New regionalist approach to multilateral cooperation in the High North
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The thesis at hand deals with the different aspects concerning the regional integration process in the Arctic. As a region with huge economic potential and a relatively heterogeneous set of regional actors, consisting of nation-states, NGOs and indigenous populations, the Arctic certainly merits researches of this type to be conducted. The theoretical foundation of this paper relies on the concept of New Regionalism (also New Regionalism Approach – NRA) which concentrates on the new type of regional formations emerging in the post-Cold War era. Incorporating a wide range of issues and a multi-level approach to regional integration, NRA provides a good analytical framework for investigating a region such as Arctic, where, since the end of the Cold War, regional integration process has been on full speed. As a result of the analysis conducted in this thesis, it was found that although the regional integration process has gained significant momentum in the last two-and-a-half decades, it has reached to a point where stagnation (or even reversal of the integration process) is more possible than further integration. As an explanation, several factors, such as limited political agenda and competing sovereignty claims, can be brought out. Nevertheless, it was also determined that the overall potential for military conflict in the region remains low (although not completely absent). It was also found that factors such as global warming, whilst contributing to some elements of regional integration, can be seen as having a negative effect on others. Finally, it was concluded that as the region is in constant change (both in political and climatic sense), new studies should be conducted periodically to stay on top of things.