Exploring Gaps in Arctic Governance: Identifying Potential Sources of Conflict and Mitigating Measures is a 2021 RAND report by Benjamin Sacks et al. Together with an interactive map, Potential Drivers of Crises in the Arctic, it explores “six categories of potential conflict catalysts”:
- Russia’s central role in Arctic access;
- Increasing safety and environmental risks;
- The Arctic as a gray zone;
- Challenges to the current rules of Arctic governance;
- China’s increased economic and political involvement in the Arctic, and;
- Uncertainty about Greenland’s geopolitical future.
The authors identify “three key governance gaps in relation to these catalysts”:
- Limited dialogue and transparency on military issues;
- Limited capability to execute governance agreements, and;
- Tension between the growing need for inclusivity and Arctic states’ interests.
The report finds that “Such gaps do not themselves create conflict but could provide an opportunity or a motivation for states to resolve conflicts in ways other than regional cooperation, including military ones. To address these gaps, Arctic stakeholders should improve currently limited dialogue and transparency on military issues, update and provide new capabilities to implement existing governance agreements, and enable more inclusivity in Arctic-relevant decisionmaking without challenging the sovereignty of Arctic states.”