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Debate goes on in Rio
Other News
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 11:14

 Photo: GettyImagesDebates on a new agreement in the Rio+20 conference continue. Negotiators have agreed a text to be approved this week "to put society on a more sustainable path".

Environment groups and charities working on poverty issues believe the agreement is far too weak.

"We have reached the best possible equilibrium at this point; I think we have a very good outcome," said Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota to the BBC.

Denmark leads the EU and both are unhappy with "the level of ambition" in the text. BUt the Danish environmental minister believes it will be signed off anyway.

"The EU would have liked to see a much more concrete and ambitious outcome, so in that respect I'm not happy with it," she said.

"However we managed to get the green economy on the agenda, and so I think we have a strong foundation for this vision that can drive civil society and the private sector to work in the same direction, to understand that environment and the social side must be integrated into the heart of the economy."

The lad negotiatior for the USA called the draft "a good step forward" and admitted it would not be re-opened for discussions.

More than 100 world leaders are expected in Rio from Wednesday to attend the summit.




See Also:

About Rio+20 on Arctic Portal

Rio +20 website



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{mosmap address='Rio de Janeiro, Brazil'|zoom='4'|}

PAGE 21 to define data management objectives
2012 Other
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 11:12

(Photo: Arctic Portal; Dr Kirsten Elger and M.Sc Jean Lanckman at Gódafoss, Iceland)(Photo: Arctic Portal; Dr Kirsten Elger and M.Sc Jean Lanckman at Gódafoss, Iceland)

Kirsten Elger from Alfred Wegener Institute, Division of Geosciences and Periglacial Research came to Akureyri to discuss PAGE21´s data management objectives.


Writing and following a data management plan is the principle pre – requisite for complying with current policy of PAGE21 Project. There is no one – size – fits recipe for a data management plan, says Jean – Pierre Lanckman, the Arctic Portal data manager who recently joined the team in Akureyri. It is important to strike the balance between putting a data at risk with too few controls and creating unnecessary administrative procedures.


It is important to understand the scope of data management, what the objectives are and what practices are required, to be able to easily plan and organize the relevant information.


Elger and Lanckman  will spend next few days for defining those objectives for PAGE21.


PAGE21 is a large – scale integrating collaborative project under the ENV call topic: ´´Vulnerability of Arctic permafrost to climate change and implications for global GHG emissions and future climate´´, coordinated by prof. Hans – Wolfgang Hubberten.


The project aims to understand and quantify the vulnerability of permafrost environments to a changing global climate and to investigate the feedback mechanisms associated with increasing greenhouse gas emissions from permafrost zones.


Read more about PAGE21 project here.

Nansen-position in Akureyri advertised
Other News
Monday, 18 June 2012 10:30

The ad in Fréttablaðið this weekend. The ad in Fréttablaðið this weekend.The University of Akureyri has advertised a new guest professor posistion according a memorandum of understanding signed last year.

The MoU was signed by foreign ministers Össur Skarphéðinsson of Iceland and Jonas Gahr Støre of Norway concerning co-operation in the field of Arctic scientific research, including the establishment of a Nansen Professorship in Arctic Studies at the University of Akureyri.

The Professorship is named after the famous Norwegian polar scientist and humanist Fridtjof Nansen and is awarded each year for twelve months period to a world leading scientist working with issues that bear on the legal, economic, social and natural circumstances in Arctic studies.

"The successful candidate should have a PhD (or equivalent experience) with a strong academic background in Arctic studies relevant to legal issues as well as sustainable human development in the Arctic regions. The Candidate should be experienced in working across disciplines with complex human-environmental-social issues and should have strong communicative and social/interpersonal skills. Research experience relating to the Arctic and a track of participation in international research networks will be necessary as well as a proven ability to obtain research grants," the UNAK website reads.

Primary responsibilities will be:

(I) To contribute to the research, teaching and further development of relevant programs at the University of Akureyri

(II) to work closely with other researchers in furthering the Northern research and teaching milieu at the University of Akureyri and contribute to the development of the University of the Arctic

(III) to give public lectures on Arctic Issues in local, national and international forum and to participate in the contemporary debate on changes in the arctic.

Applications are open until 15th of August.


Fréttablaðið newspaper

UNAK website


See Also:

Website of UNAK



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{mosmap address='Akureyri, Iceland'|zoom='3'|}

Rio 20 coming up
Climate Change News
Friday, 15 June 2012 15:42

 The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio 2012 or Rio+20, will start next week.

The conference is a 20-year follow-up to the historic 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).

Like its precessor, the conference is held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

The conference will be one of the highlights of the year, and Arctic Portal has written a new feature about the summit.

Click here to read more.

Ideas for the world or few words on this year´s biggest event on sustainable development – Rio+20
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Friday, 15 June 2012 09:10

(Photo: Arctic Portal)(Photo: Arctic Portal)

´´Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs´´

World Commission on Environment and Development

                                                                                             Brundtland Report 1987


Sustainable development is recognized as the pattern of economic growth in which the use of natural resources meets population´s needs in environmentally friendly way. Initially, the term was used by the Brundtland Commission in 1987. Since then it has become the most commonly used definition to describe the economic growth.


The history of United Nations involvement in the world´s sustainable development goes back to 1972 when industrialized and developing nations gathered in Stockholm to discuss and find global solutions to such a problems as housing, food and water security, healthy and productive environment.


In 1980, the International Union for the Conservation of Natural Resources did publish the World Conservation Strategy, which provided the precursory concept of sustainable development. The Strategy adopted a collective approach which stated that the conservation of nature cannot be achieved without an elimination of poverty and misery of millions of people. The idea stressed the interdependence of conservation and development and acknowledged that unless the fertility and productivity of the planet are safeguarded, the human population´s future is at risk.

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


Few years later, the World Commission on Environment and Development was created and presented as an independent body of United Nations General Assembly. It implemented the Global Agenda for Change, in which the social, economic, cultural and environmental global issues were wove together and the attempt of providing solutions to those problems was made.


In June 1992, the first UN Conference on Environment and Development was held in Rio de Janeiro. The Event created the Agenda for Environment and Development which is now called Agenda 21 and included Rio Declaration on Sustainable Development and the Statement of Forest Principles. Agenda 21 has been monitored by established in 1993 Commission on Sustainable Development.

A decade after the Rio Declaration, the World Summit on Sustainable Development took place. It aimed to renew the global commitment with regards to sustainable development by creating the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation that would suggest changes to global unsustainable patterns, bring up ideas for poverty reduction, protection and management of natural resources. What is more, Johannesburg Plan of Implementation established the institutional framework for sustainable development at the international level. On 24th December 2009 the UN General Assembly agreed to hold the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012.

Exactly twenty years after the adoption of Agenda 21, representatives of governments, private sectors, NGOs and other stakeholders, gather in Brazil to focus on poverty reduction and advancement of social equity and environmental protection.

(Photo: Arctic Portal, Curious Polar Fox)(Photo: Arctic Portal, Curious Polar Fox)

Since 1992 a lot of progress has been made mainly on elaboration of regional, national and local sustainable development strategies, the adoption of binding agreement on Climate Change, the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and associated international and regional action plans. What is more, the ratification of the Aarhus Convention on environmental democracy, by forty four states in the UNECE region.


The one could argue, that today´s global crisis (of democracy, world´s economics and finance), biodiversity loss, climate change and food security issue were sustained on unprecedented rate despite of all the efforts.


Nevertheless, states – parties to the Convention, combines efforts to emphasize a holistic, equitable and far – sighted approach to decision making processes at all levels. The joined initiative during the gathering in Brazil, will present not only strong economic performance but intergenerational and intragenerational equity. The ideas for the meeting rest on integration and balanced consideration of social, economic and environmental goals and objectives in both public and private sectors of decision making process.


This year´s event touches two major themes: green economy in the context of sustainable development poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development. Further, those were divided into seven thematic sessions, including problems of the world´s unemployment, development of cites as hubs for modern ideas, food water and energy security, major problems of oceans ´ecosystems plus the strategies for prevention and recovery after the natural disasters.


The UNCSD, Rio +20, is without a doubt an intergovernmental and interdisciplinary process driven by the UN member states with the full involvement of the UN bodies and Major Groups. Member states led the meetings before the event in order to discuss the objective and themes of the Conference, so it could be convent at the highest possible level. The preparatory work of the states – parties to the UN is fully transparent and can be accessed by the public on the UNCSD website.

(Photo: Arctic Portal by Halldór Jóhannsson, Icelandic Clay Area)(Photo: Arctic Portal by Halldór Jóhannsson, Icelandic Clay Area)


Close to 500 side events take place during Rio +20. Those are mainly organized by governments 'representatives, organizations from the United Nations system and other various international and intergovernmental organizations. Sustainable Development Dialogue days will take its place at the Summit.


It has been long understood that the sustainable development is not possible to be achieved by the governments without democratic involvement of citizens. Their active participation is organized in Major Groups, where all sectors of society and all types of people, including consumers, workers and trade unions, business and industry´s representatives, farmers, students and researchers, educators and indigenous peoples, come together to contribute their local ideas.


United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development significantly creates the opportunity for the world´s leaders to bring up the paradigm of sustainable lifestyles and establish the usable framework for future generations. The event is also an important symbol as it celebrates 20th anniversary of Agenda 21.


More importantly, Rio +20 is a chance for the states – parties to the Convention, to declare the fulfillment of commitments made with regards to sustainable development policies. The Conference program in its vision highlights the critical involvement of various stakeholders to strengthen the rights of environment, the rights of nature.


Source: Rio +20, United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

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