Designing NATO’s Arctic Policy
The Arctic region, also known as the High North, is a dynamically developing area. With melting ice, new passages open and present new opportunities as well as potential threats. Five out of eight Arctic states are members of NATO and they have vital economic and security interests in the area. They try to cooperate with Russia in the matter. Meanwhile, the Russian activity in the region is increasing. In 2014, Russia has operationalised its Arctic Joint Strategic Command and its military capabilities in the region are evolving. This presents the dilemma of formulating the NATO’s response. Should NATO stay with the current strategy and leave the activity in the High North up to individual state initiative or should NATO take a clear stance on the Arctic region, coordinate the activities and risk provoking Russia? If so, how should NATO’s strategy for the High North look like? These are some of the questions that the delegates in the North Atlantic Council will need to resolve during the session.
The North Atlantic Council (NAC) is the highest and the most important political governing body of NATO. The NAC meets frequently at various levels, from the Permanent Representatives to the Heads of States of all 29 member states. Together, they decide on the major questions of security requiring collective action and issue joint communiqués to the public. Thereby, the NAC is effectively steering the most powerful military alliance in the world. Its unanimous decision-making process requires representatives to extensively negotiate with all 28 partners and arrive at a common accord.