Science Diplomacy as a Means to Create Stability and Peace in the Arctic

June 23, 2014

AAAS Science and Diplomacy recently published a new manuscript by Paul Berkman, Arctic Options principle investigator and lead project coordinator, entitled Stability and Peace in the Arctic Ocean through Science Diplomacy.

In this article Berkman discusses the role “peace” plays as the foundation for international stability. Curiously, he points out that “the term was consciously rejected as a common Arctic issue when the Arctic Council was established. The fear then, as now, was that peace implies demilitarization.”

Similar to the principles underlying the work of the Arctic Options team, Berkman links international stability to sustainable development – balancing economic prosperity, environmental protection and social equity, while taking into consideration the needs of present and future generations. Also essential to stability in the Arctic Ocean is the need for diplomacy to help balance national interests and common interests.

Berkman speculates, “If the Arctic states are too timid or nationalistic to openly discuss balance, stability, and peace when tensions are low, how will they possibly cooperate when conflicts arise?” and calls for science diplomacy and statesmanship.

This article is adapted from the speech on “The High North” that Berkman was invited to present at the 2013 NATO Maritime Commander’s Conference, The Challenge of Building and Sustaining Global Maritime Awareness, on November 20, 2013, in London.