Summary: NATO and NGO Forum

By Melina Joseph

In terms of NATO’s progress on Russian demilitarisation of the Arctic, it appears that delegates are focusing on collaboration with non-NATO states. Four working papers have been drafted to deal with the situation.

These papers range in proposals from open trade routes in the Arctic and sustainable environmental policies to the movement of populations and monitoring of Russian waters. Indigenous rights, Arctic infrastructure, and new forms of extraction are discussed in another paper, in addition to trade routes and cooperation between Russia and NATO.

This morning, NATO was working through amendments on two resolutions. A sub-clause related to housing and transportation was first proposed. This amendment stated that indigenous people would not be transported from Arctic communities that had natural resources available. No delegates found any issue with this amendment that sought to protect vulnerable populations.

NATO proceeded to vote on another amendment, one that fell under the Jurisdiction Over Trade Routes. This amendment would establish that natural resources of routes would only be available to the countries legally approved to own the land. The delegate of Estonia spoke in favour of this amendment by stating that, “Not all members of NATO have equal rights to the region. We want to prevent other countries from laying claims...and destabilising the region.”

The delegate from the United States spoke against this amendment, noting that the United Kingdom and Germany do not currently lay claims in the Arctic Circle but deserve to have access to trade routes. He spoke of Russia, which owns “within half of the Arctic Circle and would become a powerhouse” with this unprecedented access, creating a monopoly of sorts. The amendment failed to pass.

The NGO Forum is working on merging four resolutions addressing the European epidemic, with the topics of aid worker safety, database planning systems, creating a coalition of NGOs, and localizing efforts for efficiency.

The localisation of NGOs served as a point of focus for many delegates, who appreciated the fact that this area would enable employment opportunities in countries. When asked about the monetary allocations of external funding from organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the general consensus seemed to be that the specifics of monetary allocation would pertain to organizational fields.

“Consistent funding can be used for employment opportunities,” the representative from Norwegian Refugee Council mentioned, speaking to the community stability that would be engendered by health and medical care.

This merging indicates the NGO Forum’s commonly shared future goals in addressing the epidemic emergency. In previous days, concerns regarding worker safety and centralisation of efforts presided; they now appear to have manifested into a comprehensive response plan.