The Role of Hydrocarbon Development in Arctic Governance: A suitable Approach for Human Development in the Region?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


The Arctic has received increased attention in the past decade, not at last due to new estimates about the region's vast natural resource deposits. The common interest of the Arctic states in developing these resources becomes visible in both their respective national Arctic strategies as well as through declarations of the main forum for intergovernmental cooperation in the region—the Arctic Council—where mass-scale natural resource extraction may be one way to move toward a sustainable future. This paper analyzes whether the promotion of hydrocarbon development can contribute to sustainable human development in the Arctic. This paper argues that, while some regions may be affected positively, the Arctic population at large will likely not benefit from hydrocarbon development. Following approaches from political ecology, this paper suggests that there are indications that hydrocarbon development is more in the interest of global elites—based in the economic and political centers in the south of the Arctic—rather than an agenda for meaningful human development of the Arctic population. Thus, this paper concludes that hydrocarbon development is not a suitable approach to develop the Arctic's societies in an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable manner for current and future generations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman and Societal Security in the Circumpolar Arctic
Subtitle of host publicationLocal and Indigenous Communities
EditorsKamrul Hossain, Jose Miguel Roncero Martin, Anna Petrétei
PublisherBrill Nijhoff
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-36304-5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

SeriesStudies in Polar Law


  • Arctic governance
  • Sustainable development
  • Human security
  • Political ecology
  • Oil and gas

Field of science

  • Law


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