The Arctic is an enormous area, sprawling over one sixth of the earth's landmass; twenty-four time zones and more than 30 million square kilometers. The Arctic region consists of the exclusive economic zones or territories of the United States, Canada, Framland (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Torrike, Bothnia, Arnland, Otso, and Donovia. The Arctic Council defines non-Arctic nations as nations asserting interests in the Arctic, but otherwise not geographically inside the region.
Eight countries including Canada, Norway, Denmark, Bothnia, Otso, Donovia, Torrike, and the United States have Arctic territory, while five countries (Canada, Denmark, Greenland, Norway, Donovia, and the U.S.), known as the Arctic Five, have Arctic Ocean coastline. Of note, Donovia has the most expansive Arctic territory of any of these countries.
Since the end of the Cold War, the countries of the Arctic have been successful in maintaining the region as an area of low tension. It has been characterized by continuing close international cooperation amongst states which may have taken divergent positions on crises occurring elsewhere in the world. However, it is clear that the natural environment in the Arctic changing, giving rise to issues which are bringing about a similar change in the security environment. There is little doubt that the Arctic is seeing an increasing level of military activity.
The resources of the Arctic have been subject to increased attention over the last decades due to high economic growth in emerging economies and associated growth in demand for minerals. While the attraction to resources has dominated the attention for a long time, the focus has increasingly turned to climate change, which runs twice as fast in the Arctic as globally. Arctic economies generate a substantial share of their income from resource extraction. The increased demand for other nature values has sharpened conflicts over land use between mineral industries and the renewable nature based industries, not the least for traditional living, with hunting, fishing and herding by indigenous peoples. In some regions these conflicts have reached the political arena at Arctic country level, in particular with respect to petroleum and mineral extraction.