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Wednesday, 07 December 2011 08:54

Identities in Kirkenes

Anne-Marith Rasmussen is working on a PhD project on young people and multiculture in Kirkenes; the easternmost town in North Norway close to the Russian and Finnish border. When she started to plan her project, she wished to find a place that could represent North Norwegian multiculturalism, and Kirkenes is a good example of that. Due to changing historical circumstances today Norwegian, Saami, Kven, Russian, Finnish and immigrants from all over the world live there. Because of the history of multiculturalism in North Norway there seems to be a more positive and open-minded understanding of cultural and ethnic differences than in South Norway. Her professional background has root in a very strong tradition of Educational Anthropology at Tromsoe University, Norway. She has particularly developed an interest for minority/majority power relations:
Thursday, 01 December 2011 16:39

Greenpeace stages oil event in Copenhagen

Greenpeace, the international environmentalist organisation, today staged an event aimed against oil drills in Greenlandic waters. The event took place on and off the North Atlantic Quay in Copenhagen, Denmark. Witnesses, mainly people working in the North Atlantic Building and a few bystanders, saw a group of Greenpeace activists carry out an oil spill scenario that included actually spilling crude oil on the entrance of the North Atlantic Building, oil that they then tried to diligently clean up after them. Several activist clad in insulated diving suits, safety vests, and helmets jumped into the harbour’s cold water to unfold a big yellow floating banner on the background of which man-size black letters spelled out the message: ”Protect the Arctic – NO LICENSE TO DRILL”. At the same time, inside the North Atlantic House where meetings are going on this week between representatives of the Greenland Government and the oil industry, activists dressed up in business suits and pretending to be government officials welcomed arriving oil company associated and lead them to a conference room rented by Greenpeace under the guise of a fictitious IT company.
Friday, 25 November 2011 10:47

The secretariat question II

The Swedish chairmanship of the Arctic Council is continuing the practice of its Danish predecessor of dealing with sensitive issues at closed sessions prior to open Senior Arctic Officials meetings. At the Swedes first gathering of SAOs in Luleaa, the two days of open meeting on 8-9 November were preceded by a closed session for national and Permanent Participants head of delegations in the afternoon of Monday 7 November. This procedure also means that no controversy gets vented during the open meeting that conducts itself in a smooth way and ahead of schedule. And now you also get events in parallel with the plenary meeting. According to the Swedish chair of the SAOs, everybody does not necessarily have to hear the same thing. In Luleaa, the Arctic Cryosphere project tested this new meeting format as it conducted a parallel event of its own.
Friday, 25 November 2011 09:48

Invention of greenhouse gases

A hundred and fifteen years ago, the Swedish physicist and chemist Svante August Arrhenius (1859-1927) presented his theory about the connection between the greenhouse effect of the earth’s atmosphere and the levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. He was aware of the enormous rise of CO2 emissions due to industrialisation, and he was the first one to predict that burning of fossil fuels would lead to global warming. Yet, Arrhenius was far from alarmed by his own discovery as he rather saw rising CO2 levels as something that could help prevent the earth from falling back into a new ice age. In his book Världanars Utvecklinng from 1906 (English edition Worlds in the Making, 1908), he wrote:
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 20:28

Arctic Council meetings in Luleaa

Luleaa, situated just below the Arctic Circle in Northern Sweden, is home to approximately 45 thousand people. Next week, it will also host some 150 people who will be attending the first meeting of Senior Arctic Officials (SAO) under the Swedish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. On the agenda: new major initiatives such as the Arctic Change Assessment and the Arctic Resilience Report; Short-lived Climate Forcers, ecosystem based management, and biodiversity in the Arctic; and there will be an update on the Project Support Instrument under NEFCO that recently received EUR 10 million from Russia. The projects related to the Arctic Ocean – governance, marine oil pollution preparedness and response, acidification, as well as search and rescue – also figure prominently on the agenda. As does the human dimension and various projects under the Sustainable Development Working Group.
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 14:44

Invisible Children

On 25 October, the Association for Greenlandic Children arranged a hearing in the Danish Parliament to draw the Danish politicians’ attention to the problems of a group of Greenlandic children. Representatives from almost all Danish Parties had accepted the invitation together with the two Greenlandic MPs Sara Olsvig (former ICC staff) and Doris Jakobsen, Danish and Greenlandic ministers, and professionals working with vulnerable Greenlanders in Denmark. The well organised, informative, and heart touching hearing seemed to be an eye opener for the Danish politicians. They all agreed that Denmark – due to the post-colonial relation to Greenland - has special obligations to secure Greenlandic children the best prerequisites to have a good life, and they were all willing to give governmental financial support to projects for Greenlandic children in Denmark. There are about 1000 socially vulnerable children of Greenlandic origin living in Denmark. They are living in families where problems with alcohol, violence, poverty, and mental and physical health are part of their daily life. And furthermore they seem to be “invisible” to the Danish social security system, which deprives them of the help they need.
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 10:23

Young researchers awarded

Academicus Arcticus is the name of a new prize for young researchers in recognition of their exceptional ability to communicate complex issues to a broad audience. On Tuesday, November 1, the prize was given to: Liv Mejer Larsen for her work on the cultural history of growing potatoes in Greenland Aviaja Lyberth Hauptmann for her work on the biology of South Greenland stalagmites Marie Lenander Petersen for her work on the Arctic archeology of whale baleen
Thursday, 27 October 2011 14:12

Russian meetings

In 2008, Russia approved its strategy for the Arctic until 2020. The document that was presented to the World highlighted key national interests in the Arctic region and ways to implement them. However, it also very much concerned itself with plans for international cooperation in the Arctic. Accordingly, earlier this year, the Russian Security Council invited representatives of all the Arctic nations to attend a conference on the "Northern Sea Route to Strategic Stability and Equal Partnership in the Arctic". The conference took place onboard the nuclear icebreaker Yamal. In that way, the conference participants got to experience sailing on the Northern Sea Route. In September 21-24, 2011 the Second International Arctic Forum ‘The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue” was held in Arkhangelsk under the auspices of the Russian Geographical Society to discuss issues of maritime and air transport in the Arctic.
Thursday, 27 October 2011 12:07

Expert Monitoring

The rural surroundings of the old estate Sonnerupgaard in the heart of Zealand, Denmark, with their green fields and trees dressed in autumn colours offered the perfect setting for the first workshop of the Terrestrial Expert Monitoring Group (TEMG) under the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP). The terrestrial group is one of four under CBMP, the three other focusing on Coastal, Marine and Fresh Water monitoring, respectively. Scientists and experts from all of the eight Arctic countries gathered in Sonnerupgaards konference facilities in order to develop a common approach to terrestrial monitoring issues. Furthermore, part of the workshop consisted in a joint meeting with two other Arctic research bodies – Interact and IASC – dedicated to identify eventual synergies and gaps within the field of Arctic biodiversity Monitoring.
Wednesday, 26 October 2011 14:02

Human Health in Tórshavn

Food and water security was one of the main subjects when the AMAP Human Health Assessment Group (HHAG) held its 35th meeting in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands, 17-18 October. An important aspect of food and water security is risk communication, e.g. recommendations for Arctic Peoples on what to avoid eating. The HHAG is undertaking a Circumpolar Risk Communication Project. The task is to compile and coordinate risk communication in the circumpolar region. The first year of the project will be focussed on mercury and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and a report is being planed. The objectives of this report is to identify the scientific knowledge base of risk communication, synthesise best practises, outline the evolution of risk communication messages, and to identify future research needs to improve risk communication on mercury and POPs.
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Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat
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