Arcticportal News
New App for oil facts available
Energy News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Thursday, 06 March 2014 09:39

(Graphics: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate) (Graphics: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate) Yesterday, 5th of March, Norwegian Petroleum Directorate announced the great success of their iPhones/iPads App entitled Oil Facts.

The jury of the annual Farman awards wrote that it is impressed by the volume of information available in this comprehensive, user-friendly and useful app from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. Only the Norwegian Environment Agency's Environment status app ranks higher.

Best useful app is a new category for the Farmand awards, which have traditionally been reserved for annual reports and websites.

The jury writes that Oil facts contributes a lot of interesting and useful information, which would otherwise be time-consuming to access.

It targets people who already have significant knowledge about the Norwegian oil industry. However, we quickly discovered that it should also be very useful for teachers, students of all ages and other interested parties, whether they are looking for fast or comprehensive factual information. On the negative side, the jury notes that the search function is disappointing.

New versions of Oil facts adapted for Android and Windows Phone are being developed, with launch planned in April.

The app is accessible, free of charge from the iTunes App Store.

Model Arctic Council finished on Friday
Other News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 09:00

(Photo: Northern (Arctic) Federal University) (Photo: Northern (Arctic) Federal University) Proactive master and PhD students from different countries gathered in the Northern (Arctic) Federal University (Arkhangelsk) with aim to increase their knowledge on the Arctic issues, meet like-minded participants from the other countries and develop their leadership skills.

The school included lectures and workshops given by Russian, American and Norwegian experts in the field of Arctic policy and international relations. A role-play game took three days and included three stages: Working Groups Sessions; Arctic Council Sessions and Ministerial Meeting.

The Working Groups session took place on Wednesday. Winter School participants took the roles of representatives of different countries, permanent members and members of other working groups of the Arctic Council, such as AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program), CAFF (Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna).

All participants of the Model Arctic Council communicated in English; they discussed topical issues that could get in the agenda of a real meeting of the Arctic Council. For example, they discussed a project proposed by the Russian Federation. Peeyapat Rabieb (she took the role of a representative of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North) spoke about the main aspects of this project, which aims to support reindeer herding.

On Thursday, the students simulated a meeting with senior officials of the Arctic Council, which actually takes place twice a year. The winter school participants submitted reports on current projects of their groups. After the presentations and discussions of these projects, the students began to work on the text of the declaration.

On Friday, the simulation of Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council took place in the framework of the winter school. The students presented the text of the declaration, which included various projects that could be useful for the sustainable development of the Arctic region. At the end of the meeting the winter school participants discussed the results of their work during the week.

Click here to read more about Northern (Arctic) Federal University.

Canadian theater group performs in Iceland
Other News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 08:42

(Photo: Wednesday, 5th of March in Hafnarfjörður, southern Iceland, the the Toronto-based theatre company Human Cargo will perform the play Night which explores issues facing Inuit in the Canadian Arctic.

Created in Nunavut with Inuit actors, and in collaboration with Leikfelag Akureyrar, this production is performed by Inuit and First Nations actors and is presented in Inuktitut (with subtitles) and English.

Night tells the story of a Toronto anthropologist and 16-year old Inuk girl intersect powerfully during 24 hours of darkness in Pond Inlet, Nunavut. Daniella is a scientist from the big city; Piuyuq is an Inuit girl with big dreams. As the two cross paths, their lives are changed forever.

The initiative is organized by the Canadian Embassy in Reykjavik, capital city of Iceland.

Human Cargo is a Toronto-based theatre company dedicated to the creation and touring of new theatrical works. Human Cargo brings together theatre artists from different cultural backgrounds to create original, multi-cultural productions. It's our role as theatre artists to explore the extremes of the human condition and to create a safe environment for our audiences to engage in a thorough and provocative discussion of ideas – says the group. The effect of Human Cargo's theatre is overt. We want to instigate social and political change - the group explains.


Click here to read about Human Cargo and the Group´s projects. 

The Arctic in the Media
Other News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Monday, 03 March 2014 08:58

 Erik Franckx Erik Franckx On Tuesday 25th February, at the University of Akureyri, Erik Franckx gave a concise speech for the „Law Forum" on „the Arctic and Mass media" to underline the importance of studying legal regimes and of doing research in the region.

The debate in the mass media on the Arctic often tries to come up with nice black and white pictures with a view of catching the attention of the general public.


These stories, however, more than once do no really reflect the underlying legal reality. More disturbing in this respect is moreover the fact that these stories are sometimes even to be encountered in the specialized literature. More research on the Arctic and its legal regime seems consequently a necessity in order to make a reasoned judgement as to the kind of future action to take with respect to this region. As many seem to focus on the necessity to urgently develop a more stringent legal system to properly cover and protect the Arctic region, professor Franckx suggested that a good reading of the Law and a correct study of legal regimes applicable to the Arctic may reveal that the existing legal framework properly deals with today's challenges.

To support his argument, professor Franckx recalled few recent episodes that have uselessly aroused big debates and controversies in the region, often described by mass media, and even more regrettably by specialized literature as already mentioned above, as omens for a forthcoming new „Cold War" era in the Arctic. This was the case, for instance, when media reported and commented Russia's perilous expedition to the seabed at the North Pole to plant its flag on the underwater Lomonosov Ridge in 2007. Because of a supposed lack on the existing legal framework to govern claims in the region, the event was indeed described as a clear claim by the Kremlin over the Arctic and its resources and even a symbolic move to enhance Russian position over the other Arctic States, potentially leading to a new war on Arctic resources.

Conversely, a careful reading of the law and an accurate description of the facts clearly suggest that Russian' expedition to the North Pole has no legal value per se as regard claims over the region. The 1982 UNCLOS, indeed, clearly regulates States' claims on submarine areas by providing an accurate description of technical limits applicable in order to claim Continental shelf. In addition, under the 1982 UNCLOS, it has been also established the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), an autonomous body established within the framework of the 1982 UNCLOS, exactly to act as a watchdog in order that the coastal states do not trespass upon the Area, i.e. the seabed and ocean floor and subsoil thereof, beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, where the principle of the common heritage of mankind is applicable.

As the absolute majority of states, Russia today clearly complies with 1982 UNCLOS. Indeed, in 1991, Russia submitted a proposal to claim part of the Arctic seabed to the CLCS, but it was rejected because of the insufficiency of the data submitted. Under this view, it is rather evident that the 2007 expedition should be better interpreted as a mission aiming at collecting further data to submit a new claim, but definitely not as a per se claim over the region.
The professor indeed concluded that there is not an urgent need to develop a more stringent regime for the Arctic at present, and that a good reading of the law and an accurate study on legal regimes may actually provide an useful key to understand and properly explain Arctic issues.

Erik Franckx is research professor, President of the Department of International and European Law, and Director of the Centre for International Law, and Vice-dean for internationalization of the Faculty of Law and Criminology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He has been also appointed by Belgium as member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague, The Netherlands; as expert in marine scientific research for use in special arbitration under the 1982 United Nation Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); as legal expert in the Advisory Body of Experts of the Law of the Sea of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; and as expert in maritime boundary delimitation to the International Hydrographic Organization.

Arctic Services active locally
Other News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Friday, 28 February 2014 11:24

(Photo: Arctic Services) (Photo: Arctic Services) Arctic Services, a joint initiative between companies and institutions in Iceland, collectively, has over 40 years' experience servicing Arctic operations in the North Atlantic.

The main objective of Arctic Services is to promote the high service level and infrastructure available for those involved in exploration, oil search and mining in the Arctic region.

The joint initiative was first introduced in March 2013, and since then, has grown into a collective of 55 companies in various sectors of professional services and industries.

Akureyri is the most densely populated area in Iceland outside of the Greater Reykjavik Area. The region's geographic location is central to Arctic operations, offering a vibrant local economy, a modern, international airport, excellent harbour facilities and extensive possibilities for expansion in a fast changing global environment.

The planned harbour facility at Dysnes will further strengthen the region's role as a service hub in the Arctic by welcoming a variety of industries to the greenfield industrial area. Building on strong industry and fisheries tradition in the area, the site is being developed to welcome various sectors active in the Arctic, e.g. mining, oil exploration and research.

Members of the Arctic Services collective will be in attendance at PDAC 2014, taking place between 2nd and 5th March in Toronto, Canada. The event is an opportunity for professionals in the mineral exploration industry to meet, whereby Arctic Services will be discussing its operations in North Iceland.


To find out more about the initiative and its services, visit

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