Governing Complexity in the Arctic Region

This book examines emerging forms of governance in the Arctic region, exploring how different types of state and non-state actors promote and support rules and standards.

The authors argue that confining our understandings of Arctic governance to Arctic states and a focus on the Arctic Council as the primary site of circumpolar governance provides an incomplete picture. Instead, they embrace the complexity of governance in the Arctic by systematically analyzing and comparing the position, interventions, and influence of different actor groups seeking to shape Arctic political and economic outcomes in multiple sites of Arctic politics, both formal and informal. This book assesses the potential that sub-national governments, corporations, civil society organizations, Indigenous peoples, and non-Arctic states possess to develop norms and standards to ensure a stable, rule-based Arctic region. It will be of interest to all scholars and students working in the fields of Arctic Sovereignty, Security Studies, Global Governance, and International Political Economy.

Table of Contents


  1. Arctic states and regional governance
  2. Regional governance of Arctic Ocean: the Arctic 5 (A5) and the Arctic 5+5
  3. From international to regional: sub-national units in Arctic governance
  4. Civil society in Arctic governance: Indigenous peoples’ organizations, observers, and Arctic residents
  5. Private sector actors and Arctic governance

Conclusion: governing complexity in the Arctic: past, present, future

About the Authors

Mathieu Landriault is the director of the Observatoire de la Politique et la Sécurité de L’Arctique (OPSA), based in Montreal.

Andrew Chater is an assistant professor (limited term) at Brescia University College.

Elana Wilson Rowe is Research Professor at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI).

Whitney Lackenbauer is Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in the Study of the Canadian North at Trent University.

Praise for Governing Complexity

“These respected Arctic scholars provide valuable insights into the complexity of the timely and important subject of Arctic governance, providing thoughtful discussions of the political, economic, legal and cultural dimensions of governance at local, subnational, national and regional levels.” – Elizabeth Riddell-Dixon, professor emerita, Western University, Canada.

“Governing Complexity in the Arctic Region” is a must-read for anyone interested in Arctic issues. It gives the reader an excellent introduction to how different actors have shaped the “new” Arctic agenda.” – Dr. Svein Vigeland Rottem, Senior research fellow, Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Norway.

“As a scholar who has written extensively on the process of providing a framework for governance in the northern circumpolar region, I find that their recent undertaking offers a useful consideration of the issues and problems involved. They are knowledgeable of the Arctic region and its present needs. Their work gets at the heart of the challenges and opportunities that confront those who engage in diplomacy and paradiplomacy within the circumpolar arena.” – Douglas C. Nord, Professor, Umeå University, Sweden.