30th May - 1st June, 2017 | Copenhagen, Denmark

Pre-Conference Workshop


Shared spaces, contested territories  

The Arctic is no longer an ungoverned space. As ice melt accelerates and access to the ocean improves, new opportunities emerge to exploit the region’s economic potential. Natural resources and tourism both exert a powerful pull, whilst access to a new shipping lane will eventually present a welcome strategic gain for northern trade, particularly that originating from Russia. National foreign policies are therefore re-orientating themselves to consider the politics of the High North, and there is an increasingly urgent need to develop an international, collaborative approach to regional governance.

This pre-conference workshop will address the complex strategic outlook that underpins enhanced military engagement in the Arctic. It will examine a growing tension between national priorities and collective responsibility, and will assess the challenge of balancing territorial security – a concern for all nations with an Arctic border – with the economic claims of non-Arctic nations, including China. The session will deliver a critical introduction to the operational focus of the main conference, by assessing how the growth in Arctic activity will and should affect a global military approach to regional sovereignty and security. It is a vital session for strategists, operators and solution-providers alike. 


1300-1400: Registration and coffee
1400-1415: Opening Remarks
1415-1515: Session 1 – Identifying the key challenges and actors in the Arctic space. How will economic activity in the High North increase over the next decade?
1515-1545: Coffee Break
1545-1645: Session 2 – How will the advancement of economic claims impact sovereignty and safety in Arctic seas and on Arctic ice, and how can we establish a collective, military-backed approach to regional security? 
1645-1700: Closing Remarks

Key Questions
• How should the development of Arctic governance be reflected in an enhanced military presence for the Arctic?
• How should the international community confront completing claims on Arctic territory and resources?
• Is the international community ready to respond to threats to High North security?
• How is Russian activity in the Arctic developing, and what threat does this pose to the peaceful development of regional governance?


Dr Mika Aaltola, Programme Director, the Global Security Research Programme, The Finnish Institute of International Affairs

Dr Aaltola works at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, where he leads the Global Security Research Programme. An expert in Finnish Foreign policy, his ongoing projects include work on the critical challenge of securing access to the Global Commons, with reference to the Arctic. Prior to his current position, he served as a Visiting Senior Research Fellow and Visiting Professor at John Hopkins and Tallinn University respectively.