As ice caps are melting, the Arctic receives unprecedented attention from states in the region and from other major powers. Trade routes for international shipping and some of the Arctic’s vast resources are becoming more accessible. Increased interests and activity in the Arctic bear opportunities and risks in two main areas: environmental and security. Even though the Arctic appears far off, both are also of concern to Switzerland.
The proposed “Swiss Vision for the Arctic” imagines the kind of Arctic Switzerland would like to see and to which it could and should contribute. Based on a Swiss interest to mitigate climate change and environmental hazards, this vision highlights that commercial activities and regional development in the Arctic need to be pursued in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to the benefit of the local population. As Switzerland’s security and prosperity depend on a functioning European and international order, the vision foresees a peaceful resolution of disputes through legal mechanisms, transparency about security perceptions, and a limitation of military activities, guided by the principle of human security.