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Reducing Risks and Increasing Environmental Security in Arctic Waters

How can the Nordic Countries Enhance Cooperation?

image of Reducing Risks and Increasing Environmental Security in Arctic Waters

Available online: https://pub.norden.org/temanord2020-506/ Abstract [en]: The Arctic is undergoing rapid climate change, and the shrinking sea ice opens up possibilities of exploring more of the Arctic Ocean for economic development, including new sea routes. Maritime activity and particularly commercial shipping, including cruise ship tourism, cargo transportation and fishing vessels, is projected to increase substantially. There are evident risks to human safety and environmental security related to an increase of shipping in the Arctic. This report focues on how the Nordic countries can together work towards increase environmental security in Arctic waters and reduce risks associated with increased shipping activity in the region.

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Environmental and human risks in relation to shipping in the Arctic

The impact of increased shipping and other marine operations in the Arctic region poses significant risks in relation to environmental and human safety, including diverse effects of a social and environmental nature. These take the shape of direct effects along routes and at the operations sites and indirect impacts in relation to supporting infrastructure. Within this context, Arctic development poses environmental and operational risks as well as risks for Arctic populations, particularly indigenous populations whose lives and livelihoods rely on traditional hunting of marine life and dependency on the marine environment. The Arctic is considered to contain some of the last physically undisturbed marine spaces on the planet, including unique ecosystems and distinctive species, and therefore needs special attention.

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