Perceptions of decision-makers about a potential forum of cooperation in the eastern part of the North American Arctic
Cooperation in the Arctic region has been fruitful in the past few decades, generating several multilateral organizations and forums covering the entire circumpolar North. In many cases, forums were created to serve as catalysts, bringing together decision-makers from different backgrounds in a conference setting to promote dialogue and the exchange of ideas. To enquire about the possibility of creating a forum of cooperation in the eastern North American Arctic, a total of five governmental officials from Canada, Denmark, Nunavut, Québec and Greenland, and one elected representative from Greenland were interviewed with the same set of five questions. The governmental officials were in senior positions at the main department focusing on foreign affairs in their respective jurisdictions. Most thought that a new forum of cooperation in the region would be highly desirable, on the grounds of shared interests, common identity and cultural affinities. Consensual positions were also found regarding the central role that civil society would play in a new cooperative venue and on sub-national governments assuming a leading role to spearhead the initiative. Following these interviews, it is difficult to pinpoint one government that could alone spearhead this new forum of cooperation. However, the governments of Nunavut and Greenland were the most enthusiastic about such a new regional forum. Given Greenland’s drive to complete independence, this type of forum could prove to be a statement of diplomatic motivation and ambition, tilting toward proto-diplomacy and an international policy that prepares the terrain for complete autonomy.
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