MC I - Disarmament and International Security
Militarization of the Arctic Region
[Name of School]
Finland is deeply concerned about the recent emergence of military activities over the Arctic Region, and the growing tensions surrounding the global Arctic issue.
As a permanent member of the Arctic Council, Finland considers to be fully concerned by the current situation in the Arctic, and will take any necessary measure in order to safeguard, both, peace and cooperation between the Council’s members, provided it does not threaten Finnish territory and interests.
Finland fully supports the legal right and obligations driven by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS): Finland considers the UNCLOS an important set of laws and obligations concerning issues related to the Arctic Ocean. Finland recalls that all Arctic Council members are ought to respect UNCLOS laws and resolutions, thus Finland rejects any territorial claim of any state on Arctic soil without unanimous consent of all concerned states.
Finland considers that the agreements of the Ilulissat Declaration confirm the current engagements of the concerned countries in matters of international law and conventions, nevertheless leaving aside main issues. The mentioned “will to negotiate provisions complementary to the current UNCLOS legal framework” stated by the Declaration does not establish a solid guarantee, in Finland’s opinion, on the further decisions, which will be taken by the 5 signatories, most notably concerning “cooperation”, which every national decision was lacking so far.
Recalling that among the Arctic Council’s mandates, the Ottawa Declaration (which led to the creation of the Council) clearly mentioned that it would “provide a means for promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, with the involvement of the Arctic indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common arctic issues […], in particular issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic”. Finland notes with deep regret that little has been done in providing cooperation and coordination, notably with the current rush for hydrocarbons and natural resources taking place. Moreover, Arctic inhabitants, such as Finnish Sami populations have received little attention from national delegations, while they are first and foremost affected by the current situation.
Finland believes that the current “Arctic Treaty” (signed in May 2011 between the 8 members of the Council) would gain considerable legitimating if it was not restrained on the sole “search and rescue” responsibilities. The treaty currently lacks any agreement on sovereignty, pollution, natural resources and shipping issues, which Finland believes (without minimizing efforts and global consequences concerning search and rescue coordinate operations) to be at the heart of the Arctic issue. Despite its importance and the resources it offers, the Arctic does not benefit from its own legal status, as Antarctica does; the Arctic Treaty can bring an effective response to the current issues, as Finland considers that, by its specificity, the Arctic Region would need a specific legal status (what would that status look like?). A complementary approach of the current UNCLOS legal framework and international laws seems to be the most suitable and appropriate for the Finnish diplomacy.
Furthermore, Finland is deeply concerned by the evident lack of cooperation on the subject of military activities in the Arctic, with the multiplication of military air and naval patrols, notably of nuclear submarines and potentially nuclear-armed vessels and aircraft. Finland (not part of any military alliance) does not wish to take position on the current military activity (and its justifications) in the Arctic, but strongly calls the attention of Council’s members to the potential environmental threat represented by nuclear weapons in an environmentally-weakened area such as the Arctic Region.
Finland reaffirms that agreements can be found on the exploitation of Arctic natural resources, in a peaceful and coordinate context, without the use of weapons (which would totally go against the higher good of the concerned countries); therefore, Finland strongly supports the ban of nuclear weapons over or under Arctic seas.
Military cooperation would ideally concern international security, such as the fight against illegal shipping and traffic, or terrorism.
Finland is committed to developing the Arctic cooperation further, within the framework of the mandate of the Arctic Council, and welcomes the European Union’s involvement in the Arctic issue. Finland welcomes every step done towards the achievement of such agreements, for the sake of peace and international security.