A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter with Air Station Kodiak delivers supplies to the maritime security cutter USCGC Bertholf (WMSL 750) during Arctic Shield 2012 in the Arctic Ocean. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Tamargo)
A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter with Air Station Kodiak delivers supplies to the maritime security cutter USCGC Bertholf during Arctic Shield 2012 in the Arctic Ocean. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Tamargo)

-SAR is the great challenge – not armed conflict

-The Arctic is not going to be a place for armed conflict between different countries. We know that, dr. Michael Byers says. Byers is a Canadian expert on global politics and international law – among other subjects.

In a podcast released from The Arctic Institute, in cooperation with The High North Dialogue, Micheal Byers predict that the biggest threat to the Arctic is the increasing activity.

Need for search and rescue

I think primarily of non-state challenges. Not challenges related to the possibility of conflict with other countries, but the challenges that come from increased activity, whether it is increased tourism, increased shipping, and increased mining, oil, and gas exploration activity. With that, I see an increased need for search and rescue (SAR), which in most Arctic countries is provided by the military or the coast guard, Byers says.

No armed conflict

He is not worried that we will see armed conflicts between countries in the Arctic:

-The Arctic is not going to be a place for armed conflict between different countries. We know that. We live in a very tightly integrated world. Even the problems with Russia right now do not change the fact that Russia is a member of the World Trade Organization, and a very important partner of the European Union.

Patrols and policing

Based on this, there will be great technological challenges regarding search and rescue in the areas, according to Michael Byers.

– The opening of the Arctic due to climate change is bringing more activity to the Arctic and with that a greater need for search and rescue and for policing, for patrols to deal with non-state threats like smuggling or illegal immigration.

 Military or coast guard

I see increased need for policing, for what we call a “constabulary” function, provided either by militaries or by coast guards, to patrol coast lines, to watch out for criminal activity, and where necessary to intervene, to catch criminals, or to stop illegal or dangerous things from occurring. Given how very large the Arctic is – and given how inhospitable natural conditions there can be – these are challenging functions that require capable military or coast guard forces to venture across great distances to provide these essential functions of the state.

 Listen to, or read, the complete interview with Michael Byers. 

 

 

 

Michael Byers holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Global Politics and International Law. His work focuses on issues of Arctic sovereignty, climate change, the law of the sea, and Canadian foreign and defence policy. He holds major research grants from ArcticNet and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Dr. Byers has been a Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford University, and a Professor of Law at Duke University. He has also taught as a visiting professor at the universities of Cape Town and Tel Aviv. Dr. Byers is the author of the national bestseller “Intent for a Nation” and, most recently, “Who Owns the Arctic?” He is a regular contributor to the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and Ottawa Citizen. (Kilde: The University of British Columbia.) Foto: Alejandra Aguirre.

Michael Byers holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Global Politics and International Law. His work focuses on issues of Arctic sovereignty, climate change, the law of the sea, and Canadian foreign and defence policy. He holds major research grants from ArcticNet and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Dr. Byers has been a Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford University, and a Professor of Law at Duke University. He has also taught as a visiting professor at the universities of Cape Town and Tel Aviv. Dr. Byers is the author of the national bestseller “Intent for a Nation” and, most recently, “Who Owns the Arctic?” He is a regular contributor to the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and Ottawa Citizen. (Kilde: The University of British Columbia.) Foto: Alejandra Aguirre.

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