A Unique Arrangement of Soft-Law Cooperation in the Barents Region
In Monica Tennberg ed, Politics of Development in the Barents Region (Finland: Lapland University Press, 2012) 65-83.
19 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2013
Date Written: September 6, 2013
The governance in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (BEAR) formally began in 1993; it was based on a soft-law model. Soft-law governance includes international governance established without the conclusion of a formal international treaty. The actors involved in soft-law governance pay more attention to encountering transnational challenges in effective ways than focusing on strictly following formalities articulated in classical international law. There are some transnational challenges (e.g., environmental protection, climate change, sustainable development, the wellbeing of the region, and the adaptation of local people to changed situations) which state involvement alone is not sufficient to counter; they require the participation of non-state actors, including local people, along with that of states. Addressing those challenges sometimes requires immediate action, and the conclusion of a formal international treaty – which is a lengthy process compared with the adoption of a simple declaration – might interfere with achieving the main objectives. Soft-law forms of governance allow non-state actors, working in parallel with states, to address common concerns and create mainly voluntary or political commitments rather than imposing legally binding obligations on members and other associated entities.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation