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........ published in NEWSLETTER # 60

By Dr. L. Lyck, Dept. of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School (Denmark) and Dr. V. Boyko, Institute of Philosophy and Law, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novisibirsk (Russia)

Over recent years, increased attention has been given to the Arctic region, in particular to its economic, environmental and political development. Canada has taken the initiative of setting up an Arctic Council, in September 1996, which will include representatives from eight Arctic nations.

In social science terms, the "Arctic" is a relative, not an absolute concept, relating to several dimensions, such as constitutional and geographic status, remoteness, social economic status, and demographic/anthropological factors. There is only one sovereign state with all its territory situated in the Arctic (Iceland), but many other areas of the globe have shared characteristics (Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, areas of Norway, Sweden, and Finland (north of the Polar Circle, Greenland, the Faroes). Remoteness has to do with the distance from the centre as well as accessibility, transportation, and communication. Socioeconomically, the Arctic is characterised by a low population density, a fragile natural environment, and overwhelming economic dependence on one or a few resources, often coupled with income transfer. Demographically, the region has a large indigenous population, heavy immigration from the South (albeit only seasonal), minority problems, immigrant majorities, high infant mortality, low expected lifespan.

The present book (NATO ASI SERIES 4-5) is the first to present a large number of articles on contemporary social, economic and political developments in the Arctic, written by social scientists from Russia and the western world, many of whom live and conduct their research in the region. The book thus presents a much more complete picture of the modern world of the Arctic, offering a unique opportunity to compare what is happening in the different parts of the region.

The book analyses the similarities and differences in the Arctic and focuses on management perspectives. Furthermore, it gives a realistic impression of a Russia in transformation, of the different approaches to social science in Russia and in the other Arctic countries and of the political development process in Russia today, a development which also changes the perception of NATO from being considered as Russia's enemy number one to becoming a supporter of Arctic cooperation. This perspective is very important for peaceful world development and ought to be further supported by new NATO initiatives. An example of such an initiative could be to move still more north and east to Yakutsk and have a more focussed conference as a follow-up to the Novisibirsk conference and on the theme: "Interrelation between Man and Nature in the Northern regions with emphasis on Economy, Environment and Living Conditions" which could become a basis in the Arctic for scientific cooperation and experiences: 1) economic development, 2) pollution industrial contermination and environment and 3) human health and living conditions in the Arctic.
Reference books: 2-4, 4-3, 4-4, 4-5, E169

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