Project Arctic

Project Arctic is an educational simulation of the geopolitics of the Arctic Region in the context of climate change. As the acceleration of climate change produces rising environmental impacts globally, the Arctic region, given its unique environmental and geopolitical status, is particularly affected, and is drawing rising attention from international stakeholders.

Russia is deploying an increasingly large number of military assets to the region, becoming a foremost actor to engage in a strategic build-up of military forces in the area. The People’s Republic of China has dubbed itself a “near-Arctic state,” in anticipation of the upcoming “Polar Silk Road” project — a network of Arctic shipping routes. The United States has a plethora of interests in the Arctic, varying from its territorial sea, navigation through international straits and upholding the freedom of the seas, to fishery conservation, pollution control, and resource development. The European Union has become more attentive to the region, since it is “one of the world’s strongest proponents of greater international efforts to fight climate change, through the development of alternative energy sources, resource efficiency, and climate change research’’.

Project Arctic employs a simulation model as a pedagogical methodology to demonstrate how climate change, geopolitics and policy are inextricably intertwined in the Arctic Region. Via this simulation model, Project Arctic aims to enable participants to gain a greater understanding of the dynamics and potential outcomes of future policies in the region. Through combining critical and creative thinking, decision-making processes, negotiations, and analytical skills, participants are given the chance to engage in a dynamic modelling scenario in which the complexities of the climate change-conflict nexus are explored. Environmental policy meets security policy, with crisis-solving skills having to be adapted to the unprecedented situation facing the Arctic.