Sustainable development in Arctic international environmental cooperation and the governance of hydrocarbon-related activities
This chapter argues that sustainable development as a frame of Arctic international environmental cooperation will most likely not result in constraining effects of any significance on future increases in oil and gas extraction. It points out the functions sustainable development served for Arctic international environmental cooperation. It describes the discursive context of the concept and of the changes it underwent. These changes suggest that in the existing Arctic international environmental cooperation, the concept of sustainable development can no longer serve as a suitable policy-guiding frame for identifying what is problematic about Arctic oil and gas activities. Subsequent Arctic Council activities, both in policy and in regulatory output, then very much focused on guidelines and on the legally binding agreements to cope with potential challenges from increased hydrocarbon activities. The Canadian idea was very much influenced by domestic processes, in which indigenous peoples had been successful in claiming and asserting their right to participation in the governance of their Arctic homeland.