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The European Union and the Arctic: registration open.
Other News
Written by Federica   
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 09:10

The European Union and the Arctic ConferenceThe European Union and the Arctic ConferenceThe School of Law, University of Dundee, UK and the K. G. Jebsen Centre for the Law of the Sea, University of Tromsø, Norway are pleased to announce the registration open for "The European Union and the Arctic" (2015 EU-Arctic Conference).

This conference will bring together academics and practitioners from relevant disciplines such as international law, international relations, political science and marine biology, NGOs, representatives from EU institutions and international organisations to discuss the EU's potential contribution to enhance Arctic governance. A roadmap for increasing the effectiveness of the EU's action in the Arctic will be drawn at the end of the conference.

In order to ensure a high quality discussion, the conference tends to limit total participants to 100 maximum. The deadline for registration is 1 May 2015 (first come first serve). Further details can be found in the registration form below.


The conference will be held on May 29th and 30th at the University of Dundee, Dalhousie Building.


Check the program here

Registration Form 


Switzerland’s Candidature for Observer Status to the Arctic Council
Other News
Written by Federica   
Monday, 09 March 2015 08:19

Observer Status to the Arctic Council: Switzerland’s CandidatureObserver Status to the Arctic Council: Switzerland’s CandidatureSwitzerland is applying for observer status to the Arctic Council. As reported in the material submitted by the Swiss Confederation, "this candidature is part of Switzerland's long-lasting commitment to peaceful international cooperation and to research excellence". The application will be discussed, along with other issues,  during the next  Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting, to be held in Iqaluit (Canada) on April 24th and 25th 2015. In addition to the eight Member States and the six Indigenous associations (permanent participants), the Arctic Council counts twelve non-arctic countries, nine Intergovernmental and inter-parliamentary organizations, and eleven non-governmental organization as observers (the EU is allowed to observe proceedings in the Council until a final decision is made on its application to become an observer).

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, observers may: 

  • Observers shall be invited to the meetings of the Arctic Council once observer status has been granted.
  • While the primary role of observers is to observe the work of the Arctic Council, observers should continue to make relevant contributions through their engagement in the Arctic Council primarily at the level of Working Groups.
  • Observers may propose projects through an Arctic State or a Permanent Participant but financial contributions from observers to any given project may not exceed the financing from Arctic States, unless otherwise decided by the SAOs.
  • In meetings of the Council's subsidiary bodies to which observers have been invited to participate, observers may, at the discretion of the Chair, make statements after Arctic states and Permanent Participants, present written statements, submit relevant documents and provide views on the issues under discussion. Observers may also submit written statements at Ministerial meetings.

Switzerland has listed seven reasons to describe its high degree of involvement in the Arctic: the characteristics of the Swiss landscape very similar to the Arctic landscape, Swiss mountain climate, Swiss research in the Arctic long tradition, Switzerland's strong commitment to international polar research in cooperation with the eight Arctic countries,  Swiss leadership in international negotiations in addressing climate change, Swiss maritime presence (althoug  a landlocked country, Switzerland has ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and all major conventions concluded within the framework of the International Maritime Organization), Swiss' advocacy for indigenous issues in international fora. 


Read more here

(Source: Arctic Council, Arctic Journal). 

AC's meeting in Whitehorse
Other News
Written by Federica   
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 09:04

Arctic Council logoArctic Council logoThe Arctic Council's Senior Arctic Officials (SAOs) are meeting in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada(2-5 March 2015). The attendants to the last meeting prior to the Iqualuit' Ministerial(when the chairmanship of the Arctic Council will be handed over to U.S.) are reviewing progress on the work of the Arctic Council under the Canadian Chairmanship and assessing the deliverables to be presented at the Ministerial meeting.

During the first day of the meeting,  the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG)  has endorsed a new project, EALLU Arctic Indigenous Youth: Traditional Knowledge and Food Culture – Navigation Towards Sustainability through New Approaches for Addressing Arctic Climate Change and Globalisation (short: EALLU Arctic Indigenous Youth, Climate Change and Food Culture). The project will be co-leaded by MSc Anders Oskal, Executive Director of the Int'l Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR) and the Arctic Indigenous Peoples Culinary Institute.The project, co-leaded by Norway, Russian Federation and the Saami Council, will involve a wide cooperation of countries  and Permanent Particpants' associations.

According to the Arctic Council's website, the other issues to be addressed during the meeting include:
- A case study from the Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP) of an initiative in the Russian Arctic to reduce black carbon emissions from diesel sources;
- Two policy-makers' summaries presenting the findings of new assessments by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) of short-lived climate pollutants (methane, black carbon and ozone) and human health, persistent organic pollutant trends, and radioactivity in the Arctic;
- The Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG)'s efforts to: develop recommendations to strengthen the use of traditional and local knowledge in the work of the Council; create an online climate change adaptation portal; submit a report on "Circumpolar Reflections on Sea Ice Use and Shipping in Inuit Nunaat"; maintain and further develop sustainable reindeer husbandry in the Arctic; and assess cancer trends among Arctic indigenous peoples and communities;
- The Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) group's work to: update the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan, which will provide policy priorities for marine-related issues of the Arctic Council for the next ten years; develop a pan-Arctic framework for marine protected areas; and develop best practices guidelines for Arctic marine tourism;
- The Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) working group's Guide on Oil Spill Response in Ice and Snow. EPPR will also report on the radiation exercise "Arctic-2014", which took place in the Murmansk region in June of 2014;
- The efforts of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) group to develop an action plan to implement the recommendations from the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, a work plan for the Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative, and present progress on the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program;
- A compilation highlighting best practices for the promotion of traditional ways of life in the Arctic
- Updates from the Council's task forces on priority initiatives to address black carbon and methane, develop an action plan on Arctic marine oil pollution prevention, and enhance scientific cooperation.


(Sources: Arctic Council and International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry



WRH Chair Mikhail Pogodaev Nominated as Executive Director of Northern Forum
Other News
Written by Federica   
Monday, 02 March 2015 06:50

Mikhail Pogodaev, Executive Director of Northern Forum (Photo: Mikhail Pogodaev, the Executive Chair of the Association of World Reindeer Herders has been nominated to be Executive Director of the Northern Forum. Pogodaev is Even and was raised in a reindeer herding family in Topolinoe, in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). Pogodaev has been engaged in cooperation across the north between reindeer herding peoples since he was young, following in the footsteps of his mother, Maria Pogodaeva who played an important role in the early history and establishment of the Association of World Reindeer Herders after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

This is a period of change for the Northern Forum and it is an exciting prospect that an indigenous person from reindeer husbandry could be selected to steer the organization through an exciting, but intensely challenging time in the North generally, and in small rural communities in particular.
Northern Forum is one of the regular observers to the Arctic Council, alongside WRH, and has collaborated with WRH since the early 90s. Northern Forum is currently undergoing some changes, as the previous Executive Director Mr Vladimir Vasiliev has been appointed Minister of Federal Attitudes and External Affairs of the new Sakha Republic Government. Therefore the position of Executive Director of the forum has become vacant, and has been announced earlier. One of the candidates for this position is Dr Mikhail Pogodaev, who as current Chair of WRH is very active in the Arctic cooperation, including in the work of the Arctic Council. We are very pleased that a representative of reindeer herding peoples has been nominated to this position by the Head of Sakha Republic, H.E. Egor Borisov.

In fact, the history of the establishment of the Northern Forum is also closely linked with the history of WRH, while this may be unknown to many people today. Northern Forum has been an arena for very important interregional cooperation across the Arctic regions. There are however some challenges for the organisation, where Northern Forum has experienced some difficult years where some key regions have left this collaboration. But at the same time, there are also a great potential for this cooperation between different Arctic regions. It is good that Alaska and other regions are considering rejoining the Northern Forum, which we interpret as a very good sign for the organization. The existing close cooperation and institutional relations between reindeer herding peoples and their institutions could also be positive for the Northern Forum, for instance connected to the Arctic Council, the University of the Arctic and so on. In this regard, ICR and WRH was honoured to be asked by the Board of Governors of University of the Arctic to construct the 3rd UArctic Institute – the UArctic EALÁT Institute – in 2009. The Council of this Institute has been led by Mikhail Pogodaev since the beginning. As Chair of WRH, Dr Pogodaev has also led the work of WRH in the United Nations, where WRH has an official Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council. This includes experience with different parts of the UN system, including UNEP, UNPFII, UNESCO and GEF.

With his broad experience of international cooperation and his very good relations to other regions, we believe Dr Pogodaev could contribute very strongly to strengthen the Northern Forum, and facilitating the rejoining on equal terms of other regions to this collaboration including from Fennoscandia. His candidacy also represents a great potential for inclusion of indigenous peoples into the international cooperation between different regions of the North, given Mr Pogodaev´s strong relations with organizations of indigenous peoples across the circumpolar north. In this time of international challenges, the collaboration between northern regions and northern peoples are even more important, in our opinion.

Mikhail Pogodaev has been representing WRH in the Arctic Council as Head of Delegation for many years, and has also led Arctic Council projects on behalf of the Russian Federation and Norway, and has also actively participated in different working groups. He has experience of working on this uniqe international forum and he could also strengthen cooperation between Northern Forum and Arctic Council. We believe that there is a potential for synergies between these international organizations, as all decisions that are shaped in the Arctic Council will ultimately have to be implemented on regional/ local levels. At the same time, there would more or less always be needs for better coordination between federal and local authorities, as well as meaningful participation of indigenous peoples in decision making processes.

Therefore, we believe that an appointment of Mikhail Pogodaev to a leading position of the Northern Forum will strengthen the organisation and its links to the Arctic Council, UN, Arctic indigenous peoples and NGOs, and thus cooperation in the Arctic!

Anders Oskal, Executive Director of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry,
Kautokeino, Norway

Johan Mathis Turi, Secretary General of the Association of World Reindeer Herders

Inger Anita Smuk, Chair of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry

Svein Msthiesen, Professor of the Institute for Circumpolar Reindeer Husbandry of the University of the Arctic

The Northern Forum secretariat is based in Yakutsk, the capital of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). The Northern Forum was established to improve the quality of life of Northern peoples by providing Northern regional leaders a means to share their knowledge and experience in addressing common challenges and to support sustainable development and the implementation of cooperative socio-economic initiatives among Northern regions and through international fora. The Board also formally manages the Northern Forum Regional Coordinators Committee and the Secretariat. The Chairman of the Board is elected during the General Assembly and can serve two terms. The present Chair is Mr. Egor Borisov, the Acting Head of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Russia




Polar Bears Day
Other News
Written by Federica   
Friday, 27 February 2015 11:11

Polar Bear Petition (photo: Polar Bears International) Polar Bear Petition (photo: Polar Bears International) Since 2013, Polar Bears International celebrates the Polar Bears Day on February 27th. The initiiative is to raise awareness on the drastic effects climate change is having on the Arctic, the natural habitat of the Polar bear. To support the initiative, you can sign the petition: 

Polar bears need you—and people do, too!

Sign the Petition for Polar BearsIn a world warmed by climate change, the polar bear's sea ice home is literally melting away. Without action, wild polar bears—the very symbol of the Arctic—could disappear.

Climate change threatens polar bears, but the impacts reach far beyond polar bears and far beyond the Arctic. People are at risk, too, from rising sea levels, crop failures, and extreme weather events from droughts to floods.

Polar bears can't walk to the climate change talks in Paris this December to ask for help. You can speak up for them by signing our Petition for Polar Bears.

Please sign our petition to ask the world's nations to create a plan for greenhouse gas reductions that are fast and deep enough to help polar bears—and, by extension, people. By signing, you'll speak up for renewable energy, for efforts to stop deforestation, for a greener world.

You'll help ensure a future for polar bears. And by ensuring a future for polar bears, you'll help countless other species—including our own.


More information and if you want to sign the petition, click here.


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