The Arctic Council

Although the North Pole and the Arctic Ocean belong to no one, Canada, Denmark, Russia, Norway and the United States, all have exclusive economic zones in the Arctic. The disputes about what belongs to whom in the Arctic are not closer to an end, on the contrary. Indeed, today, this is one of the most valuable zones in the planet and the Arctic Council now controls the show. Created in 1996, the Arctic Council assembles Canada, Denmark, Finland, the US, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden, and is supposed to promote cooperation concerning the environment, oil and mining, maritime traffic, fisheries and tourism in the Arctic. Whilst ten years ago this was not a significant territory, the melting of the ice caps has made it very attractive, even for countries as remote as China, India or Japan. More and more countries want to become permanent observers of the Council, that may not have voting or speaking power, but bear an influence in the making of decisions. Although this can be positive, what is undeniable is that the Arctic Council has the influence to promote the industrial exploitation of the Arctic, which many expect, and many others condemn. The Arctic may be the next stage of a battle for resources, in which the Arctic Council may play a decisive role.

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