Arctic Security Series

Arctic Security Roundtable Munich (2018)

Participants discuss during the Arctic Security Roundtable at the Munich Security Conference 2018 (Photo: MSC / Kuhlmann)

As part of the Arctic Security Series, the MSC organized a roundtable on February 17 during this year's main conference with over 40 representatives from the military, the think tank community, governments and international organizations as well as the private sector.

During the discussions, it became clear that the Arctic is no longer an emerging policy issue but one that already carries global geopolitical significance. The debate focused on the growing military build-up in the Arctic, although it was also made clear that a clash over resources in the Arctic seems unrealistic at this stage. Russia’s increased cooperation with Asian neighbors on Arctic issues was also debated as was China's pivot and growing interest in the Arctic. Finally, governance questions were discussed intensively, such as a potential security dimension for the Arctic Council or the precise role of NATO in the Arctic.

About the Arctic Security Series

Arctic Security has become a key topic on the international security agenda: Warming at a pace of at least twice the global average, the Arctic is undergoing a dramatic transformation that has far-reaching geopolitical and security implications. The MSC aims to contribute to the emerging debate through a series of events aimed at select decision-makers and experts at the highest levels of politics, the private sector, and civil society. 

Roundtables and other activities

As part of the Arctic Security Series, the MSC organizes regular Roundtables on the issue, as well as other events, which vary in size.

MSC Roundtables are intimate, off-the-record gatherings of no more than 40 participants that aim to facilitate frank and open debates between key actors. They typically take place throughout the year at the sidelines of high-level international events around the world. The topics of discussion are tailored to reflect current debates and security challenges pertaining to the Arctic region, attracting high-ranking representatives from governments, militaries, the intelligence community, academia, and civil society.

In addition to the events specifically dedicated to the topic, Arctic security issues continue to feature in various MSC activities. The MSC stages panel discussions as well as side events on Arctic security at the annual flagship conference in Munich and at the MSC's Core Group Meetings. Further, a chapter on the Arctic was featured in the 2017 edition of the Munich Security Report.

Past Events

Arctic Security Roundtable Reykjavík (2017)

On October 12 in Reykjavík, just before the start of the annual Assembly of the Arctic Circle in the Icelandic capital, the Munich Security Conference brought together 40 leaders and experts from governments, navies and coast guards, research institutes, and civil society for an Arctic Security Roundtable.

Participants included U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, Finnish Minister for Nordic Cooperation Anne-Catherine Berner, Prime Minister of Iceland Bjarni Benediktsson, Swedish Minister of Defense Peter Hultqvist, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, and the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon. Senior representatives from all Arctic states, including Russia, Canada, and Norway, were present.

The Roundtable was supported by the Government of Finland, the Mayor of Reykjavík, and Arctia Ltd., as well as the Munich Security Conference's partners in our Arctic Security Series: the Polar Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the NATO Center of Excellence for Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters, and the Arctic Circle.

You can find a brief summary of the day's discussions in our event report. A selection of photos from the day is available in our media library.

Arctic Security Roundtable Washington, D.C. (2017)

Several Northern European foreign ministers, among which Timo Soini (Finland) and Børge Brende (Norway), US Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska as well as other experts discussed new security challenges in the Arctic during the MSC Core Group Meeting in Washington, DC, on May 9, 2017.

The MSC Arctic Security Roundtable was hosted jointly with the Wilson Center's Polar Initiative and the Arctic Circle. You can find a brief report here. A few photo impressions are available in the photo album of the MSC Core Group Meeting in Washington.