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Looking towards the North: Belgium’s Role in the Arctic

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The Arctic region has re-emerged as an area of geostrategic importance and is attracting increasing attention from Belgium. Accelerating climate change has altered living conditions in the region. The prospect of greater commercial activity and rapid technological advances, combined with growing interest from non-Arctic states, means that the region is increasingly connected to, and an integral part of, the rest of the world. As this process unfolds, the Arctic could impact the global balance of power and the conditions of rivalry and competition between the great powers. While this may occur peacefully, the possibility of sudden, rapid changes and unpredictable shocks are no guarantee for stability.

The Arctic is warming nearly four times faster than the rest of the planet. Climate change is transforming the region and creating significant challenges in the areas of security and defence, access and navigation, energy, infrastructure, cooperation, and governance. As a result, states in the region and elsewhere are turning their attention to the Arctic. This has important implications for the region’s security and stability.




This article was originally published in the 26th issue of the Belgian Military Review .


(Photo credit: Belgian Ministry of Defence)