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Setting the Agenda on the Arctic: Whose Policy Frames the Region?

Arctic Governance
E. Carina Keskitalo

In his 1984 study of the United States government, John W. Kingdon put forward what can be considered a seminal description of the agenda-setting process.1 He asserted that changes in what issues get any real attention from policy makers depend on how individual"policy entrepreneurs" are able to invoke events, changes in policy, or changes in political processes to transform mere situations into policy problems. 2 One shortcoming of this process is that the window of opportunity to manage any specific problem may quickly close when policy makers feel that the problem has been addressed. As a result of this, a risk is that solutions may be hastily seized upon which relate only to certain parts of a problem rather than to the issue as a whole. The Arctic policy agenda has undergone several changes in focus over time. These have gradually expanded the conception of the Arctic from the High Arctic