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Norden Call: Sustainable cities – the Nordic way
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Written by Federica   
Tuesday, 05 May 2015 09:13

A view of Reykjavik (photo:Johannes Jansson/norden.org) A view of Reykjavik (photo:Johannes Jansson/norden.org) Norden has recently released the following call for "sustainable urban spaces competition": 

 

As part of the Danish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2015, the Danish Ministry of Housing, Urban and Rural Affairs and Nordic Innovation (a Nordic Council of Ministers body) have launched a competition, which will run in 2015–2017, aimed at devising innovative solutions for urban spaces.

The Nordic Region is full of fascinating urban spaces, and the Danish Presidency seeks to nurture this tradition.

"The Nordic Region has a good track record when it comes to thinking about urban spaces that function well within growing cities. There is strong political interest in these expanding cities being good places to live. We also have a strong economic interest in selling innovative products and solutions for them," says Carsten Hansen, the Danish Minister for Housing, Urban and Rural Affairs, who also doubles as Minister for Nordic Co-operation and is chair of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2015.

Nordic Built Cities Arena
On 27 April, over 200 people, including three ministers and a range of experts, attended Nordic Built Cities Arena in Copenhagen. The conference was organised by Nordic Innovation, the Danish Ministry of Housing, Urban and Rural Affairs and the Danish Business Council. As well as the competition, the conference focused on exporting Nordic ideas and solutions.

The main objective of the competition is to develop smart, attractive and sustainable solutions for urban areas in the Nordic Region. However, it also seeks to encourage the effective marketing of Nordic solutions for growing cities around the world, and to ensure that the focus of these efforts is both Nordic and international.

Sustainable urban spaces competition
The competition consists of three phases. During the first phase, from March to June 2015, cities, local authorities and companies from all over the Nordic Region will compete to be one of up to eight urban spaces to host local competitions.

During the second phase, from August to December 2015, the Nordic construction industry and related services will be invited to submit concept proposals for the selected spaces. For each space, a local jury will select a maximum of four finalists to proceed to the next phase.

During the third phase, from December 2015 to May 2016, the finalists will work closely with the owners of the spaces chosen and draw up final proposals. One winner will be chosen for each space, and the winning concepts will be realised as development projects. Finally, an independent jury of Nordic and international experts will announce the winner of the overall NOK 1.2 million prize.

Nordic Built Cities will also be part of the wider Nordic initiative, under the banner "New Nordic Climate Solutions", in the run-up to COP21 in Paris in December.

Further info about the conference Nordic Built Cities and Nordic Built Charter.

Contacts
Michael Funch
Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Malin Kock (( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

 
Russian Foreign Ministry comments on the conclusion of Canada’s Arctic Council Chairmanship
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Written by Federica   
Monday, 04 May 2015 09:06

Arctic Council Logo On April 27th, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation released his official comments on the recently concluded Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting, which was attended by Sergei Donskoi, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation. 

Honorable Sergey Lavrov recalled the long-standing  commitment of the Arctic Council to maintain peace, stability and constructive cooperation in the Arctic, reaffirmed once again in the recently adopted Iqualuit Declaration. Nevertheless, the Ministry used the occasion to complain about Canada's "attempts to add unrelated matters to the Arctic Council's agenda, to politicise discussions, and to make decisions on Arctic cooperation issues dependent on these unrelated matters have not promoted cooperation".

 

Here the press release: 

Foreign Ministry comment on the conclusion of Canada's Arctic Council Chairmanship

The Ninth Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council was held in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada on April 24. The Russian delegation was led by Sergei Donskoi, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment.
At the meeting, the ministers signed the Iqaluit Declaration reaffirming the commitment to maintain peace, stability and constructive cooperation in the Arctic and plans to further strengthen international cooperation. With this goal in mind, the ministers approved a number of documents, including the Framework Plan for Cooperation on Prevention of Oil Pollution from Petroleum and Maritime Activities in the Marine Areas of the Arctic, the Framework for Action on Enhanced Black Carbon and Methane Emissions Reductions, and the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan for the Period 2015-2025.
The ministers also established new working groups, including the Task Force on Telecommunications Infrastructure in the Arctic.
The meeting marked the conclusion of Canada's Arctic Council Chairmanship and the beginning of the US Chairmanship.
Overall, the Arctic countries' cooperation has been developing constructively, but Canada's attempts to add unrelated matters to the Arctic Council's agenda, to politicise discussions, and to make decisions on Arctic cooperation issues dependent on these unrelated matters have not promoted cooperation.
This was especially true during the preparations for and the holding of the Iqaluit meeting. However, neither the other Arctic countries nor the Organisation of Arctic Indigenous Peoples supported this policy from Canada and unanimously pointed to the inadmissibility of proposing a confrontational agenda for the Arctic forum.

 

(Source: website of the MInistry of Foreign Affairs of the Russia Federation

 
TOYAMA CONFERENCE STATEMENT, INTEGRATING ARCTIC RESEARCH: A ROADMAP FOR THE FUTURE
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Written by Federica   
Thursday, 30 April 2015 09:04

ASSA2015 LogoASSA2015 LogoArctic Science Summit Week 2015 in Toyama, Japan (23–30 April) brought together nearly 700 international scientists, students, policy makers, research managers, Indigenous Peoples and others interested in developing, prioritizing and coordinating plans for future Arctic research. The Conference was organized by the International Arctic Science Committee and the Science Council of Japan, with the support of many other international partners (www.assw2015.org).
Several overarching messages emerged during the Conference:

  • Changes in the Arctic are challenging our understanding of their consequences and our ability to provide knowledge for decision-makers.
  • There needs to be a greater sense of urgency among decision-makers and awareness by the general public regarding the global importance of changes taking place in the Arctic.
  • It is critical to anticipate changes in the Arctic rather than respond to them, but to do this requires sustained observations and improved understanding of local, regional and global processes. These research challenges must be addressed in a coordinated and timely manner to ensure sustainable development and resilient Arctic communities and ecosystems.
  • The rapidly changing Arctic initiates changes that cascade through the global system impacting weather, commerce and ecosystems in the more temperate regions. Linkages across disciplines, scales, and diverse knowledge systems must be addressed in future research activities.
  • Understanding the vulnerability and resilience of Arctic environments and societies requires increased international scientific cooperation, including contributions from non-Arctic states.
  • More effective use must be made of local and traditional knowledge by engaging northern and Indigenous communities in setting priorities, the co-design and co-production of research, and the dissemination of this knowledge by ensuring appropriate access to research data and results.
  • It is essential to build long-term human capacity to support relevant observations and research among scientists, decision-makers and Arctic residents, including Indigenous Peoples, through education and effective public engagement, and by adopting shared principles to guide research activities.
  • New markets for Arctic resources and associated activities, including trade, tourism and transportation, will likely emerge faster than the necessary infrastructures on land and sea. Sustainable infrastructure development and innovation to strengthen the resilience of Arctic communities requires a collaborative approach involving scientists, communities, governments, and industry.

The Toyama Conference was a critical step in an international Arctic research planning process involving hundreds of scientists from 27 countries working to improve our understanding of the consequences of changes taking place in the Arctic region, and their connection to global environmental, economic and social processes. These rapid transformations occurring in the Arctic are affecting the entire Earth system, including its climate and weather extremes, through increased temperatures and the continuing loss of ice, glaciers, snow and permafrost. New economic interests in the Arctic have established the region as a larger player in the global economy, but also with very significant local effects. In spite of rapid environmental and social change, the Arctic remains a region of geopolitical stability which is a pre-condition for sustaining Arctic research.
The Final Report from the Conference, guided by discussions and contributions from many partner organizations, will be completed later in 2015. This Report will catalyze and inform the implementation of critical, cooperative, international Arctic research programs over the next decade.

Quotes from Opening Session of Arctic Science Summit Week 2015
"I hope that this international summit for advancement of Arctic science will be a great success." Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan
"How should we face the Arctic in the midst of this great change in the Arctic environment and the social and economic conditions surrounding the Arctic? This is a vital question that not only the Arctic countries but all global citizens, including those from non-Arctic countries like Japan, must address." Motoyuki Fujii, State Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)
"The very change that the Arctic is currently undergoing is opening up both new opportunities and new challenges for those who live in the Arctic and others who wish to engage in the Arctic in various ways." Susan Barr, President of the International Arctic Science Committee
"For the sustainable development of the Arctic, scientific knowledge is indispensable." Takashi Onishi, President of the Science Council of Japan
"Japan is well-suited to develop a national strategy for the Arctic region based on a global perspective that calls on nations worldwide to make concerted and united efforts for protecting the Arctic area."
Tadahiko Ito, Japanese Parliamentary League of Arctic Frontier Study

 

As The Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) is the annual gathering of the international organizations, scientists, students, policy makers and other professions engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. Convened annually by the International Arctic Science Committee, it provides opportunities for coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science.
ISARP The Fourth International Symposium on the Arctic Research (ISAR-4), hosted by the National Institute of Polar Research, on "Rapid change of the Arctic climate system and its global influence", aims to facilitate scientific discussions and to promote further national and international cooperation and collaboration, in particular between Arctic and non-Arctic countries.
ICARPIII The Third International Conference on the Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III), organized by the International Arctic Science Committee (www.iasc.info), provides a framework to (i) identify Arctic science priorities for the next decade; (ii) coordinate various Arctic research agendas; (iii) inform policy makers, people who live in or near the Arctic and the global community; and (iv) build constructive relationships

 

 

For more information please contact:

ISAR-4 Secretariat: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR)
Midori-cho 10-3, Tachikawa, Tokyo 190-8518, Japan
Tel. +81-42-512-0925
Fax. +81-42-528-3195

 

IASC Secretariat: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
International Arctic Science Committee (IASC)
Telegrafenberg A43, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
Tel. +49-331-2882214
Fax. +49-331-2882215

 

 

 

 
Shanghai's Polar Ocean Park: Construction Begun
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Written by Federica   
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 10:00

Shanghai, Pudong area (Photo:Freemages)Shanghai, Pudong area (Photo:Freemages)Construction began on a massive polar-themed ocean park in the Pudong New Area that is scheduled to open in 2017.

Shanghai Haichang Polar Ocean World — which is set to cover almost 30 hectares — will include 12 display venues, four marine animal interactive programs, three theaters and another 15 entertainment facilities, said developer Haichang Holdings. Haichang said the park aims to showcase a broad range of Arctic and Antarctic wildlife, but did not give details. Teams involved in the design of Disneyland and Sea World parks have been invited to help with planning and concept design, said officials. The developer said these teams will help coordinate the park's overall function, combining entertainment and education with animal displays. Haichang also said that the park will combine both international and Chinese elements — especially Shanghai features — but gave no details.

The park will also work with the Sea World in Hong Kong and Polar Research Institute of China in animal conservation. Shanghai Haichang Polar Ocean World will be located near Dishui Lake — also known as Waterdrop Lake — in the Lingang area at the southeast of the city.

It's a one-and-a-half-hour drive from People's Square in the city center and 30 minutes by car from Pudong International Airport. By Metro, it will take 42 minutes to travel from Longyang Road station in the Pudong New Area to Dishuihu station once Metro Line 16 is complete.

Metro Line 2 and numerous bus routes connect with Longyang Road station. The developer says Shanghai Haichang Polar Ocean World is expected to attract 6 million visitors a year and form, along with Shanghai Disneyland, the largest tourist destination in east Asia.

Shanghai Disneyland, which is only 25 minutes drive from the polar park, is set to open next year.

 

(Source: Shanghai Daily)

 

 
Greenland and Nunavut urge the EU to revise the Seal Ban
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Written by Federica   
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 09:39

EU (photo: GettyImages)EU (photo: GettyImages)On April 24th 2015, the Governments of Greenland and Nunavut issued a press release regarding the Revision of the EU Seal Ban Regulation. Regulation 1007/2009, which bans the entry into the EU market of seal products not deriving from "traditional" Inuit hunt, has been for many years one of the thorny issues in the EU-Canada and EU-Greenland relations. That much that the issue was taken in front of the WTO, which actually acknowledged that the EU Seal Regime is "necessary to protect public morals", but it does not meet the requirements of the chapeau of Article XX. As result, the EU was given until October 18th, 2015 to amend the regulation. Directly or indirectly, the "seal ban" has also caused the EU a continued deferral (from 2009) of its application to became an observer at the Arctic Council. This year, EU's application has been deferred again, but apparently not because of Canada (more likely because of Russia) . Indeed, in October 2014 it seemed that EU and Canada eventually found a way out to allow Canadian indigenous communities to sell their products in the EU market, but the EU still has to comply with the WTO's ruling. As October is coming, the Governments of Nunavut and Greenland released a joint statement to highlight, once again, their position on the issue:

 

Whereas, on 28 June 2014 the World Trade Organization Appellate Body issued decisions WT/DS400/AB/R and WT/DS401/AB/R;

 

Whereas, as a result of these decisions, the EU has been seeking to revise the Regulation (EC) No. 1007/2009 on trade in Seal products, as well as the Indigenous Communities Exemption, to comply with the WTO decisions;

 

Whereas, The Inuit communities of Greenland and Canada are directly affected by the EU Seal Ban and the Indigenous Communities Exemption of the European Union (EU);

 

Recognizing the importance of seal hunting and its products for the Arctic peoples.

 

Recognizing that seal hunting is a traditional and legitimate way of life that is based on the principle of sustainable use of living resources;

 

Recognizing that for thousands of years, seal hunting has ensured our ancestors survival and remains a pivotal component of the Inuit economy.

 

 

Recognizing the necessity of seal-hunting in a harsh climate such as the Arctic region. A region that is larger than the EU countries combined and with a population that is a fraction of the EU's population. Seal hunting provides key foods, cloths and income for Inuit families, much like pork and chickens does for many European families.

We stand together in our call for the European Union to adopt a revised (EC) No. 1007/2009 that will:

· Recognise the values, interests, food security, culture and traditions of the Arctic indigenous peoples' communities.

· Acknowledge that the traditional hunting of seals in these communities is conducted in strict accordance with the principle of sustainability.

· Recognize that the principle of sustainable use is non-negotiable and cannot be fragmented. The revised regulation must reflect the principle of sustainability and respect for other people's way of life.

· Reflect the Joint Statement between Canada and the EU, which sets the framework for Access to the EU of Seal Products from Indigenous Communities of Canada, in which the EU commits to ensure that the EU's regulations on trade in seal products will not adversely affect the fundamental economic and social interests of indigenous communities which hunt seals for their subsistence.

· Reflect the Council conclusions on developing an EU Policy towards the Arctic Region, in which the Council of the EU supports EU's efforts for increased dialogue with indigenous peoples of the Arctic. Furthermore, the Council states the need to ensure that the representatives of Arctic indigenous peoples are informed and consulted on EU policies that may affect them. · Reflect the Joint Declaration between the EU and Greenland, in which the EU states their support of a sustainable development of Greenland.

 

We urge the EU to heed the concerns voiced in this statement, and encourage the EU to work with us in a manner that respects for our way of life and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to ensure all Indigenous peoples have equal access to, and benefits from, the implementation of the Indigenous Communities Exemption.

 

The Joint Statment can be found here

 
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