Sweden's strategy for the Arctic region - Government.se

Sweden's strategy for the Arctic region - Government.se
Sweden's strategy for
the Arctic region
Sweden's strategy for the Arctic region - Government.se
Cover image Sarek National Park. Photo: Anders Ekholm/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se

Sweden's strategy for the Arctic region - Government.se
Photo: Kristian Pohl/Government Offices of Sweden
Sweden is an Arctic country.                  becoming ever more necessary, especially
                                              in the climate and environmental area.
We have a particular interest and             The EU is an important Arctic partner,
responsibility in promoting peaceful,         and Sweden welcomes stronger EU
stable and sustainable development in the     engagement in the region.
                                              Swedish engagement in the Arctic has for
The starting point for the new Swedish        a long time involved the Government, the
strategy for the Arctic region is an Arctic   Riksdag and government agencies, as well
in change. The strategy underscores the       as regional and local authorities,
importance of well-functioning                indigenous peoples' organisations,
international cooperation in the Arctic to    universities, companies and other
deal with the challenges facing the region.   stakeholders in the Arctic region of
The importance of respect for                 Sweden.
international law is emphasised. People,
peace and the climate are at the centre of    A prosperous Arctic region contributes to
Sweden's Arctic policy.                       our country's security and is therefore an
                                              important part of the Government's
Changes in the Arctic have led to             foreign policy.
increased global interest in the region.
The Arctic Council is the central forum
for cooperation in the Arctic, and Sweden
stresses the special role of the eight
Arctic states. At the same time, increased    Ann Linde
cooperation with observers to the Arctic      Minister for Foreign Affairs
Council and other interested actors is

Sweden's strategy for the Arctic region - Government.se
Foreword		                                                        1
1. Introduction – starting points for Sweden as an Arctic country    4
2. Priorities for Swedish Arctic policy                              8
 2.1    International collaboration in the Arctic                   11
		      2.1.1 International law framework                           12
		      2.1.2 Institutional framework                               14
		      2.1.3 European Union                                        18
		      2.1.4 Bilateral cooperation                                 19
 2.2 Security and stability                                         21
		 2.2.1 Security policy trends                                     22
		 2.2.2 International cooperation                                  23
		 2.2.3 Enhanced national capability                               24
 2.3    Climate and the environment                                 29
		      2.3.1 Climate                                               31
		      2.3.2 Biodiversity                                          32
		      2.3.3 Non-toxic environment                                 34
		      2.3.4 Nuclear safety and radiation protection               35
 2.4    Polar research and environmental monitoring                 37
		      2.4.1 International cooperation                             38
		      2.4.2 Logistics platforms                                   39
		      2.4.3 Knowledge exchange                                    40
 2.5 Sustainable economic development and business sector interests 43
		 2.5.1 Sustainable economic development                           44
		 2.5.2 Swedish business interests in the Arctics                  48
 2.6    Ensuring good living conditions                             53
		      2.6.1 Digital infrastructure                                54
		      2.6.2 Gender equality                                       54
		      2.6.3 Young people                                          55
		      2.6.4 Indigenous peoples’ culture and reindeer husbandry    56

3.	Background about cooperation organisations linked to
        the Arctic region                                           60

Sweden's strategy for the Arctic region - Government.se
Sweden will contribute, as one of the eight Arctic
 countries, to peaceful, stable and sustainable
          development in the Arctic.

The Government wants to strengthen Sweden’s
Arctic profile by making use of the full range of
knowledge and resources available in Sweden.

                                Photo: Henrik Trygg/Imagebank.sweden.se

Sweden's strategy for the Arctic region - Government.se
Introduction – starting
points for Sweden as
an Arctic country
Sweden's strategy for the Arctic region - Government.se
Sweden is an Arctic country. Sweden            of the foundations for international secu-
therefore has a particular interest in and     rity and stability in the region. The Gov-
responsibility for promoting peaceful,         ernment will also contribute to achieving
­stable and sustainable development and        relevant global Sustainable Development
 contributing to constructive international    Goals in the 2030 Agenda in the Arctic,
 cooperation in the Arctic. As one of the      too, and show leadership in the imple-
 eight Arctic countries, Sweden is a mem-      mentation of the international climate
 ber of the Arctic Council.                    agreement (the Paris Agreement) to limit
                                               global warming, including in the Arctic.
The Arctic is facing both new opportuni-
ties and severe challenges. This applies       The changes in the Arctic have also led
­especially to the dramatic climate and en-    to increased international interest in the
 vironmental changes. Global warming has       region. Several countries in Europe and
 hit the Arctic particularly hard, reducing    Asia have become observers to the Arctic
 the extent of ice and permafrost cover        Council. The European Union (EU) has
 and affecting biodiversity and the living     strengthened its Arctic profile. The Gov-
 conditions of the region’s population.        ernment welcomes this development and
 The indigenous peoples are particularly       takes a positive view of the possibility of
 vulnerable. Climate change has also           mobilising increased international support
 played a part in increasing the economic      and engagement to address the global
 importance of the Arctic. The smaller ice     challenges, in the Arctic region, in par-
 cover creates new conditions for the use      ticular the impacts of climate change.
 of natural resources and sea transport,
 for instance. The region’s geostrategic       At the same time, it is in Sweden’s interest
 ­importance has increased for both Arctic     to safeguard the special role and position
  and non-Arctic states. Increased military    of the Arctic states in promoting peace-
  presence and activity in the region have     ful, stable and sustainable development in
  security policy consequences. COVID-19       the Arctic region, mainly by strengthening
  has underlined the need for both resil-      cooperation in the Arctic Council.
  ience and preparedness in the local com-
  munities in the Arctic region to deal with   The Government’s previous strategy for
  pandemics.                                   the Arctic region was adopted in 2011,
                                               the same year that Sweden assumed the
Sweden has to take these changes in the        rotating two-year Chairmanship of the
Arctic into account. A Swedish core inter-     Arctic Council for the first time. In the
est is to try to contribute to a peaceful,     light of the rapid developments in the
stable and sustainable development of          ­region, there is now reason for the
the region through well-functioning inter-      ­Government to adopt a new integrated
national cooperation with Arctic and             approach to Arctic policy.
non-Arctic actors in the region. In both
bilateral and multilateral settings, the       This renewed strategy is intended to set
Government will uphold an approach             out the Government’s objectives and
based on a broad concept of security. It is    main priorities in relation to the Arctic
an overarching Swedish interest to uphold      ­region and to specify the political direc-
respect for international law and the           tion of further work on the Arctic in six
rules-based world order, which form part        thematic areas:

Sweden's strategy for the Arctic region - Government.se
1. international collaboration;                socially and environmentally sustainable
2. security and stability;                     development. Following extensive global
3. climate and the environment;                negotiation processes, both the global
                                               agenda for sustainable development (the
4. polar research and environmental            2030 Agenda) and the international cli-
   monitoring;                                 mate agreement (the Paris Agreement)
5. sustainable economic development            were adopted in 2015. These global
   and business interests;                     frameworks are important starting points
6. securing good living conditions.            for Swedish engagement and internation-
                                               al cooperation in the Arctic.

One important starting point for the           The Government considers that Sweden
strategy is to make use of the full range      should take a leading role in the global
of knowledge and resources available in        implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the
Sweden regarding the Arctic region so as       global agenda for sustainable develop-
to contribute to sustainable development       ment. The 2030 Agenda contains 17
in the Arctic and also to enhance Sweden’s     global goals (SDGs) and 169 targets for
profile as an important actor in this re-      sustainable development. Several of them
spect. For a long time, Sweden’s engage-       are particularly relevant to developments
ment in the Arctic has involved not only       in the Arctic; examples are goal 12 Sus-
the Government, the Riksdag and gov-           tainable consumption and production,
ernment agencies, but also regional and        goal 13 Combating climate change and
local authorities, indigenous peoples’ or-     its impacts, goal 14 Sustainable use of the
ganisations, higher education institutions,    oceans, seas and marine resources and
businesses and other actors in Sweden’s        goal 15 Sustainable use of terrestrial eco-
Arctic region.                                 systems. In these matters the Govern-
                                               ment calls for a high level of ambition in
1.1 Guiding principles of Swedish              the implementation phase.
foreign policy
The Government’s Arctic policy is based        Sweden will also be a leader in the imple-
on the basic principles that guide Sweden’s    mentation of the Paris Agreement to
broad foreign and security policy. Central     limit global warming, including in the
among them are respect for international       Arctic. One commitment made by the
law, human rights, democracy, the princi-      parties to the Paris Agreement is to keep
ples of the rule of law and gender equality.   the increase in global average temperature
                                               to well below 2°C above pre-industrial
The Government stands up for demo-             levels. Preserving Arctic ice and perma-
cratic principles in all contexts and is       frost is crucial in limiting global warming.
working to strengthen democracy. This          The Government has the objective that
applies both to our own situation in our       Sweden will be the world’s first fossil-free
neighbourhood and to our efforts in sup-       welfare nation and that, by 2045, Sweden
port for peace, security and development       will not have any net emissions of green-
in the world. Gender equality is essential     house gases into the atmosphere.
to democracy.
                                               1.3 Definition of the Arctic
1.2 Global framework for sustainable           There are several different definitions of
development and climate work                   the Arctic region. Its borders are drawn in
The past decade has seen considerable          different ways in different scientific areas
development in the normative area of           or political agreements. The region is
particular importance for managing             characterised by being made up of an
­global challenges such as the rapid climate   ocean (the Arctic Ocean) surrounded by
 change, and for working for economically,     sovereign states. Here the Arctic differs

Sweden's strategy for the Arctic region - Government.se
Source: GRID-Arendal

from the Antarctic, which is a land conti-    mean the area north of the Arctic Circle
nent surrounded by an ocean and does          and the eight Arctic states. As regards the
not have a permanent population.              Barents Euro-Arctic Council, two Swed-
                                              ish counties, Norrbotten och Västerbot-
This strategy applies the common politi-      ten, are included in its interregional coop-
cal definition that was adopted in con-       eration. So, they are usually regarded as
junction with the establishment of the        forming part of Sweden’s Arctic region.
Arctic Council in 1996: the Arctic in-
cludes the areas north of the Arctic Cir-
cle and the associated eight Arctic states,
i.e. Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark
­including Greenland and the Faeroe Is-
 lands, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia,
 Sweden and the United States. When in-
 ternational bodies refer to “the Arctic”
 and “the Arctic states” they specifically

Sweden's strategy for the Arctic region - Government.se
Priorities for Swedish
Arctic policy

The Arctic has long been described as a         findings and safeguard long-term eco-
low-tension area with favourable condi-         nomically, environmentally and socially
tions for international collaboration.          sustainable development in the region. In
However, the dramatic climate change in         the Government’s assessment, safeguard-
the past decade and the new geostrategic        ing biodiversity is central to achieving all
realities in the region mean greater chal-      the dimensions of sustainable develop-
lenges and changed circumstances for            ment in the Arctic. Further Swedish polar
Swedish Arctic policy.                          research and environmental monitoring
                                                are crucial to achieving progress. The
Sweden will participate actively in interna-    Government will continue to work to
tional cooperation on Arctic-related is-        ­secure good living conditions for the
sues and contribute to peaceful, stable          population in the region, including the
and sustainable development with respect         ­indigenous peoples.
for the framework of international law.
The Government will work for the pro-           In this context the Government gives pri-
motion of human rights, democracy and           ority to the following thematic areas: in-
the principles of the rule of law in all in-    ternational collaboration; security and sta-
ternational cooperation on Arctic-related       bility; climate and the environment; polar
issues, and especially a meaningful partici-    research and environmental monitoring;
pation of all interest groups. The Gov-         sustainable economic development and
ernment will contribute to the reduction        business interests; and securing good liv-
of climate-impacting emissions both na-         ing conditions.
tionally and globally in line with scientific

Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Rovaniemi 7 May 2019.

Photo: Jouni Porsanger / Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

2.1 International collaboration
      in the Arctic
  The Government intends to work to maintain good and well-
  functioning international relations and cooperation formats that
  deal constructively with opportunities and challenges in the
  Arctic, within the framework of international law.

• The Government intends to contribute         • The Government intends to work to
  to the Arctic states continuing to jointly     strengthen Nordic cooperation on
  maintain well-functioning international        issues concerning the Arctic where the
  cooperation in the Arctic.                     interests of the Nordic countries
• The Government intends to work to
  maintain the rules-based international       • The Government intends to work to
  order and respect for international law,       ensure that the EU continues to
  which is ultimately the basis for well-        strengthen its engagement and
  functioning international relations in         support for sustainable development
  the Arctic.                                    in the Arctic, in close cooperation with
                                                 the local actors in the region. The
• The Government intends to work to
                                                 Government supports the EU’s
  strengthen the Arctic Council in its role
                                                 application for permanent observer
  as the central multilateral forum for
                                                 status in the Arctic Council.
  questions concerning the Arctic.
                                               • Sweden intends to safeguard the
• The Government intends to work to
                                                 rights, perspectives and interests of
  strengthen the role of Barents
                                                 indigenous peoples and to work for
  cooperation on issues of particular
                                                 greater participation by young people
  relevance for the Barents region.
                                                 and women in political processes
                                                 regarding the Arctic.

Well-functioning international coopera-        2.1.1 International law framework
tion in the Arctic is in Sweden’s interests.   There is not international law vacuum in
It is crucial for dealing with the cross-      the Arctic. The Arctic region covers both
border challenges that the region is facing.   land and sea areas where the eight Arctic
Essentially, this is about ensuring sustain-   states have varying degrees of sovereignty
able development for people in the Arctic,     and jurisdiction. The United Nations
working for continued stability and peace-     Convention on the Law of the Sea (UN-
ful cooperation in the area and dealing        CLOS) sets out the fundamental legal
jointly with climate change and its effects    framework for sea areas.
in the Arctic.
                                               The five Arctic coastal states have legiti-
International cooperation in the Arctic        mate rights and obligations in the sea
rests on a firm foundation in internation-     areas of the Arctic regarding both the
al law. This cooperation is based on inter-    sea and the seabed. They have sovereign
national law, including a framework of         ­jurisdiction over their internal waters and
­international conventions, rules and insti-    territorial seas and sovereign rights in
 tutions, as well as mutually reinforcing       their exclusive economic zones (EEZ)
 cooperation formats at various levels.         and continental shelves. Outside their ex-
                                                clusive economic zones is the high seas.
The eight Arctic states have a particular       Within the framework of the law of the
role and responsibility for the Arctic re-      sea, all states enjoy rights in respect of,
gion. All Arctic states have expressed a        for instance, navigation, marine scientific
will to preserve the Arctic as a region         research and resource utilisation in Arctic
characterised by stability, constructive        waters. The law of the sea also obliges all
­cooperation and respect for international      states to cooperate to protect the marine
 law. Sweden will contribute to the Arctic      environment.
 states continuing to jointly maintain well-
 functioning international cooperation in      The UN Commission on the Limits of
 the Arctic. At the same time, cooperation     the Continental Shelf (CLCS), the Inter-
 with non-Arctic states needs to be            national Seabed Authority (ISA) and the
 strengthened in order to deal with the        International Tribunal for the Law of the
 challenges in the Arctic that are of a        Sea (ITLOS) are three important bodies
 global nature.                                all established by the parties to UNCLOS.
                                               The Polar Code under the International
Sweden’s international cooperation in the      Maritime Organization (IMO) is another
Arctic will be guided by the basic princi-     important part of the international law
ples of its foreign and security policy of     framework for the Arctic. There are also
support for the rules-based world order,       important regional agreements, including
human rights, democracy, the principles        the Treaty concerning the Archipelago of
of the rule of law, gender equality as well    Spitsbergen and the Agreement on the
as by Sweden’s feminist foreign policy and     Conservation of Polar Bears; bilateral
the main goals in the global frameworks        agreements including that between Nor-
of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agree-        way and Russia about the Barents Sea and
ment for global climate action. Sweden         the Arctic Ocean; and resource manage-
will uphold the rights, perspectives and       ment agreements and fisheries manage-
interests of indigenous peoples and will       ment regimes that regulate specific condi-
work for greater participation by young        tions in the Arctic. The UN human rights
people and women in political processes        conventions and the UN Declaration on
about the Arctic.                              the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are also
                                               core international documents with a di-
                                               rect bearing on the Arctic region.

Department of Geography

                             Maritime jurisdiction and boundaries in the Arctic region

                                                                                                                          180° E / W
                                                                          US                                                                                                        tic       c










                                                                                                                                     s o




                90°W                                                                                                                                                                                                                    90°E




                                                                              A               nd





                                                                                               ICE                                                        SWEDEN
                                                                                                                             0°E / W

                       Canada territorial sea and
                                                                                                               Russia territorial sea and EEZ                                                 Straight baselines
                       exclusive economic zone (EEZ)

                       Canada continental shelf beyond                                                         Russia continental shelf beyond
                                                                                                                                                                                              Agreed boundary
                       200 M (see note 2)                                                                      200 M (note 5)

                       Denmark territorial                                                                     Norway-Russia Special Area (note 6)                                            Median line
                       sea and EEZ

                       Denmark continental shelf beyond
                                                                                                               USA territorial sea and EEZ                                                    Svalbard treaty area (note 10)
                       200 M (note 3)

                                                                                                               Potential USA continental shelf
                       Iceland territorial sea and EEZ                                                                                                                                        Iceland-Norway joint zone (note 11)
                                                                                                               beyond 200 M (note 7)

                       Iceland continental shelf                                                               Overlapping Canada / USA EEZ                                                   Main 'Northwest Passage' shipping routes
                       beyond 200 M (note 3)                                                                   and territorial sea (note 8)                                                   through Canada claimed internal waters (note 12)

                       Norway territorial sea and EEZ / Fishery zone (Jan
                                                                                                               Russia-USA Eastern Special Area (note 9)                                       Internal waters
                       Mayen) / Fishery protection zone (Svalbard)

                       Norway continental shelf                                                                Seabed beyond any state’s continental                                          Land
                       beyond 200 M (note 4)                                                                   shelf (note 1)

              This is the original IBRU Arctic map, first released in 2008 and revised several times since. States’ submissions
© IBRU: Centre to
                   Borders Research                                                                             www.durham.ac.uk/ibru
                      Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) regarding their extended continental shelves
              are presented in the context of a range of other maritime zones. The map presents a comprehensive view of
              CLCS recommendations.

              Source: IBRU, Durham University, UK, http://www.durham.ac.uk/ibru/resources/arctic

In the area of climate and the environ-        2.1.2 Institutional framework
ment the UN Framework Convention               In addition to the legal setting, the institu-
on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UN             tionalised formats for cooperation play an
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)       important role in creating political condi-
and the Convention for the Protection of       tions for collaboration, sustainable devel-
the Marine Environment of the North-           opment and confidence-building in the
East Atlantic (OSPAR) are crucial to sus-      region.
tainable development in the Arctic. The
Paris Agreement, as a part of the UN-          In general, Sweden welcomes the increase
FCCC, and the 2030 Agenda for the global       in international interest in the Arctic. The
Sustainable Development Goals are the          eight Arctic countries have a particular
latest contributions to the development        role in the Arctic that should be main-
of the normative framework for the Arctic.     tained; broader, increased international
                                               cooperation is important in dealing with
Sweden has no territorial claims in the        climate challenges in the Arctic especially.
Arctic Ocean, but it is in Sweden’s inter-
est that overlapping claims among the          The Arctic Council is the hub for interna-
five Arctic coastal states regarding conti-    tional cooperation in the Arctic, between
nental shelves and territorial disputes are    the eight Arctic states and with non-Arctic
resolved in accordance with international      states and organisations. In the Barents
law, including UNCLOS. All external ac-        region the Barents Euro-Arctic Council
tors with a presence in the Arctic region      also plays an important role. Overall, the
must also respect the rules and conven-        bodies for cooperation reflect a realisa-
tions of international law.                    tion of the need for cooperation, and a
                                               will to engage in it.
Sweden will work to maintain the rules-
based international order and internation-     Arctic Council
al law, which is ultimately the basis for      The Arctic Council is the main multilateral
peace and stability in the Arctic. Sweden is   regional format and constitutes the core
open to and has preparedness for the de-       of the cooperation in the Arctic region.
velopment of supplementary regulatory          Its activities focus mainly on environmen-
frameworks and agreements to respond to        tal issues and sustainable development.
further developments in the Arctic and         The Council’s mandate does not include
the evolution of Arctic cooperation.           security policy and military issues or fish-
                                               eries management. All eight Arctic states
One important instance is the negotia-         are members of the Council. The Arctic
tions under way since 2004 for an inter-       Council is characterised by a constructive
national legally binding instrument under      spirit of cooperation and has functioned
the UNCLOS on the conservation and             well despite a deterioration of relations
sustainable use of marine biological di-       between western countries and Russia at
versity of areas beyond national jurisdic-     global level in recent years. However, this
tion(BBNJ). The Government intends             cooperation cannot be taken for granted
to work to make the new agreement as           and all the parties affected will need to
broad as possible and for the inclusion of     take responsibility for ensuring that the
all relevant principles for protection of      Arctic Council retains its role as the cen-
the environment and biodiversity in the        tral forum in the Arctic.
seas. A new global agreement containing
specific actions and mechanisms for pro-       Sweden values the inclusive approach in
tection of marine environments beyond          the Council’s work. Representatives of six
national jurisdiction is necessary to enable   indigenous peoples’ organisations in the
effective and long-term protection of          Arctic, including the Sami Council, take
bio­diversity.                                 part in the Council's work at all levels, in-

Credit: Arctic Council Secretariat
cluding its working groups. It is a unique     work of the Arctic Council. The working
feature and a strength of the cooperation      groups have an important task of follow-
that the indigenous peoples in the Arctic      ing developments regarding environmen-
Council are involved in the Arctic Coun-       tal change and living conditions for peo-
cil’s discussions and that their perspec-      ple living and working in the Arctic. The
tives are reflected in its decision-making.    working groups’ scientific evaluations and
The Arctic Council current 38 observers        reports, including their recommendations,
– non-Arctic states, international and in-     are an important starting point for deci-
terparliamentary organisations and civil       sion-making in the Arctic Council. Sweden
society organisations – are invited to at-     will work to strengthen the link between
tend formal meetings and can make im-          working group activities, council policy
portant contributions to the work of the       work and national implementation of rec-
working groups.                                ommendations adopted by the Council.

Sweden's engagement in the Arctic Coun-        Sweden wants a strong and effective Arc-
cil is manifested in various ways including    tic Council. The Arctic Council’s 25th
our chairmanship of CAFF (Conservation         ­anniversary in 2021, will be an important
of Arctic Flora and Fauna) and AMAP             opportunity to recognise what the Arctic
(Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme)    Council has achieved and attained. It will
in 2019–2021 and of PAME (Protection of         also be an opportunity to look ahead and
the Arctic Marine Environment) in 2022–         ensure that the Arctic Council is ready
2024. These are three of the six working        and geared to deal with future challenges.
groups that make up a central part of the

Just south of Jokkmokk, the Arctic Circle cuts through Sweden. The Arctic Circle is the sunniest part of the world
during the summer and shifts about 15 meters every year due to changes in the tilt of the Earth's axis.

Photo: Jerker Andersson/imagebank.sweden.se

A great deal of progress has been made                     Sweden will contribute actively to the fur-
since the formation of the Arctic Council                  ther strengthening of the Arctic Council.
in 1996, both organisationally and in                      The Arctic states should have a prepared-
terms of its activities. In addition to                    ness to broaden the activities of the
greater cooperation in areas including re-                 ­Arctic Council to cover new activities
search and the making of recommenda-                        within the limits of its mandate and,
tions, the Arctic Council has negotiated                    when required, to enter into new agree-
three agreements under international law:                   ments to ensure sustainable and stable
the Agreement on Cooperation on Aero-                       ­development in the Arctic.
nautical and Maritime Search and Rescue
in the Arctic (2011), the Agreement on                     Barents cooperation
Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution                        Barents cooperation contributes to greater
­Preparedness and Response in the Arctic                   trust , stability and security in the Barents
 (2013) and the Agreement on Enhancing                     region. The unique structure of Barents
 International Arctic Scientific Coopera-                  cooperation ensures that its activities have
 tion (2017). These agreements are impor-                  clear local rooting. The Barents Euro-
 tant in themselves, but they are also a                   Arctic Council, with the participation of
 manifestation of the responsibility that                  the five Nordic countries, Russia and the
 the eight Arctic states are taking jointly                EU, has an equivalent at county level
 for the development of the Arctic.                        through the Barents Regional Council.

Sweden intends to work for further deep-      Sweden has very good bilateral coopera-
ened people-to-people contacts in the         tion with Denmark, Finland, Norway and
Barents region, not least between young       Iceland. The range of bilateral coopera-
people. Sweden intends to work to             tion makes up an important part of Nor-
strengthen the Barents Euro-Arctic            dic cooperation on the Arctic. Sweden
Council and the Barents Regional Council      will therefore continue to work to
in matters of particular relevance to the     strengthen bilateral cooperation on Arctic
Barents region such as the environment        issues with the other Nordic countries.
and climate, civilian crisis management
and rescue services, gender equality,         In the Nordic Council of Ministers, Swe-
health and social care, sustainable trans-    den intends to work for a greater focus
port and communications. culture and          on project activities with an Arctic orien-
tourism.                                      tation. Sweden will also work to ensure
                                              that the projects have an explicit added
The EU’s Northern Dimension Pro-              value in relation to the Arctic Council and
gramme is also part of the institutional      the Barents Euro-Arctic Council. Nordic
framework for cooperation in the Euro-        parliamentarians broaden, and contribute
pean Arctic, and plays an important role      further, to cooperation through the Nor-
for cooperation, including cooperation        dic Council and the Standing Committee
with Russia at national and regional level.   of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region
Sweden attaches great importance to the
enhanced cooperation in the Barents re-       Sami cooperation
gion between counties and provinces,          The close cooperation between Sweden,
parliaments and non-governmental or-          Norway and Finland in the Nordic Gov-
ganisations and between other actors in       ernment Officials Body for Sami Affairs
the Arctic. This also includes the vigorous   is important in endeavours to preserve,
cooperation that has developed between        develop and strengthen Sami culture. For
the indigenous peoples in the Arctic, as      this purpose the Government Officials
well as the extensive and long-established    Body considers all Sami issues that are
academic research cooperation between         common to developments in the languag-
universities.                                 es, culture, industries and community life
                                              of the Sami population group. The three
Nordic cooperation                            Sami Parliaments collaborate, with the
The Government intends to work to fur-        Russian Sami as observers, through a
ther strengthen Nordic cooperation on         Sami Parliamentary Council in order to
questions concerning the Arctic where         strengthen cooperation between Sami and
the interests of the Nordic countries co-     to speak for them as one voice interna-
incide. The Nordic countries have differ-     tionally.
ent starting points for their engagement
in the Arctic, but nevertheless share a       To strengthen the Sami People’s influence
community of values. They also have a         and their possibilities of preserving and
geographical closeness, forming the           developing their culture, languages and
­European part of the Arctic. Based on        community life, the Government will
 this, the Nordic countries can jointly       continue to work to conclude the negotia-
 make important contributions to develop-     tions on a Nordic Sami convention. The
 ment in the Arctic. In addition to the       provisions of the convention require the
 Arctic Council, the Nordic Council of        states to work to enable the Sami Parlia-
 Ministers and Barents cooperation are im-    ments to cooperate and form joint organ-
 portant forums for Nordic cooperation        isations.
 on the Arctic.

2.1.3 European Union
Sweden attaches great importance to
the engagement of the EU in the Arctic.
Sweden will contribute actively to the de-
velopment of the EU’s policy on Arctic
matters and a stronger EU role in the
Arctic region. Sweden welcomes the EU’s
active participation and its contributions
to the Arctic Council, the Barents Euro-
Arctic Council and the Northern Dimen-
sion, and continues to support the EU’s
application for permanent observer status
in the Arctic Council.

The EU is part of the European Arctic
                                                 Family photo of high-level participants at the EU Arctic
though the three EU members Denmark,             Forum in Umeå 3–4 October 2019.
Finland and Sweden. The Arctic is also in
                                                 Photo: Patrick Trägårdh
the EU’s neighbourhood. The EU has bi-
lateral relations with all the Arctic states.

Sweden will to work to encourage the EU          in the Arctic through various instruments
to continue to strengthen its engagement         and programmes is valuable and should
and support for sustainable development          be reinforced, including through greater
in the Arctic, especially the European           coordination between them. The EU’s
Arctic region, and to build on the EU            structural fund programmes contribute to
Arctic Forum in Umeå in October 2019,            cooperation in the Arctic region, which
one purpose of which was to strengthen           covers the Swedish, Norwegian and Finn-
the ties between the EU and local and            ish regions. Within the framework of the
­regional actors in the Arctic region.           Northern Periphery Programme and the
                                                 EU’s Kolarctic Neighbourhood Instru-
Several of the EU’s central policy areas         ment, these regions can also cooperate
and relations have a clear Arctic dimen-         with regions in Russia and with Iceland,
sion. In the light of the geopolitical           Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
changes in the Arctic, the EU needs to
identify its strategic interest in the Arctic,   Sweden will support the EU’s institutions
and ensure that its policies take account        in work on updating the strategy, along
of developments in the region. The EU’s          with Denmark and Finland in particular.
Arctic Strategy from 2016 should be up-          At the same time, Sweden wants to see
dated to reflect this. In December 2019          broad engagement from all of the EU’s
EU foreign ministers adopted conclu-             membership. The EU countries with
sions containing such a message.                 ­observer status in the Arctic Council –
                                                  France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain
At the same time, the overall priorities of       – have a particular role to play here. The
the EU’s Arctic Strategy remain relevant:         UK remains an important partner in
a focus on climate change and safeguard-          ­Arctic issues even after leaving the EU.
ing the Arctic environment; sustainable
development in /and around/ the Arctic;          2.1.4 Cooperation
and international cooperation on Arctic          United States
issues. The importance of research, sci-         Engagement by the United States is an
ence and innovation in all three areas is        important factor in functioning interna-
emphasised. The support given by the             tional cooperation in the Arctic, based on
EU to development and the population             the rules-based world order. Sweden’s

close relationship with the US is of cen-      continue to cooperate with Russia where
tral importance for Sweden’s security and      we have common interests. This benefits
prosperity. This also applies to the Arctic    developments in the Arctic, as well as our
region. Sweden wants to further deepen         security and stability in the neighbour-
cooperation with the US, both within the       hood. Russia holds the chairmanship of
framework of the Arctic Council and bi-        the Arctic Council between June 2021
laterally in matters of common interest        and May 2023.
regarding development in the Arctic.
­Sweden wants to strengthen cooperation        Non-Arctic states and actors
 especially in the areas of polar research,    Alongside the special role of the eight
 innovation, trade, climate and the envi-      Arctic states, Sweden also stresses the
 ronment, including with a focus on the        need for greater international cooperation
 protection of ecosystems.                     with non-Arctic countries and actors to
                                               deal with the challenges in the Arctic. This
Canada                                         applies especially to issues of importance
Canada is a particularly important partner     for sustainable development and where
for international cooperation in the Arctic    our interests and values are aligned. Cli-
and has considerable engagement in Arc-        mate and environmental issues will, like
tic issues. Sweden is working actively for     science and research, be a central part of
deeper cooperation with Canada within          this kind of cooperation. There can also
the framework of the Arctic Council and        be an interest in cooperation in the area
bilaterally in matters of common interest      of trade.
and on the basis of foreign policy priori-
ties. Cooperation in the Arctic between        Sweden intends to continue to develop
Sweden and Canada is largely character-        cooperation with several non-Arctic
ised by shared perspectives, especially in     countries and actors that have, in recent
the areas of polar research, innovation,       years, increased their interest in Arctic
Arctic indigenous peoples and climate          ­issues and attained observer status in the
and the environment.                            Arctic Council. In addition to the Euro-
                                                pean observers, several Asian countries
Russia                                          are now participating in the Arctic Coun-
Although relations with Russia have dete-       cil’s work. This applies not least to China.
riorated in the light of its breaches of in-
ternational law and the European security      The Government will attach particular
order, cooperation with Russia in the Arc-     importance to developing cooperation
tic Council has functioned well. Sweden        with Germany linked to the Arctic and
cooperates with Russia on climate and en-      drawing on the increased German interest
vironmental issues within the framework        and level of ambition concerning the
of the Arctic Council, Barents coopera-        Arctic. Germany is also a close partner in
tion and bilaterally. People-to-people con-    the defence of multilateralism and the
tacts with Russia strengthen the ties in the   rules-based world order, as well as in the
region. Sweden will clearly draw attention     implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
to issues where our views differ but will

Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis in northern Sweden. Source: Imagebank

2.2 Security and stability
  Sweden will work to ensure that the Arctic will continue to be
  characterised by peace, security and stability.

• In relation to security policy develop-     • Sweden will work to retain and in-
  ments in the Arctic, the Government           crease the engagement of European
  will work to preserve peace and stabili-      countries and the EU in northern Europe
  ty in the region and contribute to confi-     and the Arctic and to strengthen the
  dence- and security-building measures.        transatlantic link.
  At the same time, Sweden’s national
                                              • Sweden will work for continued access
  capability and advance planning will be
                                                to relevant cooperation formats and
                                                processes in which regional security
• The Government will work to ensure            ­issues are discussed.
  that the Arctic is a region characterised
                                              • Sweden will contribute to cross-border
  by well-functioning international coop-
                                                cooperation in civilian crisis manage-
  eration, in which international law, in-
                                                ment and rescue services in the Arctic,
  cluding the law of the sea, is respected.
                                                i.e. through the Arctic Coast Guard
• The Government will continue to               Forum (ACGF).
  strengthen Sweden’s military capability
                                              • Sweden will continue to closely follow
  to operate in the northern parts of
                                                the development of the security situa-
  Sweden and neighbouring areas.
                                                tion in the Arctic, including detecting
• The Government intends to work for            and countering attempts to exert influ-
  the further development and deepen-           ence in and destabilising the region.
  ing of Nordic and Euro-Atlantic security
  and defence policy cooperation focus-
  ing on the European part of the Arctic,
  the Cap of the North and the North
  ­Atlantic region.

The Arctic has long been described as a
security policy low-tension area, charac-
terised by constructive international co-
operation. At the same time, the security
policy environment has changed, and new
challenges have emerged. It is therefore
important to maintain effective interna-
tional cooperation between the eight Arc-
tic states and with international partners.
This extensive cooperation contributes to
confidence between the actors and reduc-
ing the risk of conflict.

Sweden will take its responsibility and
work to preserve the Arctic region as a
                                                F21 Norrbotten Air Squadron.
peaceful and stable area and will contrib-
ute to confidence- and security-building        Photo: Photo: Jesper Sundström/Swedish Armed Forces

measures in the region. The overarching
interest is to maintain the rules-based
world order, which is part of the founda-
tions for international security and stabili-   tary – should be able be used in an inte-
ty, also in the Arctic.                         grated way to achieve our objectives.

The rapid climate change has made the           2.2.1 Security policy trends
Arctic’s natural resources more accessible      The geostrategic change in the Arctic is
and interesting to commercial actors and        complex. A combination of increased
has created expectations of greater navi-       great power competition and climate
gability in marine fairways. As the region’s    change is influencing developments,
importance has increased, in strategic and      which can be summarised in three overall
in economic terms, for both Arctic and          trends.
non-Arctic states, tensions in the region
may rise. The military presence and activi-     First, security policy consequences can
ty in the Arctic have grown, partly as a        arise from the increased interest in the
­result of deteriorating relations at global    Arctic’s enormous natural resources,
 level. This also increases the risk of an      which climate change is making more
 arms race and incidents in the region.         ­accessible. The largest undiscovered oil
 Strained relations at global level can have     and gas reserves in the Arctic are estimat-
 repercussions at regional level in the          ed to be within the continental shelves of
 ­Arctic.                                        the coastal states. The seabed around the
                                                 North Pole is thought to contain large
Sweden has to take account of these              quantities of natural resources, including
­developments in the Arctic. On the basis        minerals. The International Seabed Au-
 of Swedish security policy this will be         thority (ISA) has an important role for
 done applying an approach with two main         the protection of natural resources of the
 tracks. One is to ensure continued peace        seabed in the high seas. To the extent that
 and stability in the Arctic through well-       competing claims arise for areas, it is im-
 functioning cooperation. The other is to        portant that they are handled by relevant
 strengthen Sweden’s national capability         international mechanisms. It is crucial for
 and advance planning to deal with various       continued stability in the Arctic that the
 developments in the region. The full            states concerned deal with their claims on
 range of security policy instruments –          the continental shelf through the Com-
 political, diplomatic, economic and mili-       mission on the Limits of the Continental

Shelf and accept advisory outcomes of           mental cooperation is also important in
its assessment. In the same way, it is of       an Arctic context. At the same time,
central importance that the freedom of          China has already shown that it wants to
navigation along the Northeast and the          have more influence on developments in
Northwest Passages in accordance with           the Arctic. This can risk leading to con-
the law of the sea is maintained, and that      flicts of interest. China expresses general
disputes about restrictions on free naviga-     support for international law, but acts
tion in these sea routes can be resolved by     ­selectively, especially concerning issues
diplomatic means.                                that China regards as its core interests.

Second, there is a new military dynamic in      The military dimension of China’s actions
the Arctic region. What is particularly no-     in the area has so far been limited, but
ticeable is increased Russian activity and      China is gradually building up naval forces
military build-up to defend Russian terri-      with global reach, including submarines.
tory. Russia’s new and modernised mili-         More attention needs to be given to the
tary bases in the north contribute to what      military cooperation between China and
is called its bastion defence. The Arctic is    Russia, especially regarding possible mili-
seen as a key area for early warning and        tary cooperation aimed at the Arctic. The
for the global strategic nuclear weapon         Government is encouraging like-minded
balance. In addition, the Russian subma-        countries and the EU to cooperate and
rine-based second-strike capability has its     act together regarding challenges and
base areas in the region. NATO and its          ­opportunities resulting from the increase
members have reacted to the Russian re-          in China’s global influence.
construction, including increased exercise
activities and the establishment of an          2.2.2 Cooperation
­operational-level staff function to secure     The Government intends to work, along
 transatlantic communications. The US           with international partners, to preserve
 has re-established its Second Fleet, with      the Arctic region as a peaceful and stable
 the Northern Atlantic Ocean as its opera-      area characterised by constructive and
 tional area.                                   well-functioning international cooperation.

Sweden sees a risk of an arms race and          Sweden will work for respect for interna-
incidents. Developments in the Arctic are       tional law, including the law of the sea.
also affected by the global security policy     Continued peaceful and stable develop-
situation, which is characterised by insta-     ment in the Arctic is dependent on the
bility and unpredictability. The military       maintenance of the rules-based order and
strategic importance of the Arctic has          on all actors with a presence in the area
increased, and, as in the Cold War, the         respecting international law. The United
Arctic is a dividing line between western       Nations Convention on the Law of the
countries and Russia.                           Sea (UNCLOS) is of central importance
                                                in this context. The eight Arctic states
Third, a growing number of non-Arctic           have a particular responsibility for devel-
states are expressing interest in the Arctic.   opments in the Arctic. The Ilulissat Dec-
China has a special position in this con-       laration, signed by the five coastal states
text. China’s increased global ambitions        in 2008 and reconfirmed by all Arctic
are also expressed in the Arctic, and its       states in 2018, declares a common com-
approach to strengthening its presence          mitment to preserve the Arctic as a
follows the pattern from other parts of         peaceful and stable region. The Arctic
the world. Since 2013 China has partici-        states undertake, among other matters, to
pated in the activities of the Arctic Coun-     solve outstanding issues concerning over-
cil as an observer. China’s central role in     lapping claims to the continental shelf
the climate area and in global environ-         within the framework of applicable inter-

national law. Agreements like this and         2.2.3 Enhanced national capability
other bilateral and multilateral agreements    As concluded by the Defence Commis-
demonstrate the will and readiness to co-      sion (Ds 2019:8 Värnkraft [Defensive pow-
operate to deal with common issues and         ers]), the Cap of the North, the Barents
challenges in the Arctic.                      Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the northern
                                               parts of the North Atlantic are part of
Well-functioning bilateral and multilateral    Sweden’s neighbourhood in the same way
cooperation in the Arctic fulfils a confi-     as the Baltic Sea and the North Sea are.
dence-building function and contributes        The Commission argues that, up to now,
to greater security in the region. Through     Swedish strategic thinking has taken far
long-term engagement Sweden will con-          too little account of security policy and
tribute to the development of this coop-       military developments in the Arctic and
eration and strengthen existing forums.        how they can affect Sweden. It demon-
The Arctic Council is the central forum        strates emerging Swedish strategic de-
for cooperation. Even though the Coun-         fence policy interests in the Arctic, with
cil's mandate does not cover issues con-       a particular centre of gravity in the area
cerning hard security policy and military      around the Barents Sea and the North
security, the activities of the Council con-   Atlantic.
tribute to a climate of trust for coopera-
tion in the region.                            Military strategic developments in our
                                               neighbourhood demonstrate the impor-
The cross-border cooperation in civilian       tance of continuing to strengthen military
crisis management and rescue services in       capability in the northern parts of Sweden
the Arctic plays an important role for         and of being able to operate with them in
building confidence and strengthening          adjacent areas. Military exercises with
­security in a broad sense. The Arctic Coast   other countries have a threshold-raising
 Guard Forum (ACGF) was set up in 2015         and stabilising effect.
 as an informal and independent organisa-
 tion to foster safe, secure, and environ-     On account of the greater strategic im-
 mentally responsible maritime activity in     portance of the Arctic, the Government
 the Arctic. Sweden participates along with    intends to work for the further develop-
 all the other Arctic states in this forum.    ment and deepening of Nordic and Euro-
                                               Atlantic security and defence policy coop-
In the Barents Euro-Arctic Council there       eration focusing on the European part of
is collaboration, based on the Barents         the Arctic, the Cap of the North and the
Agreement of 2008, between Sweden,             North Atlantic region. Sweden has an in-
Norway, Finland and Russia to strengthen       terest in retaining and increasing the en-
the capability of the cooperating countries    gagement of European countries and the
to receive and provide support to one an-      EU in northern Europe and the Arctic
other in the event of complex disruptions      since this contributes to Sweden’s security.
to society in the Barents region. Sweden       Transatlantic cooperation is fundamental
intends to continue to contribute actively     to both American and European security.
to the international civilian crisis manage-   The North Atlantic will play an important
ment exercise called Barents Rescue.           role as a link for military support to Eu-
                                               rope from North America in the event of
Sweden considers that it is important to       a crisis.
find forms and arrangements for risk
minimisation. More activity in the Arctic      Along with relevant partners, the Govern-
risks leading to incidents that could, under   ment will intensify the security policy and
certain circumstances, escalate into a con-    defence policy dialogues on developments
flict situation.                               in the Arctic, including the North Atlantic,
                                               both in bilateral cooperation and in the

Swedish corvette in northern Norwegian waters.

Photo: Alexander Gustavsson / The Swedish Armed Forces

multilateral security policy and defence             the security situation in the Arctic region,
policy forums that Sweden is a member                including in terms of detecting and coun-
of. The Government will work to have                 tering improper attempts to exert influ-
access to relevant, existing formats for             ence in and destabilise the region. Securi-
cooperation and processes where regional             ty and defence policy studies and research
security issues are discussed and will               on the region to build up the Swedish
work, in them, for détente, stability and            knowledge base will be encouraged in
peaceful development.                                order to further develop Swedish courses
                                                     of action in the Arctic, including con-
The The Government intends to contin-                cerning potential hybrid threats..
ue to closely follow the development of

Abisko National Park

Photo: Katja Kristoferson/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se

Photo: Martin Jacobsson

2.3 Climate and the environment
  Sweden wants to work for limited warming of the Arctic in
  accordance with the Paris Agreement’s aim of limiting global
  warming. Sweden also wants to work for the conservation of
  biodiversity in accordance with the objectives of the Convention
  on Biological Diversity and to work for the implementation of a
  non-toxic circular economy.

• The Government will take a leading role     • The Government intends to work for
  in the implementation of the Paris            long-term and sustainable manage-
  Agreement to limit global warming,            ment of wetlands and marine eco­
  including in the Arctic.                      systems in the Arctic.

• The Government intends to work for          • The Government will work for regional
  the strengthening of environmental            and global action in the area of chemi-
  and climate work in the Arctic Council        cals and waste with a bearing on the
  and for the Arctic Council to be given a      Arctic and the development of a
  more prominent role in global efforts         non-toxic circular economy in accord-
  to reduce global emissions of both            ance with the Government’s strategy
  long-lived and short-lived greenhouse         for a circular economy.
                                              • The Government will work to have
• The Government will have a leading            assessments made of environmental
  role in the implementation of protec-         impacts in the planning of land and
  tion for biodiversity under the Conven-       water use.
  tion on Biological Diversity (CBD), the
                                              • The Government will work to prevent
  Ramsar Convention and other relevant
                                                and limit the negative impacts that
  international agreements.
                                                can arise in radiological and nuclear
• The Government will work for the              emergencies involving transports of
  conservation and sustainable use of           radioactive and nuclear materials,
  Arctic biodiversity and for the provision     reactor-powered marine transport and
  of adequate protection for areas of           floating nuclear power plants in the
  high natural and cultural values in           Arctic.
  Arctic environments.

Projected per
                                                                              mafrost bo

                                         Observed sea-ice
                                         September 2002



                                                                              r r en
  Projected winter surface
  temperature increase
  around 2090 (°C)
             + 7 - 12
             +4                                                                               Source: Arctic Climate
             +0-3                                                                   Impact Assessment (ACIA), 2004
                                                                                        Impacts of a Warming Arctic.

                                                                       Source: GRID-Arendal

The Arctic region is characterised by              gases; conserving biodiversity in the
rapid changes of various kinds. The                ­Arctic including its marine environment;
­effects of climate change, ocean acidifica-        and establishing a global non-toxic circu-
 tion and pollution are already apparent.           lar economy. These actions contribute to
 If these trends continue, they will funda-         the following Global Goals of the 2030
 mentally change living conditions for              Agenda: Goal 6 Clean water and sanita-
 ­humans, affect resilience to negative envi-       tion for all, Goal 7 Affordable and clean
  ronmental changes in local communities            energy for all, Goal 12 Sustainable con-
  and disturb the balance in Arctic eco­            sumption and production, Goal 13 Com-
  systems. It is therefore important for            bating climate change and its impacts,
  Sweden to strengthen work to protect the          Goal 14 Life below water and Goal 15
  Arctic environment in close cooperation           Life on land.
  with other Arctic and non-Arctic states
  and with civil society and regional and          One essential component of an active
  local actors.                                    ­environmental policy for the Arctic is to
                                                    strengthen the capacity of humans and
Sweden will therefore focus on action               nature to deal with and adapt to the nega-
that contributes to achieving results in            tive effects of climate changes that are
three main areas: limiting Arctic warming           unavoidable. Representatives of the indig-
by reducing global emissions of both                enous peoples should be involved in con-
long-lived and short-lived greenhouse               crete cooperation drawing on traditional

The melting cryosphere


                                                                      BERING                                       SEA
                                                         YUKON         SEA




                                                                          OCEAN                                                 RUSSIA

                                                                          North Pole

                                          BAFFIN                                                                                         OB
                                                   Greenland                          Svalbard
                                                   (Denmark)                          (Norway)        BARENTS
                                                                                                        SEA                    PECHORA
                                                                                                                       SEVERNAYA DVINA

                                                           ICELAND                                    FINLAND

                                OCEAN                            Faroe Islands        NORWAY

                                                                                                                  Source: GRID-Arendal

   Changes in sea ice extent                                                       Changes in glacier extent
         Median ice edge in autumn for the period 1981-2010                                Main glaciers and Greenland ice sheet
         Sea ice extent in September 2018                                                  Retreat of glaciers
         Sea ice extent in September 1981                                                  Freshwater input

         Retreat of sea ice
                                                                                   Discharge of main rivers at mouth
         Freshwater input
                                                                                                 590 km3/y                 300 km3/y           120 km3/y
   Changes in snow cover
         Area where seasonal snow cover was 2–3 weeks shorter
         in the period 2005–2015 compared to 1980–1990                                     Main marine transport routes during summer

and local knowledge, including in the                                                thresholds in the climate system being
work of the Arctic Council.                                                          passed, for example as a result of melting
                                                                                     sea ice during the summer months and of
2.3.1 Climate                                                                        thawing permafrost. Thawing permafrost
The Arctic is particularly vulnerable to                                             releases great quantities of greenhouse
climate change. The Arctic region is                                                 gases, resulting in severe effects on the
warming more than twice as fast as the                                               global climate. A warmer Arctic can in­
rest of the globe. Conversely, the changes                                           fluence weather systems in the northern
in the Arctic climate affect the rest of the                                         hemisphere in particular. In the long
world. There is a greater risk of critical                                           term, the melting of Arctic land ice, espe-

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