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Trans Arctic Agenda
Other News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Friday, 15 March 2013 14:41

Trans Arctic Agenda: Challenges of Development, Security, Cooperation


(Logo: University of Iceland) (Logo: University of Iceland)

On Monday, 18-19 March 2013 a high-level seminar hosted by the Institute for International Affairs and Centre for Arctic Policy Studies, University of Iceland (IIA/CAPS), and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) – in cooperation with the Swedish and Icelandic Ministries for Foreign Affairs. The event will be held at Radisson Blu Hotel Saga.


Keynote addresses by HE Mr. Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden and

HE Mr. Össur Skarphéðinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland


The Arctic, where ice has so far been a barrier, could become an open bridge in the future between widely separated and different nations. Ice melting at sea and on land will open up new trans-Arctic transport routes and give access to new mineral and fishery resources, even while it disrupts traditional habitats.


Whether fast or slow, these changes will affect first and foremost the countries around the North Pole who already cooperate through the Arctic Council. Yet the Arctic is also part of the wider world. New transport routes and tourism will attract both suppliers and customers from outside the region. Possible new Arctic energy production will affect the global energy balance and be affected by it. A badly managed Arctic would be a legitimate concern for the whole international community.


(Photo: Alþjóðamálastofnun Háskóla Íslands)(Photo: Alþjóðamálastofnun Háskóla Íslands)

The Trans-Arctic conference will bring together experts and policy-formers from all the large and small nations most interested in Arctic developments. It will not look for national differences but for common agendas. It will ask if current governance methods are coping with the growing agenda or if not, what more could be done to ease cooperation at the state, business, and popular levels. It will end with special emphasis on the roles of the small Nordic states, and of Iceland itself - the only sovereign nation to lie entirely within the Arctic.


Further information and a conference programme is available on the website of the Institute of International Affairs at:


The conference is open to all but we kindly ask you to register your attendance for planning purposes by sending us an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . no later than March 15.






Institute of International Affairs 
Centre for Small State Studies

University of Iceland

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{mosmap address='Ny Reykjavik, Iceland'|zoom='1'|}

Apply today and get a scholarship!
Other News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Friday, 15 March 2013 09:53

Cooperation in a field of Arctic Studies between Iceland and Norway


(Photo: Getty Images) The national flag of Iceland(Photo: Getty Images) The national flag of Iceland

Today, 15th of March 2013, there is a deadline for those who wish to apply for a Icelandic – Norwegian exchange scholarship.


Exchange scholarships for Icelandic and Norwegian Students in Arctic Studies are one of the key activities in this co-operation. The purpose of the exchange scholarship program is to encourage the exchange of students between higher education institutions in Norway and Iceland in the field of Arctic science.


(Photo: Getty Images) National flag of Norway(Photo: Getty Images) National flag of NorwayStudents from all levels (bachelor, master, doctoral) enrolled at Icelandic and Norwegian higher educational institutions are encouraged to send an application before midnight today!


All detailed information on how to apply for the scholarship are available here.







Greenland's elections breaking news
Politics News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Wednesday, 13 March 2013 10:27

(Photo: Getty Images) (Photo: Getty Images)

Today, 13th of March 2013 Greenlanders expect to know the final results from yesterday's parliamentary elections.


Citizens of Denmark's semi – autonomous territory braved snow and ice to decide for the new parliaments. Mining of precious rare earths and foreign investment were key issues throughout the campaign.

Close to 40 000 Greenlanders were eligible to vote and voter turnout was high despite freezing temperatures. The issue of how to handle potentially vast mineral resources was the key issue in Tuesday's vote, as the territory's economy is feeling the pressure of caring for an ageing population.


Politicians from all sides of the political spectrum see the development of a mining industry as a key to solving economic problems.


But developing such an industry would require inviting thousands of foreign workers, which is a sensitive topic among the population of 57,000.


The outcome of the election to the 31-seat parliament will decide whether Premier Kuupik Kleist and his left-wing Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) coalition get replaced by his challenger Alega Hammond and her Social Democrats.

Kleist wants to encourage foreign investment to build up a mining industry, but maintain a restrictive policy on mining radioactive materials, which are a by-product in the process of extracting rare earth metals.


He recently pushed through legislation known as the "Large-Scale" law which gives special rights to foreign companies investing more than five billion kroner (670 million euros, $873 million) in big mining projects.

Alega Hammond, who campaigned to become the territory's first female prime minister, wants to tap all mineral deposits even if they contain uranium.


The dispute that has been going on for the past few months should come to an end later today.


The elections were handled according to the Act of Greenland Self – Government.



{mosmap address='Ny Nuuk, Greenland'|zoom='1'|}

4th Polar Shipping Summit
Shipping News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Monday, 11 March 2013 23:31

(Photo: Getty Images) (Photo: Getty Images)Today, 12th of March 2013, the 4th Polar Shipping Summit takes place in Montreal, Canada. The Polar Shipping Summit has been an annual even to summarize the past year of Polar navigation.


The forum brings together Arctic experts from North America, Asia and Europe to share their experience and views on the best solutions for the current operational challenges as well as the strategy and most up to day technical solutions and current operational challenges of navigation in the polar waters.


The policy makers, government officials and senior Arctic representatives explain policy and regulatory changes for the upcoming years and promote understanding for the strategy for the economic development for the Northern hemisphere.


This year's event will touch upon policy and regulatory challenges and considerations of Canadian short sea shipping in the Arctic, Arctic northern Sea Route and effective voyage planning, ice breaking operation in the North, satellite and port communications , crew training and many more.


Delegates are drawn from the shipping operators, owners, coast guards and transport authorities, consultants, researchers and brokers. The event is open for public to attend. Registration starts on Tuesday, 12th of March 2013. For more information, please access the conference website.





{mosmap address='Ny Montreal, Canada'|zoom='1'|}

Central Arctic route in use by 2050
Shipping News
Tuesday, 05 March 2013 08:33

Guardians map of Arctic Shipping (Photo: The Guardian) Guardians map of Arctic Shipping (Photo: The Guardian)Ships should be able to sail directly over the north pole by the middle of this century, considerably reducing the costs of trade between Europe and China but posing new economic, strategic and environmental challenges for governments, according to scientists.

Click here to enter the Arctic Portal shipping portlet. 

The dramatic reduction in the thickness and extent of late summer sea ice that has taken place in each of the last seven years has already made it possible for some ice-strengthened ships to travel across the north of Russia via the "northern sea route". Last year a total of 46 ships made the trans-Arctic passage, mostly escorted at considerable cost by Russian icebreakers.

But by 2050, say Laurence C. Smith and Scott R. Stephenson at the University of California in the journal PNAS on Monday, ordinary vessels should be able to travel easily along the northern sea route, and moderately ice-strengthened ships should be able to take the shortest possible route between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, passing over the pole itself. The easiest time would be in September, when annual sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean is at its lowest extent.

PNAS is the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

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The scientists took two classes of vessels and then simulated whether they would be able to steam through the sea ice expected in seven different climate models. In each case they found that the sea routes opened up considerably after 2049.


"The emergence of a ... corridor directly over the north pole indicates that sea ice will become sufficiently thin such that a critical technical threshold is surpassed, and the shortest great circle route thus becomes feasible, for ships with moderate ice-breaking capability," says the paper.


"The prospect of common open water ships, which comprise the vast majority of the global fleet, entering the Arctic Ocean in late summer, and even its remote central basin by moderately ice-strengthened vessels heightens the urgency for a mandatory International Maritime Organisation regulatory framework to ensure adequate environmental protections, vessel safety standards, and search-and-rescue capability," it adds.


The northern sea route has been shown to save a medium-sized bulk carrier 18 days and 580 tonnes of bunker fuel on a journey between northern Norway and China. Shipowners have said it can save them €180,000-€300,000 on each voyage. A direct route over the pole could save up to 40% more fuel and time.



{mosmap address='Ny Alesund, Svalbard '|zoom='1'|}

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