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Energy Law Conference started today
Other News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Thursday, 25 September 2014 13:29

(Photo: Federica Scarpa) First day at the Energy Law conference (Photo: Federica Scarpa) First day at the Energy Law conference The two-days Energy Law Conference -The legal issues associated with the development and use of Arctic energy resources- just started this morning (25the September 2014) at the University of Tromsø, Faculty of Law (Norway). Trudi Haugli, dean of the Faculty of Law of Tromsø, welcomed the attendants to the conference, followed by the opening comments by Johan Petter Barlindhaug (Chairman of the board of North Energy ASA) and Nigel Bankes (Professor and Chair in Natural Resources Law, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary, and Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Tromsø ).


The conference, co-hosted by the University of Tromsø, and the K.G. Jebsen Centre for the Law of the Sea (Tromsø), will have today three distinct sessions. The first session, "Arctic energy: strategic and environmental issues" will be chaired by Nigel Bankes: the second, " Offshore oil and gas activities: compensation and liability issues", by Timo Koivurova (Research Professor at ARctic Centre/University of Lapland, and Professor of International law at University of Eastern Finland and Turku); while the third and last session of the day, " Governance issues and Arctic energy" will be chaired by Ingvild Jacobsen, KGJ Centre for the Law od the Sea, University of Tromsø.


Remarkably, Else Berit Eikeland, Member of the Arctic Council - Senior Arctic Official, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and one of today's keynote speakers, described the vision of Norway for the Arctic and specifically the vision on energy issues related with the development of the Arctic.


Else Beirit Eikeland confirmed the strong involvement of Norway on petroleum and oil and gas resources in the Arctic, but also the strong commitment for the environment and specifically, to tackle climate change in the region.


As regarding the Arctic in large, the norwegian SAO underlined that the region is a place of peace and stability. In fact, contrary to what is often described in the media, no "rush for resources" is going on in the region, since the necessary legal scheme is already provided by "Law of the Sea" framework. In addition, the environment (and specifically climate change) has been a common priority to the eight Arctic States since 1996.


The focus was than given to Norway-Russia relations, a key aspect of Norwegian policies. Environement, fisheries, Petroleum, and bilateral cooperation at the AC for oil spill prevention (espacially from maritime shipping and offshore activities), are among the most important and valuable points of Norway-Russia cooperation, and among the main reasons why for Norway is so important to keep working with Russia.


During the speech, it was also disclosed that the EU' observer status at the Arctic Council will be soon formalised, since an agreement with Canada has been reached.


In her conclusions, Else Beirit Eikeland welcomed the recent establishment of the Arctic Economic Council, a venue to foster the open dialogue among the Arctic States, NGOs and big oil and gas companies operating in the Arctic. The new Council aims to deal with the enormous economic and social effects the melting of sea ice will have in the area.




Written by Federica Scarpa






Arctic sea ice reaches minimum extent for 2014
Other News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 09:12

(Photo: NSIDC/NASA Earth Observatory) (Photo: NSIDC/NASA Earth Observatory) The Arctic's sea ice cover appears to have reached its minimum extent on September 17, 2014. Sea ice extent on that day was measured at 5.02 million square kilometers (1.94 million square miles). It was the sixth-lowest extent recorded since satellites began measuring sea ice in 1979. The number is above the 2012 record extent but is still below the long-term average.


Sea ice extent in Antarctica, where it is late winter, has surpassed the satellite-era record for maximum ice extent. We will report the 2014 Antarctic maximum sea ice extent and date of maximum in October, since it may still continue to grow for a short while.

The Arctic sea ice extent number is preliminary—changing winds could still push the ice extent lower, clarifies National Snow and Ice Data Centre.

NSIDC will issue a formal announcement at the beginning of October with full analysis of the possible causes behind this year's ice conditions, particularly interesting aspects of the melt season, the set up going into the winter growth season ahead, and graphics comparing this year to the long-term record.



Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center






(Source: Arctic Sea Ice, Summer 2014




Gender Equality in the Arctic announced
Other News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Monday, 22 September 2014 09:03

(Photo: Gender Equality in the Arctic) (Photo: Gender Equality in the Arctic) The conference Gender Equality in the Arctic will take place in Akureyri 30th – 31st of October 2014.

This conference will focus broadly on the living condition of women and men throughout the Circumpolar North, addressing key issues such as access to and control over resources, representation in decision-making positions, political participation, regional development, human security, and material and cultural well-being.

The conference will bring together government representatives, policy makers, academics and a wide range of other stakeholders from the business community, resource managers and users, community leaders and NGO representatives. The conference will lay the foundation for a cooperation network of the various stakeholders researching, teaching and discussing and promoting gender equality in the Arctic.

Themes and topics will be divided into the following plenaries:

• Gender Equality and the Arctic: Current Realities, Future Challenges
• Political Representation and Participation in Decision-making: Gendered Dimensions
• Regional Socio-Economic Development and its Gendered Impacts
• Climate and Environmental Change, Natural Resource Development, and Gender
• Human Security: Gendered Aspects
• Human Capital and Gender: Migration, Mobility, Education and Adaptation
• (Re-)Construction of Gender in the Arctic

Sessions will consist of three brief presentations in addition to panellist contributions with questions and answers.

More information about the conference and early bird registration is now available on the conference website.

2015 AC Ministerial Meeting announced
Other News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Friday, 19 September 2014 08:56

Mural in Iqaluit, Nunavut by Jonathan Cruz. Photo by Flickr user Sugared Glass. Creative Commons BY license. Mural in Iqaluit, Nunavut by Jonathan Cruz. Photo by Flickr user Sugared Glass. Creative Commons BY license.The next Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting will take place in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada on 24-25 April 2015.


The announcement was made on 12 September 2014 by the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's Minister for the Arctic Council and current Arctic Council Chair.


The meeting will bring together ministers of the Arctic states and high-level representatives of the Indigenous Permanent Participant organizations to set the Council's objectives for the coming two years and highlight achievements during Canada's 2013-2015 chairmanship of the Council.

Arctic Council Ministerial Meetings takes place every two years, and mark the hand-over of the chairmanship of the Arctic Council. The 2015 Ministerial Meeting will mark the conclusion of Canada's chairmanship (2013-2015) and the beginning of the United States' chairmanship (2015-2017).


The choice of Iqaluit has historical significance, as the inaugural Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting (1998) also took place in Iqaluit.

The meeting will be preceded by an event in Ottawa on 23 April to showcase the Council's accomplishments during Canada's chairmanship.

West Nordic Council Annual Meeting
Other News
Written by Federica   
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 10:44

Iceberg (source: Gettyimage) Iceberg (source: Gettyimage) Last week, tyhe West Nordic Council concluded its annual meeting, held this year in Vestmannaeyjar (Iceland). The west Nordic Council, which consists of Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland, is an internal Nordic Council body dealing with regional policies, promoting regional interests and cooperation with neighbouring Countries.  

As reported by the West Nordic website, "the special cultural and geographic conditions of the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Iceland were subject to political discussions of the early 1980s. Subsequently, the West Nordic Countries agreed to establish a joint parliamentary organisation. The chief aim would be to cooperate on common problems and to conduct positive and constructive cooperation regarding West Nordic, or North Atlantic, issues with the Nordic Council as well as other organisations.The West Nordic Parliamentarian Council of Cooperation was formed in 1985.In 1997 the name was changed to the West Nordic Council as the member parliaments approved the Council's present Charter.The parliaments of the Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands each appoint six representatives to the West Nordic Council – i.e. a total of 18 members."


As stated by Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir, current President of the West Nordic Council and member of the Icelandic Parliament, iand reported by the Arctic Journal

"the West Nordic Council recommends that the three governments should strengthen Arctic co-operation at the national level and create a free-trade area.

In August, the West Nordic Council applied for observer status in the Arctic Council, and during this year's Arctic Circle conference, the council will host a session about legislative collaboration. These initiatives are important steps towards further Arctic co-operation in the West Nordic Council.

The West Nordic Council has a powerful voice in the Arctic if we work together. Our countries have small populations: they make up 10 percent of the entire Arctic population and 20 percent of its land area. But our geographical location – in the North Atlantic, between Europe and North America, and with ever improving sea access to east Asia – will make us even more attractive in the years to come.

Our location makes us a potential hub of commerce and scientific research, as well as a go-between for major powers, the other Nordic countries and countries from outside the region. Coming up with a common Arctic policy in areas where the three countries have shared interests is key to strengthening the region.

It is my hope that the initiatives the West Nordic Council has taken in recent years will contribute to closer Arctic co-operation among the three neighbours, and that this collaboration will only grow and thrive with time."


Read more at arcticjournal

West Nordic Council website

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