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Upcoming Event: 2015 Polar Law Symposium
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Written by Federica   
Thursday, 13 August 2015 10:57

"Polarlicht 2" (Photo: United States Air Force,  Senior Airman Joshua Strang)"Polarlicht 2" (Photo: United States Air Force, Senior Airman Joshua Strang, licensed via wikipedia)The Eighth Polar Law Symposium will be held in Alaska, September 23-26 2015. 

The event is co-hosted by Alaska Pacific University (APU), the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Alaska Anchorage (through its Justice Center and its Institute of Social and Economic Research), the University of Washington School of Law, and Vermont Law School, in cooperation with the Arctic Law Section of the Alaska Bar Association. The symposium will be held on both campuses of the University of Alaska:

  • September 23–24 (Wed–Thu) at University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Wood Center
  • September 25–26 (Fri—Sat) at University of Alaska Anchorage
  • University of Alaska (UAA)/Alaska Pacific University Consortium Library

As the Eighth Annual meeting, it  continues the tradition of this truly international Polar Law Symposium, which was first held in 2008 in Iceland and took place last year in Australia. Special thanks to our organizing committee member colleagues at The University of the Arctic, The Polar Law Institute of the University of Akureyri, Iceland, and the Northern Institute of Environmental and Minority Law (NIEM) of the Arctic Centre at U Lapland, Finland.

The 2015 Polar Law Symposium asks three overarching questions:

  • How can lawyers and other legal scholars interact with scientists and academics from other disciplines to the benefit of the Arctic?
  • What can lawyers and academics from all disciplines contribute to each others' understanding of issues of common concern?
  • Can models of cooperation among scientists, scholars, and lawyers from other geographic areas be adapted for the Arctic?

As the Preliminary Program shows, among the themes to be addressed are:

The relationship of science and law in polar regions
Marine policy and law
International frameworks for Polar Law
Risk and security issues in the Arctic
Indigenous peoples rights
Energy and environmental justice
Arctic resource governance


For more information and for register please click here



CNARC Fellowship Program for Year 2015 -2016
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Written by Federica   
Wednesday, 12 August 2015 10:24

CNARC buildingCNARC buildingWith the successful first-year try-out of CNARC fellowship program in Year 2014, CNARC Secretariat is about to launch its Fellowship Program for Year 2015 - 2016. In this new round of application, fellowships shall be granted to 2 Nordic and 2 Chinese fellow candidates respectively, to advance their own research project that falls on CNARC's research priorities or the themes of the 4th China-Nordic Arctic Cooperation Symposium (CNACS) to be held in Rovaniemi, Finland, 2016, for a 1-3 month period in an institute within CNARC's network. 

The fellowship program offers opportunities for excellent researchers from both China and Nordic states, under the collaborative framework of the China-Nordic Arctic Research Center (CNARC), to conduct joint research within leading research institutes in Arctic studies. The program allows researchers to advance their own research projects while contributing to an increased awareness, understanding and knowledge of the Arctic and its impacts for both China and the Nordic states.

To note that fellow candidates are supposed to submit their application no later than September 15th, along with a recommendation letter from a CNARC Member Institute. Successful candidates shall choose to conduct the fellowship during the following period: October 15th 2015 – May 15th 2016. More details related to the guideline, requirements, application form and contact information will be found here (guidelines) and here (application form)

The 8th NRF Open Assembly - Reykjavik, 14-15 October 2015
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Written by Federica   
Tuesday, 11 August 2015 10:26

NRF logo NRF logo The third annual Trans Arctic Agenda will merge with the 8th NRF Open Assembly and take place in Reykjavik, Iceland on 14-15 October 2015. The theme of 2015 is Engaging Cultural Heritage when Building Resilience. The seminar is organized by the Centre for Arctic Policy Studies at the University of Iceland and the Northern Research Forum in cooperation with the University of Akureyri and the Global Arctic Project ( The Trans Arctic Agenda takes a critical and inclusive approach to Arctic issues, opening the debate between different stakeholders by inviting speakers from the academic and policy circles, representing different disciplines and sectors. Like in 2014, this year the seminar will create a link into the Arctic Circle Assembly scheduled to take place in Iceland the same week, on 16-18 October.
The Centre for Arctic Policy Studies (CAPS) was launched at the 2013 Trans Arctic Agenda. CAPS is a forum for interdisciplinary collaboration in the field of Arctic research with an emphasis on the role and policies of states and institutions, non-state and corporate actors, and broader aspects of governance, culture and society in the Arctic and High North. CAPS organizes conferences, seminars and lectures on Arctic issues.
The centre also runs two publication series, offering occasional papers as well as working papers, available in hard copy and online.
The Northern Research Forum (NRF) launched 1999 provides an international platform for an effective dialogue between members of the research community and a wide range of other stakeholders. The main mission of the NRF is to address the critical issues and highlight the opportunities which face people living in the regions of the Circumpolar North. NRF´s main activity is an Open Assembly every second year, where NRF emphasizes open discussion and the participation of young researchers. The 2015 event will be the 8th NRF Open Assembly, now in co-operation with the Centre for Arctic Policy Studies. (For more detailed
information see,
The biennial NRF Open Assembly, as well as the annual Trans Arctic Agenda, has attracted attention from high-level officials, politicians, media, leading  academics and the civil society in Iceland and elsewhere in the Arctic region.
The Centre for Arctic Policy Studies at the University of Iceland and the Northern Research Forum support education and training and have placed strong emphasis on the role of young researchers in the seminars, their role is two folded, to present their own research and by summing up the sessions and thereby
contributing to the seminars summary report.
This year the Trans Arctic Agenda will split into three plenary sessions and three breakout sessions around the following themes:
• Cultural heritage and human resources as part of 'industrial civilization' - case studies of para-diplomacy and
Indigenous / local knowledge
• Representation of Arctic stakeholders and their internal communication
• The interplay between science diplomacy, material and immaterial values: How can the Arctic be a space/ model for peace, sustainability and innovation?
For further information see and

Sea Shepherd vs Faroes
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Written by Federica   
Monday, 10 August 2015 09:27

Faroe Islands (Photo: Erik Christensen, Porkeri - Faroe Islands (Photo: Erik Christensen, Porkeri - Every summer, a number of pilot whales was hunted on the island of Vágar in the northwest of the Faroe Islands archipelago. 

Every summer, a number of animal activist associations, as Sea Sheperd, strongly oppose the hunt by attempting to stop local boats and documenting the annual pilot whale cull. By admission of Sea Sheperd itself, "The long-finned pilot whale is listed in Appendix II of Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), and also on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), meaning that  the species is not necessarily threatened with extinction" , but Sea Sheperd adds "it may become so unless hunting is closely controlled." In addition there are also some legal issues, acconrdingly with the organization: "It is the position of Sea Shepherd that Denmark fails to fulfill its obligations under the Berne Convention for a number of reasons:

The Faroe Islanders, who are Danish nationals, deliberately kill protected species that are listed under Appendix II of the Berne Convention, to which Denmark is a signatory state.
While the Faroe Islanders claim that that the grind is not a commercial hunt, grind meat is sold in supermarkets, hotels and restaurants, contributing to a trade that is even marketed to other European visitors to the Islands.
The long-finned pilot whale passes through Faroes waters on an annual migration route to feed in Arctic waters. A single grind can completely decimate, and sometimes completely eradicate, an entire pod. This slaughter occurs in, and around, Danish territorial lands. 


Unfortunately, issues of a foremost importance for local population within the Arctic area, as hunting, are often misunderstood and blamed from the outside. Contrary to the common belief, this annual event taking place in Faroes, although traditional, is not a festival nor a ritual. Indeed, pilot whales are taken any time of the year (but the majority between July and September), to provide food for the local population: the catches are not commercialized abroad, although whale meat and blubber are occasionally available in the local supermarkets or local restaurants, and they are rather shared for free among the participants and local community.


Whaling in Faroes is strictly regulated. Actually, records exist that Pilot whale hunting has been regulated since the XIII-XIV century: the Sheep Letter, a Faroese law from 1298 outlines rules for the use of whales. Later, a dedicated regulation for pilot whaling was enacted in 1832 and was most recently updated in 2013. 


The "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species" reports in regards of the long-finned pilots whale and hunting: "The only current fishery for long-finned pilot whales is undertaken in the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Although this fishery has been actively pursued since the 9th century, catch levels have apparently not caused stock depletion, such as occurred off Newfoundland. Catch statistics exist from the Faroes since 1584, unbroken from 1709 to today, showing an annual average catch of 850 pilot whales (range: 0 - 4,480) with a cyclic variation according to the North-Atlantic climatic variations (Bloch and Larstein 1995). The IWC, ICES and NAMMCO have concluded, that with an estimated subpopulation size of 778 000 (CV=0.295) in the eastern North Atlantic and approximately 100 000 around the Faroes (Buckland et al. 1993; NAMMCO 1997) the Faroese catch is probably sustainable. In Greenland, catches are relatively small."


Few days ago five activists from Sea Sheperd have been convicted (they were arrested on July 23) as they attempted to stop and document the annual pilot whale cull.

While Sea Shepherd is going to immediately appeal the verdict and the sentences, the Government of the Faroe Islands has released the following document: 

"Law and order must be maintained" : 

In relation to the conviction of animal rights activists by the court on August 7, the Government of the Faroe Islands has the following statement:

"The Government of the Faroe Islands values the right to protest, which is a fundamental part of any democracy. But law and order must be maintained and violation of our laws will be dealt with by the police and the legal system.

The intention of the Faroese whaling law (Grindalógin) is to ensure that the utilisation of pilot whales for food can be carried out according to the regulations. Obstructing a whale drive can be dangerous and can put people and property at risk.

The utilisation of pilot whales for food is a legal activity in the Faroe Islands. And just as freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest are legal rights, so is the right of the Faroese people to make good use of their natural resources, including pilot whales.

Whaling in the Faroe Islands is conducted in accordance with international law and globally recognized principles of sustainable development. Catches are sustainable and fully regulated, with emphasis on animal welfare. It is a natural part of Faroese life and pilot whale meat and blubber remains a cherished supplement to households across the islands."


(Sources: Sea ShepherdGovernment of the Faroe Islands, "The Local" (DK)

2015 ARCTIC ENERGY SUMMIT "Security and Affordability for a Resilient North"
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Written by Federica   
Friday, 07 August 2015 09:04

Arctic Energy Summit Logo 2015Registration Arctic Energy Summit Logo 2015is open for the Arctic Energy Summit 2015 ""Security and Affordability for a Resilient North", that will be held in Fairbanks, Alaska, on September 28-30. 

2015 Summit Tracks:

  • Prudent Exploration and Production of Oil and Gas
  • Renewable Energy Development and Energy Efficiency
  • Power and Heat in Remote Communities
Beyond the hype of an increasingly changing and busy Arctic stand communities and businesses working hard to ensure the lights are on. While the development of rich natural resources that support northern economies grab headlines, policy makers in the North know the struggle to build critical infrastructure, invest in education, and protect a healthy environment.

Join community, business and political leaders from the eight Arctic nations, subject matter experts  from around the world, and local traditional knowledge holders as we explore best practices – whether emerging technologies or innovative policy – and ways to leverage of public and private investment to help address these challenges. The Summit is highly participatory and interactive, with your participation resulting in outcomes delivered to the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council during the U.S. Chairmanship.


Download the agenda of the Arctic Energy Summit 2015 here. 

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