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WWF's Recommendations for the Arctic Council
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Written by Federica   
Friday, 10 April 2015 09:33

Polar Bears (photo:GettyImages)Polar Bears (photo:GettyImages)WWF has recently released a statement on WWF's position and recommandations for the 2015  Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council, which will take place in Iqaluit next 24th April. During the meeting, which takes place every two years in different locations, particpants will outline objectives and priorities for the Arctic Council for the following two years, highlight Canada chairmanship's achievements, and mark the beginning of  the United States' chairmanship (2015-2017).  While "decisions at all levels in the Arctic Council are the exclusive right and responsibility of the eight Arctic States with the involvement of the Permanent Participants", yet observers, as WWF, may attend the meetings, observe the works of the Council, propose projects, and, in meetings of the Council's subsidiary bodies, present written statements, submit relevant documents and provide views on the issues under discussion. 

WWF is one of the eleven Non-governmental organizations that have been granted observer status in the Arctic Council over the years. As reported by the WWF web-site, the main points of the statment are: 

Focus on a "new Ocean"
Ominous new records in Arctic sea ice extent and volume have become a regular occurrence. A progressively more ice-free ocean is emerging in the Arctic. Arctic states must cooperate and take practical actions to protect Arctic life and minimize the risks of increasing industrial impacts.
Arctic states must:
Identify and protect marine areas of special ecological significance to improve biodiversity conservation through a representative Arctic marine protected areas network.
Design and adopt a legally binding regional seas agreement to enhance ecosystem health of the Arctic Ocean and coastal communities' wellbeing.
Empower Arctic Peoples
Many Arctic communities are currently fully dependent on dirty, expensive fossil fuels to generate electricity, power their economies and heat their homes. The Arctic Council can help Arctic communities transition to community-scale renewable energy technologies as part of a plan to reduce the impacts and risks of development while increasing local and environmental benefits.
Arctic states must:
Prioritize community-scale development including expansion of renewable energy projects that will substitute diesel and heavy fuel oil and truly benefit local peoples.
Develop a long-term (2030-2050) Arctic sustainable development vision based on downscaling of industrial projects and diversification of the Arctic economy.
Factor in the value of biodiversity conservation to improve human wellbeing in the region.
Act on Climate Change
At the first Ministerial meeting in 1998, the Arctic Council was mostly concerned with Arctic pollution issues and the related human health consequences which led to the 2001 Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants and the more recent 2013 Minamata Convention on mercury. Today, Arctic nations are facing an even more dynamic and complex set of problems related to the rapidly changing environmental, social and economic conditions of the region.
Arctic states must:
Work with observer states to drive the adoption of ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets in the coming climate negotiations in Paris.
Work with observer states to reduce local emissions of methane and black carbon.
Develop tools to improve the resilience of Arctic peoples and ecosystems to adapt to Arctic changes.
Identify all sorts of subsidies to hydrocarbon development in the Arctic and reallocate at least 50% of them to support renewable energy solutions for Arctic communities.


You can read WWF full recommendations here.



Sixth Polar Law Yearbook available at Brill
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Written by Federica   
Thursday, 09 April 2015 10:16

YPL6Yearbook of Polar Law 6The sixth edition of the Polar Law Yearbook is now available at Brill

Since 2009, when the first Polar Law Symposium was held in Nuuk, the Polar Law Yearbook collects together articles written by different authors on Arctic and Antarctic issues. While some of the articles are submitted directly to the Yearbook, others are based on presentations made at the Sixth Symposium on Polar Law that was held in Akureyri, Iceland, in October 2013.


Editors-in-Chief: Professor Gudmundur Alfredsson, University of Akureyri, Iceland, and China University of Political Science and Law,
Professor Timo Koivurova, Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Finland. Special Editor: Hjalti Ómar Ágústsson, University of Akureyri, Iceland.
The Yearbook of Polar Law, is based at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law at the University of Akureyri in Iceland and the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law (Arctic Centre/University of Lapland) in Finland and covers a wide variety of topics relating to the Arctic and the Antarctic. These include:
- human rights issues, such as autonomy and self-government vs. self-determination, the rights of indigenous peoples to land and natural resources and cultural rights and cultural heritage, indigenous traditional knowledge,
- local, national, regional and international governance issues,
- environmental law, climate change, security and environment implications of climate change, protected areas and species,
- regulatory, governance and management agreements and arrangements for marine environments, marine mammals, fisheries conservation and other biological/mineral/oil resources,
- law of the sea, the retreating sea ice, continental shelf claims,
- territorial claims and border disputes on both land and at sea,
- peace and security, dispute settlement,
- jurisdictional and other issues re the exploration, exploitation and shipping of oil, gas and minerals, bio prospecting,
- trade law, potential shipping lines through the northwest and northeast passages, maritime law and transportation law, and
- the roles and actual involvement of international organizations in the Polar Regions, such as the Arctic Council, the Antarctic Treaty System, the European Union, the International Whaling Commission, the Nordic Council, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the United Nations, as well as NGOs.



Russian Paratroopers landed on ice floe at 89 North
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Written by Federica   
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 10:30

(source: GettyImages) (source: GettyImages) The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation has recently released a brief note reporting that 85 Russian paratroopers and15 soldiers from Belarus and Tajikistan, members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), have successfully  landed on a drifting ice floe at 89 North .They deployed a mobile signal communications centre on the site. The operation has been described by the Airborne troops spokesman Yevgeny Meshkov as part of a series of survival exercises in the Arctic conducted by Russia. "For the first time in history" the Defense Ministry said in a statement., "paratroopers from the Ivanovo and Pskov airborne divisions carried out a successful paradrop on a drifting ice block... in the direct proximity to the North Pole together with a contingent from the Collective Rapid Reaction Force of the Collective Security Treaty Organization," 

According to the Russian Ministry, "the Russian Airborne Force (AbF)'s servicemen, together with representatives of the contingent of the CSTO's Collective Rapid Deployment Forces (CRDF) are to hold a training humanitarian search-and-rescue expedition near the North Pole.Paratroopers will work out the tasks of search, assistance and transportation of imaginary injured persons during expeditions, wrecks of aircraft and ships in the extreme conditions of the Arctic. Satellite signal communications systems are used to communicate with the Command of the Airborne Forces. The equipment's tuning to a satellite occurs automatically according to the coordinates given and takes less than 5 minutes".

TASS (Russian News Agency) has reported that "two drifting bases will be created near the North Pole this year. One, called Kupol, will be used for military purposes. In part, commando groups will be practicing survival skills there. The other, civilian base North Pole-2015, will be doing scientific research.A new combined strategic command has been operational on the basis of the Northern Fleet since December 12, 2014. In March, Russia held large-scale combat readiness exercises in the Arctic, including the Novaya Zemlya and Franz-Jozeph Land archipelagos, with 80,000 men, 80 ships and 220 planes and helicopters taking part."


Sorce: Ministry of Defence of the Russian FederationTASS, Sputniknews.  


Upcoming event: “In the Spirit of the Rovaniemi Process – Local and Global Arctic”
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Written by Federica   
Tuesday, 07 April 2015 11:03

Rovaniemi ProcessThe "In the Spirit of the Rovaniemi Process – Local and Global Arctic" will take place in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland, on 24-26 November 2015.

The conference is the second in the series of biennial international Arctic conferences organized by the City of Rovaniemi, the University of Lapland and its Arctic Centre and the Arctic Society of Finland.

The conferences highlight the importance and contemporary legacies of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy, the so-called Rovaniemi Process that led to the establishment of the Arctic Council. These is still today seen in the priorities of Arctic co-operation, environmental protection and sustainable development, while at the same time the aim is to overcome geopolitical tensions into a region of peace and co-operation. Today, the spirit of the Rovaniemi Process is seen in the nature of the circumpolar cooperation that is marked by close scientific collaboration, people-to-people connections and networks of businesses and arts.

With the theme "Local and Global Arctic" the conference will address the interaction of the global, regional and local levels in the Arctic, such as the impacts of global processes on local communities in the Arctic. Moreover, the role of institutions such as the Arctic Council, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, the Nordic Council of Ministers, and the European Union, in interlinking Arctic stakeholders is highlighted. Key questions include: How the local perspective is, or should be, seen in global and international context in the Arctic? Does Arctic international co-operation truly support sustainable development at the local level? How do local perspectives and values translate to regional and global contexts?

The conference will consist of keynote speeches by eminent political speakers and distinguished scholars in two plenaries as well as presentations highlighting latest scientific papers and good practices in the parallel sessions. The ten thematic sessions will address topical issues such as sustainable extraction of Arctic natural resources, the European Union and the Arctic, art, geopolitics, indigenous peoples' languages and livelihoods, work and well-being in cold conditions, marine transportation, and indigenous tourism. Moreover, the special features of Arctic cities are addressed from sustainability and design viewpoints.

The conference invites friends of the Arctic - decision-makers, scholars, artists, designers and students - to discuss the Arctic in global, regional and local perspectives in the spirit of the Rovaniemi Process.


For further information, please, click here

EGU General Assembly: 12-17 April 2015
Other News
Written by Federica   
Tuesday, 07 April 2015 09:33

photo: GettyImage) The European Geoscience Association (EGU) General Assembly 2015 will bring together geoscientists from all over the world to one meeting covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences. The EGU aims to provide a forum where scientists, especially early career researchers, can present their work and discuss their ideas with experts in all fields of geoscience.
The General Assembly 2015 is held at the Austria Center Vienna (ACV) in Vienna, Austria, from 12 – 17 April 2015. The assembly is open to the scientists of all nations.
During the General Assembly, Permafrost Young Researchers Network (PYRN) together with the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) will be organizing a short course about "The future of permafrost in a climate-changing world"
The course is open for Bachelor, Master, PhD students and post-docs and the goals are: 1) to equip young researchers with a multidisciplinary understanding of the role of permafrost in the climate system; 2) to strengthen international collaboration of early career researchers; and 3) to enable the participants to put their research into a larger context. The objective of the course is to revise recent research that concerns permafrost in a changing climate. Participants will learn about the effect of permafrost development and degradation in polar and mountain regions, and its impact on infrastructures and ecosystems under climate warming scenarios.



Journalists, freelance science writers, and public information officers may sign up for complimentary media registration. Online pre-registration is now closed. On-site registration is available in the main registration area of the Austria Center Vienna during the opening hours of the conference office.


For more information on EGU General Assembly, please click here.  

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