The Fight for the Arctic

BY ALEXENDER MELTZERWERNER, Korean Central News Agency

The Arctic has long been a point of contention between various nations because of its abundant amount of natural resources.  Not only are there approximately 200,000 species unique to the Arctic, it contains an estimated one third of the world total undiscovered natural gas.  The interests of Indigenous people have typically pushed aside in favor of economic gains from various countries, but as permanent consequences rear their head, the Arctic Council is talking the issue of indigenous representation, economic interests, and research opportunities to be had.

A recent merger has occurred between the proposed resolutions Ideal Arctic, which focuses on sustainable extraction of resources and indigenous representation, and FIRE which has the same sentiments, but which also included expanding research task forces.  The new proposal is called Ideal FIRE and through balancing all these issue hope that the entire Arctic Council can come to a peaceful resolution that will help not only Indigenous people but future generations through the reduction unsustainable extraction of natural resources.  “The current condition of the Arctic is far from ideal. What Japan wants is something simple, to strive for this ideal Arctic, the Arctic of the future,” said the delegation from Japan. Japan and other observer countries believe the Arctic Council itself should be reworked to be more efficient through the creation different expert groups to handle specific topics.  

However, nations with sovereignty of the Arctic have a different proposal in mind.  Correspondents with both the Russian Federation, and China have told the Korean Central News Agency, that they support the resolution called Invest, Protect, and Organize (IPO).  Russia emphasizes, “we want to emphasize that resource extraction is an inevitability. It makes up over 20% of our GDP as of now. When we extract resources, we are not doing so to intentionally hurt the environment, we are doing so to protect the millions of people within Russia,” a statement with much weight to it considering that the natural gases extracted from the Arctic to Russia held power all of Europe. IPO wishes to encourage investments from sovereign nations to expand not only research task forces but help empower Indigenous people have more of a voice in the Arctic Council.

One point of agreement for all nations is that the current treatment of the Indigenous people should be changed to better include them in the affairs of their homeland.  Delegates are confronted with the challenge of balancing the harmful extraction of natural resources that are necessary for keeping the lights on, vs a more sustainable solution that helps preserve that natural beauty of the Arctic for future generations and helps the Indigenous people.  It depends on all delegates to focus on both short term and long-term solutions.

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