By Mary Simon
The sovereign claims of states in the Arctic will be of little value if humanity’s sovereign responsibilities for the earth as a whole are not respected. It is true that there are more conventional issues of sovereignty in the Arctic. Some fear that aspects of Canada’s sovereignty in the North is under threat. Russia, the United States, Denmark, and now the European Union and countries even further removed are all part of the mix. Yet it would be a mistake to see issues of sovereignty in the Arctic strictly in the old-fashioned sense of inter-state relations, military calculations and activities, and formal diplomatic agreements and exchanges.
Science and research have very important roles to play in setting a new course in policy making. The foundation of all good-decision making is appropriate information. Decades ago, Aboriginal peoples had to push their way into the research agenda. Today, science and research agendas for the Arctic and North must take their lead from the peoples of the Arctic and North, drawing on our capacity where it is abundant and contributing to its growth where it is lacking.