Arctic Triumph pp 147-162 | Cite as

Arctic Disaster Risk Reduction and Response as Triumph?

Part of the Springer Polar Sciences book series (SPPS)


Disaster risks and disasters are frequent around the Arctic. Hazards range from the usual sudden-onset suspects—such as earthquakes, avalanches, landslides, floods, and meteorites - to long(er)-term or less familiar changes such as climate change impacts, including sea level rise or microbes unleashed by melting permafrost. Simultaneously, the Arctic region has experienced changes to vulnerabilities – especially the growth and development of the energy, shipping, resource extraction, and tourism industries – increasing the potential of further disasters. That is, with more people and infrastructure potentially affected by hazards, disaster risks rise, especially if vulnerabilities are not counteracted or if they are created through unsustainable development practices. However, while much discourse tends to view Arctic populations as passive players experiencing the consequences of environmental hazard influencers, including but not limited to climate change, in reality, Arctic populations have been actively tackling disaster risks and response. This chapter establishes this point by focusing on the region’s existing disaster risk reduction and response (DRR/R) efforts as demonstrated by the wide range of bi- and multilateral cooperative agreements created to contribute to a less vulnerable Arctic. By analysing them in the context of DRR/R, this chapter highlights that, while unique cooperative measures are in place to address disasters when they occur, these efforts are insufficient to manage the dynamic challenges the Arctic is facing. A shift to a focus on reducing disaster vulnerabilities in the first place is as necessary in the Arctic as it is elsewhere.


Disasters Disaster risk reduction and response Search and rescue Arctic cooperation Paradiplomacy 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.IGH and IRDRUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.University of AgderKristiansandNorway

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