Theme: Arctic Policy Development of China and Nordic Countries in the New Geopolitical Landscape

Took place online on Zoom, 13-14 January 2022

Ms. CHEN Danhong, Deputy Director General, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Natural Resources,PRC

Dear Colleagues,

It gives me great pleasure to meet you virtually and jointly attend the CNARC seminar 2022. On behalf of China’s Ministry of Natural Resources, I’d appreciate the efforts of the Secretariat of CNARC and the Umea University to co-organized this seminar. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, CNARC members couldn’t meet personally, I hope this online seminar will resume the dialogue between China and Nordic countries, to review what we have accomplished together, summarize past experience and draw up a blueprint for the future.

Established in the context of rapid climate change in the Arctic and the expansive economic development of China, the cooperative regime of CNARC creates a multi-disciplinary, multilateral, pragmatic and open network for Arctic social science research, committed to increasing in-depth awareness, understanding and knowledge of the Arctic and its global impacts. CNARC is currently composed of 18 member institutes, 10 from Nordic states and 8 from China. All members are leading think-tanks and institutes in Arctic studies in their respective country and endowed with capacities to influence, coordinate and initiate Arctic research in their professional fields.

In its five-year development, CNARC has grown to function as “building the bridge” and “filling in gaps of knowledge” so that both China and the Nordic countries would have an enhanced understanding of each other. This will be helpful to China to understand major issues with regards to the Arctic governance, to figure out main concerns of the Arctic states, to make up for lack in knowledge, as well as to attempt to construct an innovative cooperative model between Arctic and non-Arctic states. CNARC has now become an important channel for China and Nordic states for policy advocacy and information dissemination.

In the past year, the world is facing challenges against the backdrop of a protracted COVID-19 pandemic, fragile economic recovery and acute climate change. China advocates to speed up joint efforts to foster a green way of development and secure a win-win of economic growth and environmental protection, and sets goals to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. The policy advocacy is also reflected in China’s engagement in the Arctic affaires. In May last year, China ratified the Central Arctic Ocean Fisheries Agreement, leading to the entry into force of the agreement in preventing unregulated fishing in the Central Arctic Ocean – a matter of mutual interest. As China’s shipping company - COSCO normalizes Arctic shipping operations, China’s is actively engaged in the negotiation on the Arctic heavy oil ban to reduce the emission of black carbon. In the Yamal LNG project, Chinese manufacturers are the key suppliers of modules which are assembled on the construction site onto a prepared foundation. Compared with conventional methods, the use of prefabricated modules avoids massive on-site construction and reduces the impacts on the fragile eco-system.

With regards to scientific cooperation, China has been the active and frequent participant in the multilateral Arctic governance mechanisms, for instance, the Arctic Science Ministerial, the Arctic Circle Forum and the working groups of the Arctic Council. China continues its annual Arctic Ocean marine research expedition in the past years, with specific focus on the comprehensive observation of the atmosphere, oceanography, ecology and geology of the Central Arctic Ocean and the Chukchi Sea. The expedition acquires valuable information and data that will contribute to the response to Arctic climate change and environment protection. However, due to the pandemic, the number of scientists heading to the Yellow River Station in Svalbard, Norway, and to the China-Icelandic Aurora Observatory in Akureyri, Iceland has dropped drastically. I hope the land-based scientific research in cooperation with the Nordic countries will recover in the near future.

Nordic countries have been playing an indispensable role in facilitating China’s involvement in Arctic Affairs. Iceland was the first country to conclude with China a bilateral framework agreement and a memorandum of understanding back in 2012 to strengthen cooperation on marine and polar policy coordination, forecasting and monitoring, technology and research on the Arctic Sea Route. Arctic cooperation emerges as distinct highlights in the China-Denmark comprehensive strategic partnership concluded in 2015 and in the China-Finland future-oriented cooperative partnership established in 2017. In December 2016, China and Norway normalized bilateral diplomatic ties and aimed to hereafter promote mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation in polar issues. There has been a very solid foundation for cooperation between China and Nordic countries.

In the last 2 years however, the COVID-19 pandemic has cast a shadow over sustainable development in the Arctic, at the same time, the political situation in the Arctic is constantly affected by power competition on both the Arctic regional level and the global level. We have noticed that besides Denmark, all Nordic countries have released their updated Arctic policies for the next decade. In the Nordic policies, the Nordic countries have shown their commitment to promoting multilateral cooperation regimes in the Arctic, and focusing on climate change and sustainable development. The updated policy documents indicate the specific domains for China to strengthen cooperation with Nordic countries. The Arctic climate and environment affects the entire planet, as an observer of the Arctic Council and an active participant in Arctic affairs, China attaches great importance to the practice of Arctic governance on climate change and the sustainable development of the Arctic on a multilateral basis, and to the promotion of bilateral and multilateral cooperation with Nordic countries. For Ministry of Nature Resources, we would like to strengthen cooperation on research on science and Arctic shipping, and to enhance to transparency and openness of such cooperation. For instance, we could carry out joint Arctic investigation of marine biological resource survey on the platform of the Snow Dragon ice-breaking research vessels under the auspices of the Central Arctic Ocean Fisheries Agreement.

To conclude, I sincerely wish great success for the CNARC online seminar after a one-year break, and through this seminar, we will have an enhanced mutual understanding on the policy updates of both China and Nordic countries. I hope China and Nordic states to further strengthen Arctic cooperation under the Arctic Council framework and CNARC will continue to play a role in this cooperation.  

Thursday 13 January 2022

8:30-9:00 UTC Time (16:30-17:00 Beijing Time) Opening Session

  • CHEN Danhong, Deputy Director General, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Natural Resources, PRC
  • Katarina Gårdfeldt, Director, Polar Research Secretariat of Sweden
  • SUN Bo, Deputy Director, Polar Research Institute of China
  • Dieter Müller, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Umeå University, Sweden

9:00-10:30 UTC Time (17:00-18:30 Beijing Time) Session I: Nordic and China Arctic Policy: Review and Outlook

10:30-11:00 UTC Time (18:30-19:00 Beijing Time) Comments & Questions

Friday 14 January 2022

8:30-9:30 UTC Time (16:30-17:30 Beijing Time)  Session II: China-Nordic Arctic Cooperation: Domains and Approaches

9:30-10:00 UTC Time (17:30-18:00 Beijing Time) Comments and Questions with the participation of commentators:

  • Arild Moe, Senior Research Fellow, Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Norway
  • Timo Koivurova, Professor, University of Lapland, Finland
  • Egill Thor Nielsson, Senior Advisor, Icelandic Center for Research

 10:00-11:00 UTC Time (18:00-19:00 Beijing Time) Informal Meeting of Member Institutes (Representatives ONLY)

Chair: Dr. YANG Huigen, Director of CNARC

  • Next CNARC Symposium and Assembly Meeting
  • About Membership
  • Suggestion for CNARC Cooperation during the Pandemic Period

CHEN Danhong, Ministry of Natural Resources of the People’s Republic of China

GAO Feng, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China

LONG Wei, Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration

Katarina Gårdfeldt, Polar Research Secretariat of Sweden

SUN Bo, Polar Research Institute of China

Dieter Müller, Umeå University

XIA Liping, Tongji University

Douglas Nord, Umeå University

Timo Koivurova, University of Lapland

Andreas Østhagen, Fridtjof Nansen Institute

Egill Þór Níelsson, Icelandic Center for Research

DENG Beixi, Polar Research Institute of China

SUN Kai, Ocean University of China

Kjell Stokvik, Nord University

XUE Guifang, Shanghai Jiaotong University

ZHAO Long, Shanghai Institutes of International Studies

Deliang Chen, University of Gothenburg

Thursday 13 January 2022  Session I: Nordic and China Arctic Policy: Review and Outlook

Xia Liping from Tongji University - China’s Cooperation in Arctic Governance

Douglas Nord from Umeå University - Sweden’s New Arctic Policy

Timo Koivurova from University of Lapland - Finland’s New Arctic Policy

Andreas Østhagen from Fridtjof Nansen Institute - Norway’s Arctic Policy: still High North, low tension?

Egill Þór Níelsson from Icelandic Research for Research (RANNÍS) - Icelandic New Arctic Policy

Deng Beixi from Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) - China-Nordic Arctic Relations in a Rapidly Changing Arctic Geopolitics

Friday 14 January 2022  Session II: China-Nordic Arctic Cooperation: Domains and Approaches

SUN Kai from Ocean University of China - China's Arctic Engagement in the New Geopolitical Situation

Kjell Stokvik from Nord University - Prospect of Arctic Shipping form a Nordic Perspective

XUE Guifang from Shanghai Jiaotong University - Arctic Biodiversity and Sustainability: Cooperation between China and Norway

ZHAO Long from Shanghai Institutes of International Studies - New Reality and Agenda-setting for China-Nordic Arctic Cooperation in the Post-pandemic era

Deliang Chen from University of Gothenburg - Arctic Warming Revealed by Observations, Reanalysis, and Multiple CMIP6 Models

YANG Huigen, Polar Research Institute of China (Director)

YANG Jian, Shanghai Institute for International Studies (Deputy)

Peter Sköld, Arctic Research Center, Umeå University (Deputy)

DENG Beixi, Polar Research Institute of China (Deputy)

LIU Han, Polar Research Institute of China (Secretariat)

Arild Moe, Fridtjof Nansen Institute

Ole Arve Misund, Norwegian Polar Institute

Timo Koivurova, Lapland University

Dieter Müller, Umeå University

Egill Þór Níelsson, Icelandic Center for Research

Katarina Gårdfeldt, Polar Research Secretariat of Sweden

Kjell Stokvik, Nord University

Camilla Brekke, The Arctic University of Norway

Eyjolfur Gudmundsson, The University of Akureyri

SUN Kai, Ocean University of China

XIA Liping, Shanghai Tongji University

LI Zhenfu, Dalian Maritime University

XUE Guifang, Shanghai Jiaotong University

JIANG Min, Shanghai Ocean University

LIU Lanfeng, South China Business College

Download Agenda