University of Oulu

Middleton, A., Lazariva, A., Nilssen, F., Kalinin, A. & Belostotskaya, A. (2021). Scenarios for sustainable development in the Arctic until 2050. Arctic yearbook 2021, 1-17.

Scenarios for sustainable development in the Arctic until 2050

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Author: Middleton, Alexandra1; Lazariva, Anastasia2; Nilssen, Frode3;
Organizations: 1Oulu Business School University of Oulu
2Institute for Emerging Market Studies, Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO
3Nord University Business School, University of Nordland
4World Energy Council
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Northern Research Forum, 2021
Publish Date: 2023-06-13


The Arctic region has increasingly come to be seen in a new light because of the global transformations resulting from the disruptive challenges of climate change and shifting global political, social and economic patterns. The harsh environmental conditions there have long constrained economic activity. The climate crisis, while having a negative impact on the region in some senses, opens up new prospects for development in others. The Arctic has become a geopolitical hot spot where global and regional players seek to increase their influence. On one side, the Arctic possesses vast natural resources and increasingly will be an important global source of bio-resources. The area is also one of geopolitical tension. On the other side, the Arctic represents a “temperature gauge” for distant pollution and waste in the sea. At the same time, powerful voices from supranational institutions are putting heavy pressure on preserving the Arctic as a kind of “nature protected area” with severe restrictions on economic activity and human impact. This paper draws attention to the tension between the regional interest in maintaining and developing a socially, economically and biologically sustainable area of human settlement and the more detached interest in preserving the Arctic as a nature reserve. The study approaches Arctic development from a social, ecological and environmental point of view, mapping key development drivers and the changing geopolitical context. The research utilizes scenario methodology and qualitative expert interviews combined with comprehensive literature studies. Four scenarios illustrate how the Arctic might look in 2050 and what the implications might be for the sustainable development of the region from the economic, social and environmental perspectives.

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Series: Arctic yearbook
ISSN: 2298-2418
ISSN-E: 2298-2418
ISSN-L: 2298-2418
Pages: 1 - 17
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 511 Economics
520 Other social sciences
512 Business and management
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors and The Arctic Yearbook. Readers may download, distribute, photocopy, cite or excerpt this Arctic Yearbook material provided it is properly and fully credited however we do not allow commercial use or the making of derivatives.