pushed the Danish chairmanship to take upon the question of Observers to the Council (The Kingdom of Denmark 2009; see also: Graczyk 2011). It was for the first time during the Danish chairmanship period that the SAO chair, Mr. Lars Møller, attended the Observers’ meeting in 2010 in Warsaw, followed by the Swedish SAO chair, Mr. Gustaf Lind, in March 2013 and the Canadian SAO, Ms. Susan Harper, who replaced the SAO chair at the “Warsaw Format” meeting with the AC Observer states in March 2015. Whereas similar meeting with the US SAO chair may be anticipated later into the US chairmanship, the United States has been active on the Observers’ issues from its early days in the chair office, initiating for example a series of joint phone calls with the Observers to enhance with them channels of communication and exchange of information.13 Somewhat loosely defined rules of procedure leave some degree of discretion to the chair (for example in its relations with the AC Secretariat), albeit again under the requirement of consensus of all the AC Members for all decisions taken by the Council and its subsidiary bodies. Another form of what could be considered a safeguard mechanism to curtail the chair’s autonomy has been the division of chairs over various AC working groups and task forces, where most of the Council’s work is being done, among all the Arctic states. In concordance with Tallberg’s findings a system where a state in office controls multiple chairs of sub-groups within the organization and where the chairmanship of all or most of those sub-groups shift from one state to the other at the same time is particularly open to a process of logrolling. In the Arctic Council, however, different Arctic states chair different working groups (with exception of Sustainable Development Working Group headed usually by the AC chair) and task forces, while the working group’s secretariats ensure the continuity of carried projects and further shield them from too erratic shifting of the Council’s priorities. Finally, it is worth noting the role of individuals and potential of the SAO chairs as of the entrepreneurial leaders in the chairmanship process. As it was underlined earlier, entrepreneurial leaders are typically agents acting in the name of states (like the SAO chairs) or organizations, “subject to removal if they neglect (...) [their] interests” (Young 1991: 296). However, as much as they represent Smieszek & Kankaanpää