Policy Paradoxes: Challenges Confronting the Contemporary Arctic

  • Amy Lauren LovecraftEmail author
  • Douglas Cost
Part of the Springer Polar Sciences book series (SPPS)


There is both continuity and change in the challenges facing governance of the contemporary Arctic. Since the inception of the Arctic Council, the Chairs have played a significant role in highlighting or reducing the importance of different variables related to the region’s interlinked social and environmental changes. We argue that many of the current challenges confronting Arctic residents and stakeholders are in fact paradoxes – examples of irresolvable tensions at the top of the world that can be researched and managed, but are unlikely, without a significant unanticipated event, to be resolved. This chapter approaches the challenges faced in the twenty-first century Arctic from a perspective that recognizes the complexity of the agenda-setting that an Arctic Council Chair encounters. In the past 20 years interest in the poles has grown and the conduct of research has evolved, yet there remain disconnects between local, national, and Pan-Arctic actors’ policies and the security and vitality of the region. As more information about Arctic systems - social, ecological, and geophysical – becomes available at ever-faster speeds, the meaning of this information to diverse and competing actors is also evolving. The Arctic Council Chairmanship process has a role in promoting a better fit over time between Arctic Council governance and government policies in the North.


Arctic Council Policy paradox Problem definition Arctic governance Arctic policy Co-production of knowledge 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Arctic Policy Studies, International Arctic Research CenterUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  2. 2.School of EducationUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA

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