Knowledge production was and remains important to political cooperation in the Arctic. Initially, it provided an image of relatively neutral arena in which potential political cooperation could be tested.. Later, scientific assessments of environmental problems became a core activity of the political cooperation. According to Schram-Stokke, the Arctic Council can be seen as cognitive frontrunner in international relations.205 However the relationship between the intergovernmental cooperation and the scientific community is not straightforward. For example, proposals to make IASC an advisory board to the AEPS have been turned down. There were discussions within the AEPS to establish its own scientific and technical advisory body, but IASC argued that this arrangement could politicize science.206 The advisory body was never established, but in practise the politically mandated working groups, especially AMAP, provided this role while IASC focused on coordinating research. AMAP has a formal mandate to provide scientific advice on future actions and consequently there is division of responsibility between the politically more independent IASC and AMAP, which is a formal science-policy arena.207 With its dual roles, AMAP can be described as boundary organization where governments both guide knowledge production and formulate scientific policy advice together with scientific experts.208
204 AMAP, Arctic Pollution Issues 2002, v.
205 Tennberg, Arctic Environmental Cooperation: A Study in Governmentability, 47-43; Mathiassen, Vit-enskap og politikk: Om produksjon og formidling av vitenskapelig kunskap i Arctic Monitoring and Assessment programme - Arktis räd; Schram Stokke, "International Institutions and Arctic Governance."
206 Tennberg, Arctic Environmental Cooperation: A Study in Governmentability, 57, 60-61.
207 According to AMAP Strategic Plan: 1998-2003, 2, AMAP's overall objective is "to provide reliable and sufficient information on the status of, and threats to, the Arctic environment, and to provide scientific advice on actions to be taken" (emphasis added).
208 David H. Guston, "Boundary Organizations in Environmental Policy and Science: An Introduction," Science, Technology & Human Values 26, no. 4 (2001): 399.
In the governmental cooperation, indigenous peoples' participation has also included calling attention to indigenous knowledge. The extent to which it has been included has varied between the different working groups but CAFF has had programs focusing on indigenous knowledge from the beginning, while AMAP has addressed indigenous issues mainly in relation to human health. Nuttall described the situation in the AEPS as one in which indigenous environmental knowledge was institutionalized and indigenous peoples perspectives were regarded almost uncritically as experts on environmental conservation.209 He also shows how this is fitting with the original declaration launching the AEPS, which stresses the special role of indigenous peoples in protecting the Arctic environment. In the Arctic Council, indigenous peoples have an even stronger role with their position as Permanent Participants, which they use to forward their perspectives and knowledge in various assessment processes.
In spite of the formal recognition of indigenous knowledge, in the context of knowledge production about the Arctic, there are also underlying controversies. One issue is defining who has the right to determine how Arctic research is conducted. A history of colonial knowledge production done without concern for people living in the Arctic raises issues about the ethics of research conduct and also who has the right to define the Artic environment.210 Indigenous peoples have not always considered the scientific community, including IASC, as receptive to including indigenous knowledge. There have even been statements about how the lack of communication between different groups in the production of knowledge affirms existing power structures. Likewise, IASC did not want to become a tool for social and policy action, a stance that has also spilled over into its attitude towards social sciences.211 From an indigenous point of view, knowledge production, especially as it relates to the environment, is part of self determination.212 Control over how the Arctic is framed by science can thus be seen as part of asserting political independence within the more general trend of decolonization of the Arctic. Moreover, indigenous peoples have been able to use the environmental framing of the Arctic, extending this concept into sustainable development, and create a role for themselves in the broad international context.213 A key example of this is the role that the image of Inuit interests played during negotiation of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.214 The increasing recognition of indigenous knowledge and its integration with conventional western knowledge traditions are also apparent in higher education initiatives such as the University of the Arctic. This is a virtual university that facilitates collaboration among a number of different institutions of higher education in the Arctic, and its governing structure includes indigenous
209 Tennberg, Arctic Environmental Cooperation: A Study in Governmentability, 55 ff; Nuttall, "Indigenous Peoples' Organisations and Arctic Environmental Cooperation," 623.
210 Tennberg, Arctic Environmental Cooperation: A Study in Governmentability, 59; ICARP II Working Group 11, ICARP II. Working Group 11. Arctic Science in the Public Interest. Science Plan 2005.
211 Tennberg, Arctic Environmental Cooperation: A Study in Governmentability, 60.
212 Nuttall, "Indigenous Peoples, Self-Determination and the Arctic Environment."
213 Nuttall, "Indigenous Peoples' Organisations and Arctic Environmental Cooperation," 624.
214 Downie and Fenge, Northern Lights Against POPs; Stephanie Meakin and Terry Fenge in Heininen, "Circumpolar International Relations and Geopolitics," 210.
peoples' organizations as well as a standing committee to promote indigenous input. Its goal is to include traditional knowledge holders as Arctic professors and experts.215
The scientific community has also been building Arctic networks independent of Arctic political cooperation. They include research programs initiated by the World Climate Research Program, such as the Arctic Climate Systems Study (ACSYS) started in 1993. The goal was to understand the role of the Arctic in the global climate by specifically looking at the global consequences of natural or human-induced change in the Arctic climate system and whether the Arctic climate system was as sensitive to increased greenhouse gas concentrations as climate models suggest. The ACSYS program ended in 2003. Some of the gaps in knowledge identified at the ACSYS final conference are now being addressed by the project Climate and Cryosphere (CliC).216 Many organizations working with Arctic research coordinate their meetings during the annual Arctic Science Summit Week. There have also been conferences to initiate and coordinate long-term research planning, one in 1995 and one in 2005.217
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