The changing role of environmental information in Arctic marine governance

Lamers, M.A.J.; Pristupa, A.O.; Amelung, B.; Knol, M.


In the Arctic region global environmental change creates economic opportunities for various sectors, which is increasing pressure on marine biological resources. Next to state governance arrangements, informational governance instruments deployed by non-state actors, such as private certification schemes, mapping exercises and observation systems, play a progressive role in introducing ecosystem-based approaches for governing the marine environment. In this paper we review recent academic literature to understand the role of environmental information in Arctic marine governance. Our review reveals that environmental information may on one hand enable safe or sustainable operations of actors by creating legitimacy and building trust, while on the other hand the participation and empowerment of some actors may constrain other actors, leading to conflict and controversy. We conclude that the growing importance of environmental information in Arctic marine governance is driven both by state management systems and non-state actors, that currently the enabling role of information dominates the literature, but that the constraining role of information will likely increase in future Arctic marine governance.