Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs did together with the Åland Islands Peace Institute arrange an online seminar on the regional security in the northern areas. A broad range of experts from different countries, disciplines and institutions discussed the various actors, the risks involved in the current confrontational situation and possible ways to cooperate for minimizing such risks. One of the speakers on the seminar was Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark, director at the Åland Islands Peace Institute. The seminar was in two sessions, one on the Baltic Sea and the other on the Arctic.
The war in Ukraine does clearly have an impact on the present situation, with Russia as a great nuclear power nation. The other main actor is NATO. Among the issues of the seminar were the enlargement of NATO and its potential effects on security, the amount and types of nuclear weapons in the region and how they could affect individual countries. The location of the Baltic Sea and the Arctic entails that several countries, as well as other actors have legitimate interests therein. They are also vulnerable areas affected by climate change, which cannot be overlooked when making plans for peaceful cooperation. With nuclear weapons, nuclear energy and nuclear transports and storage comes an increased risk of contamination, in peace time and even more so in war time. The possibility of changes and risk of escalation in the militarized situation, focusing on the relationship between NATO and Russia, together with environmental aspects, the interests of the different countries and actors, disarmament and cooperation as well as the need for research and civil society cooperation were the basis for discussion during the seminar.