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An analysis of the development of arctic environmental co-operation since the late 1980s to the establishment of the Arctic Council in 1996. Based on the discourse analysis of statement, documents and interviews by the different actors, the problem of environment is seen as a problem of order: a problem of ordering relations among related actors, of ordering priorities of action, and of ordering relations between different institutional arrangements locally, regionally and internally. Three discourses were found in the co-operation: discourses of sovereignty, knowledge and development. In the discourse of sovereignty, the development of relations between state and indigenous peoples in terms of international environmenal co-operation is central. In the discourse of knowledge, the different forms of knowledge and the role of different producers of knowledge in co-operation has been discussed. The discourse of development focuses on the idea of sustainable development and its applications in defining the future of the Circumpolar North and the activities of the Arctic Council. The Arctic co-operation can be understood as a regional effort to make an order of sustainability into practice.