Sustainable Arctic Resource Use

This project aims to analyse the use of information in natural resource governance and management in the Arctic region.

Natural resource use in the remote Arctic marine environment is rapidly expanding and diversifying. The Arctic, however, lacks an effective state environmental governance system to deal with the current and future use and exploitation of natural resources. The extraterritoriality and diversity of many resource use activities further complicates governance. Resource use in the Arctic is driven and governed through networks of state and non-state actors, representing a diversity of environmental authorities (e.g. state, market, moral, scientific) on local, national and transnational decision-making scales. As the rule of law and state authorities have limited governing power in the Arctic, new governance arrangements are or will be designed to protect in the transnational Arctic marine environment. Therefore informational governance processes and instruments can form an interesting alternative to fill the state governance void in the Arctic.

The role of information in governing (future) extractive activities in the Arctic, such as drilling for oil and natural gas, has been explored, but is still meagre particularly in the Russian Arctic. Non-extractive activities have received even less attention, despite their growing economic significance. Cruise ship tourism in particular is a rapidly growing industry that is of vital importance for diversifying economic development and promoting nature conservation in remote parts of the Arctic region. A comparative study of informational governance arrangements for inherently different types of Arctic resource use can provide valuable insight in the role of information in governing resource use in the Arctic region (e.g. observation systems, spatial planning, protected areas, risk management), the potential future risks for, and incompatibilities between, sectors, and the diverging interests of national and transnational authorities.


This project aims to analyse the use of information in natural resource governance and management in the Arctic region. Specific focus will be given to two distinct types of natural resource use, utilizing different ecosystem services: oil and gas exploitation and cruise tourism. A regional focus will be given to the Russian side of the Barents Sea, where both cruise tourism and oil and gas extraction are developing rapidly and absence of effective regulation is eminent.