In pursuit of environmental sustainability in the Arctic: The role of Arctic Council governance norms in shaping the region’s environmental governance systems.

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: governance, policy, environmental responsibility

Principal Investigator: Spence, Jennifer (1)
Licence Number: 15554
Organization: Carleton University
Licenced Year(s): 2014
Issued: Oct 20, 2014

Objective(s): The objective of this project is to explore to what extent the governance features of the Arctic Council has influenced the way its participants work together and make decisions (governance norms) and, by extension, to what extent these governance features may have spread to the broader network of existing institutions that support environmental governance in the region.

Project Description: The objective of this project is to explore to what extent the governance features of the Arctic Council has influenced the way its participants work together and make decisions (governance norms) and, by extension, to what extent these governance features may have spread to the broader network of existing institutions that support environmental governance in the region.

This dissertation adopts a qualitative research methodology. Data collection is focused on mapping the network of institutions that shape and influence Arctic policies, and on capturing the observations and perspectives of people who are involved in the Arctic’s environmental governance systems. Data collection is taking place in Canada, the United States, Iceland, Finland, Denmark and Norway and takes the form of 1) in person semi-structured interviews with representatives of relevant international bodies, governments, communities, and with other public and private sector stakeholders and experts; 2) field observations based on attendance at relevant meetings, discussions and conferences of the Arctic Council and its working groups – including observing the agenda setting and decision-making processes – and meetings, discussions and conferences within the broader policy community to identify similarities and differences among the actors and the nature of their discourse; and 3) archival research using primary and secondary source material. Primarily, basic data will be collected on the institutions that make up the broader Arctic governance systems; whereas, data collected on the Arctic Council will support “thick description.” In particular, through the use of NVivo data analysis software, this research project will study participants’ perceptions of the governance features of the Council, as well as how and why they value these specific features.

Electronic copies of the final doctoral thesis will be provided to interviewees and others from the NWT who express an interest in the project.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from October 20, 2014 to October 23, 2014.