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Arctic Portal News Portlet

22 July 2011

A Radio show about the Arctic was on the China Radio International (CRI) called "Beyond Bejing". The CRI is the only overseas broadcaster in the People's Republic of China and is owned and operated by the state. The CRI is one of the "three central media organizations in China" along with China National Radio (CNR) and China Central Television (CCTV).

The discussion of the radio show was "Territorial Competition in the North Pole". Further description of the show is that The North Pole, a region covered by floating ice has long been an area of interest. It's been discovered the region is not just home to ice and the occasional polar bear but its sea bed may hold significant oil and gas reserves. Further as the ice caps melt new highly lucrative shipping and strategic lanes may open.And after years of diplomatic discussions between competing nations, Russia and Canada are both moving troops into the Arctic Cricle for the summer months. This change in posture as well as the worlds depleting energy resources raises concerns over the possibility of an open conflict over our most uninhabited section of the world.

Participants in the discussion are:

  • Jia Xiudong, Senior Research Fellow with the China Institute of International Studies.
  • Wenran Jiang, Professor at the University of Alberta, Senior Fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and Special Advisor on China for The Energy Council.
  • Lassi Heininem, Professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Lapland in Finland and the Chair of the Northern Research Forum Steering Committee.

The interview is one hour long. To listen to the show see below

Territorial Competition in the North Pole discussion on CRI

For further information, see the CRI webpage

21 July 2011

The Arctic in Transition: Regional Issues and Geopolitics

October 3-4, 2011.

A conference about the "Arctic in Transition" will be held 3rd and 4th of October 2011. The conference is a collaboration between the Centre Jacques Cartier (France), ArcticNet (University Laval)  and the Northern Research Forum (University of the Arctic and University of Lapland).

The conference will take place in Montréal and is organized by the Center for Geopolitical Studies of the Raoul Dandurand Chair as part of the 24th annual Centre Jacques Cartier of France Conferences. It is also a meeting point for the Thematic Network on Geopolitics and Security of the Northern Research Forum. This high-level international meeting reunites political scientists, lawyers, geographers, historians, policy-makers and practitioners to discuss, first, the socio-economic, political and security issues of Arctic developed or developing regions, and, second, to look at the evolving relationships between these spaces, their peoples, and global affairs. The main focus of the meeting seeks to adress security issue(s) of the various region(s) that make up the circumpolar world.

Three Arctic regions will be highlighted: a) the North-American Arctic (United States (Alaska); Canada (Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut, Nunavik) and Greenland; b) the North Pacific Rim (Alaska, Russian Far East, Beaufort Sea/Chukchi); c) the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (Nordic countries - Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland - and Russia).

Program and further information

Download program

For information contact the program co-director, Joël Plouffe : .

The Raoul Dandurand Center is at the University of Québec at Montréal, Canada.

20 July 2011

ashgate_border_studiesA new publication about Border Studies is now available, "The Ashgate Research Companion to Border Studies". This comprehensive volume brings together a multidisciplinary team of leading scholars to provide an authoritative, state-of-the-art review of all aspects of borders and border research. It is truly global in scope and, besides embracing the more traditional strands of the field including geopolitics, migration and territorial identities, it also takes in recently emerging topics such as the role of borders in a seemingly borderless world; creating neighbourhoods, and border enforcement in the post-9/11 era.

Throughout history, the functions and roles of borders have been continuously changing. They can only be understood in their context, shaped as they are by history, politics and power, as well as cultural and social issues. Borders are therefore complex spatial and social phenomena which are not static or invariable, but which are instead highly dynamic.

Among contents of the publication is:

  • Post-Soviet boundaries: territoriality, identity, security, circulation, Vladimir Kolossov
  • Polar regions – comparing Arctic and Antarctic border debates, Lassi Heininen and Michele Zebich-Knos
  • The Mechanisms of Exclusion and Inclusion: National minorities in European border regions, Jan D. Markusse
  • Different neighbours: interaction and cooperation at Finland's Western and Eastern borders, Heikki Eskelinen

Further information at the Ashgate Publishing Group

19 July 2011

The IPY 2012 Conference From Knowledge to Action is taking place in Montreal, Canada April 22-27, 2012 and will be one of the largest and most important scientific conferences for polar science and climate change, impacts and adaptation. The Call for Abstracts for oral and poster presentations is now open.

Conference organizers invites to submit abstracts on the latest polar science, as well as the application of polar research findings, policy implications and how to take polar knowledge to action.

The Conference program is available at

The Call for Abstracts closes September 30, 2011.

Conference Website Launched

The IPY 2012 conference website is up and running and features the latest information on the development of the Conference program, as well as indepth articles and highlights of polar science news from around the world on our Conference Twitter page (IPY2012).

Further Information

18 July 2011

Arctic Strategies and Policies - Inventory and Comparative Study

Available soon!

By Dr. Lassi Heininen, University of Lapland, Finland and Northern Research Forum

The eight Arctic states – Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the USA – are responding to recent environmental, (geo)political and (geo)economic changes, and challenges of globalization. This includes (re)defining their northern policies and interests nationally, their position and role in the Arctic region as well as northern cooperation. Sweden´s launch of its strategy for an Arctic policy in May 2011 denotes the adoption of specific national arctic strategies or state policies by all Arctic states.

Based on these strategies and state policies, their priorities and priority areas Dr. Lassi Heininen from University of Lapland, Finland, and the chairman of the NRF Steering Committee, has created an inventory on, and comparative study of, these national arctic / northern strategies and policies.

The final version of the study will be completed in August 2011. The draft version, "Arctic Strategies & Policies: Inventory & Comparative Study" was presented to the Standing Committee for Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region in February 2011 in Tromsö, Norway.

The study will be launched at the 6th Open Assembly of the Northern Research Forum in Hveragerdi, Iceland on the 4. -5. of September 2011. Simultaneously it will be made available online at the NRF web site:

The study will be published by the Northern Research Forum and the University of Lapland.

Further information

Contact Lassi Heininen

8 July 2011

nrflogoRegistration for the 6th NRF Open Assembly is now open. The 6th NRF Open Assembly will be held at Hotel Örk in Hveragerdi,south Iceland.The overall objective of the Open Assembly in Hveragerði, Iceland, is to address the impact of dwindling ice - terrestrial as well as ocean bound - on the complex interface of nature and society in all climatic zones of the world, with an emphasis on the Arctic, the Antarctic and the Himalayans. In light of the man-made part of climate change, particularly meaning global warming, and the natural phenomena of ice is gradually becoming a concept of global politics - a common heritage of humankind- affecting societal life in quite dramatic ways on a global scale. This turn in the interrelationship and working of the society/nature interface is the focus of the Assembly.

Further information about the 6th NRF Open Assembly

Registration for the 6th NRF Open Assembly

8 July 2011

arctic_frontiersThe Arctic Frontiers (AFT) conference is a central arena for discussions of Arctic issues. The conference brings together representatives from science, politics, and civil society to share perspectives on how upcoming challenges in the Arctic may be addressed to ensure sustainable development.

Arctic Frontiers (AFT) holds its 6th annual conference in Tromsø from 22-27 January 2012, Norway, with the title "Energies of the High North". Arctic Frontiers 2012 will discuss the global energy outlook, and assess the potential of traditional and renewable energy resources in the North.

Arctic Frontiers is composed of a policy section and a scientific section. This call for papers addresses only the scientific section from January 25th to January 27th 2012. The parallel sessions address 4 connected, interwoven and interdisciplinary themes:

  1. Arctic Geology, Hydrocarbon Reservoirs & Gas Hydrates
  2. Technological development & Environmental challenges
  3. Social, political and economic aspects of energy projects in the High North
  4. Renewable and Alternative Energy

Interested scientists are invited to submit abstracts to one of these four sessions for both oral and poster presentations. Deadline for submission of abstracts: October 24th 2011

For more information, download the complete Call for Papers and the abstract submission form on the AFT homepage

1 July 2011

EUArcticForum_header_june2011The EU-ARCTIC FORUM, established in 2010, provides the European Parliament a platform on all issues with regard to the Arctic, facilitating exchange and input of information as well as interlinking the fragmented debates on the Arctic within the EU. The newsletter informs about activities in particular of the EU-ARCTIC-Forum and gives an overview on the development of the Arctic issues within the European Union.

The June 2011 Newsletter can be read HERE

28 June 2011

icass_speaker_svenThe seventh The International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS) that was held in the town of Akureyri, Iceland the days of 22nd – 26th of june is thought to be a great success.

The theme of the conference, Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue, referred to the inter-linkage of worldwide environmental changes to the development of Arctic societies. The theme also referred to the fact that the Arctic is not just an empty wilderness with endless access to resources but an area inhabited with people that have to endure and adjust to environmental changes in their society.
The conference hosted 10 sessions with 380 lectures about emerging social and cultural issues regarding the Arctic.

During the Conference, an election was made about the location of the eight ICASS and the secretariat. It was decided that the ICASS VIII will be held in 2014 in Prince George, Canada. The IASSA secretariat will be located at University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) in Prince George. Professor Gail Fondahl, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, Canada, has been elected new IASSA president for the term 2011-2014 and will take over as IASSA president September 1, 2011.

gail_fondahlGail Fondahl submitted a bid for the IASSA secretariat - to be hosted by University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), Prince George, Canada – and won the bid at the election for IASSA secretariat held at the IASSA General Assembly at ICASS VII in Akureyri. Three candidates were bidding for the IASSA secretariat; UNBC, Yukon College, and University of Nordland at Bodø.

After the announcement of the location of the new secretariat, an election for IASSA council was held. Eight councilors were elected, and Gail Fondahl was announced new president by the newly elected IASSA council.

There are nine councilors on the newly elected IASSA council: eight councilors were elected by the General Assembly; and IASSA President Joan Nymand Larsen (2008-2011) continues on the IASSA council as past president (ex-officio).

IASSA Council 2011-2014:

Gail Fondahl, president elect
University of Northern British Columbia, Canada

Joan Nymand Larsen, outgoing president (ex-officio)
Stefansson Arctic Institute, Akureyri, Iceland

Alona Yefimenko
Indigenous Peoples Secretariat, IPS, Copenhagen, Denmark

Andrey Petrov
University of Northern Iowa, USA

Birger Poppel (re-elected)
University of Greenland, Nuuk, Greenland

Chris Southcott
Lakehead University & Yukon College, Canada

Florian Stammler (re-elected)
Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland

Peter Schweitzer (re-elected)
University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA

Tatiana Vlasova
Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation

24 June 2011

icass_speaker_svenThe seventh International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences in Akureyri is going well. Participants, hosts and organizers are happy with the event so far. Day two, as day one, was a success and participants enjoyed the courtesy of organizers, receiving a traditional lamb meat soup for lunch.

All sessions and lectures have been a success and have inspired further dialogue about Arctic Social issues. The two keynote speeches by Kirsten Hastrup on „Scales of Attention: Global Connections and Local Concerns in the Arctic" and Sven D. Haakanson, Jr. on „The revitalization of indigenous language, culture, and customs" were well attended and gave a good start for the day.

Day three has started well as well, with two keynote speeches from Nikolai B. Vakhtin on „The Future of Arctic Social Research in Russia" and Igor Krupnik: Crossing Boundaries: What did we learn in IPY 2007–2008 and who learned it" gave a good inspiration into the day.

Participants of ICASS VII are in a treat in day three, where a grand banquet will be offered in the Akureyri town cultural center Hof.


golf2The town of Akureyri is turning into an Arctic town these days, hosting the ICASS conference and now the golf tournament of „Arctic Open" starting during the same weekend, giving the residents of the small town in the north of Iceland to be „Arctic" in many ways during these days.


Further information about the Arctic Open Golf Tournament

ICASS Conference website

23 June 2011

iassa_logoThe Seventh International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences, Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue: Social Sciences beyond the International Polar Year is now held in Akureyri, Iceland, 22-26 June 2011.

The theme of the conference, Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue, refers to the interlinkage of worldwide environmental changes to the development of Arctic societies. The them also refers to the fact that the Arctic is not just an empty wilderness with endless access to resources but an area inhabited with people that have to endure and adjust to environmental changes in their society.

icass_speaker_svenThe conference hosts 10 sessions with 380 lectures about emerging social and cultural issues regarding the Arctic.

At the Opening ceremony, the Icelandic minister of environment welcomed around 450 Arctic Social scientists and specialists from around 30 countries, that have gathered in the Northern city of Akureyri, Iceland to address issues facing the Arctic, making it the biggest scientific conference that has been held in the small academic town of Akureyri.

The first day was followed by a reception where the mayor of Akureyri gave a speech and emphasized the importance of Arctic issues for the circumpolar north and the small town of Akueyri.

The Arctic Portal webcastes the keynote speeches during the whole conference.

Further information about ICASS

10 June 2011


The Energy Company Enbridge Inc. says up to 1,500 barrels of oil may have leaked from its pipeline in the Northwest Territories last month, much higher than the company's initial estimate of four barrels.

On May 9, Enbridge Inc. reported that it had confirmed a crude oil leak from a pipeline on its Norman Wells System (Line 21) approximately 50 km south of the community of Wrigley, NWT. On May 20th Enbridge returned the Norman Wells line to service after completing the necessary repairs.
According to Enbridge Inc., the oil remains contained and there are no impacts to moving water. Their original four barrel estimate was based on oil collected at the surface and did not take into account the subsurface impacts, which were believed to be not significantly, which they were.

The increase in subsurface oil was discovered during the ongoing environmental site assessment, which includes subsurface analysis and is standard practice for all releases. Based on current estimates provided by the third party experts on site, Enbridge anticipates the release volume could range from a minimum of 700 barrels to a maximum of 1,500 barrels. Based on its current analysis, Enbridge anticipates the probability that the maximum volume would be exceeded to be low. The company has confirmed that they have removed approximately 100 barrels of oil.
Chief wants inquiry

The massive increase did not surprise the Wrigley Chief, Tim Lennie, who was among the first people to discover the leak. Lennie said while people in Wrigley, a community of over 100, had suspected it was a larger spill all along, the latest news is still hard to digest.
"It's anger, it's frustration. I'm quite certain with this news, there will be more questions," he said. "There needs to be an inquiry on this, I feel now." states Lennie.

River not affected, says company

Third party experts are onsite and the company is working to define the subsurface impacts. Once this work is complete, a revised estimate of the size of the release can be determined. The company continues to recover oil and is shipping it off site. Contaminated water is being treated onsite. Contaminated soil will be removed once site conditions allow.

Enbridge says it is important to note that the oil is contained in an area along and directly adjacent to the right of way and that no watercourses are threatened. There continues to be no impact to the Willowlake River. The area will be continued to be monitored closely. Crews of approximately 15 people, comprised of Enbridge and contract support personnel, are onsite and continue to recover crude oil, and conduct environmental assessment activities.

Tim Lenniw Lennie however states that he has heard from people living in the area that the spill has impacted the area.
The National Energy Board says it has no reason to doubt the information it has received from Enbridge, where the information from Enbridge is considered safe.

The Norman Wells pipeline was back up and running on May 20, after repairs were made. Enbridge says the cause of the pipeline leak remains under investigation.



CBC News

Enbridge Inc.