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Thursday, 31 January 2013 13:07

Arctic Frontiers 2013 - A Changing Arctic

This year’s Arctic Frontiers had the title ”Geopolitics and Marine Production in a Changing Arctic”. I will here give a rough summary on some of the key themes in the policy section of the conference, which were very comprehensive.
Monday, 28 January 2013 13:58

Tungus Conference in Paris

As one year seques into the next, many of us are making plans and resolutions for 2013 and it is not too much of a surprise that many of us want to learn more and meet new people. On January 11-13th in Paris, France the laboratory of the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ)-European Centre for the Arctic brought together more than 20 worldwide experts in anthropology of Tungus (mainly Evenk and Even) peoples of Russia and China.
Thursday, 24 January 2013 10:15

Extraordinary RAIPON Congress today

Its work and status as a public organization being suspended since November 1, RAIPON today is convening delegates of its 49 regional member organizations for an extraordinary Congress in Moscow. One item only is on the agenda: to amend the organization’s Charter in such a way that it will convince the Ministry of Justice the Charter complies with Russian legislation.
Three Arctic countries ministers will meet in Tromsoe, Norway, today to officially open the new Arctic Council Secretariat: Norwegian and Swedish Foreign Affairs Ministers Espen Barth Eide and Carl Bildt, respectively, and Leona Aglukkaq who is Canadian Minister of Health and newly appointed Minister of the Arctic Council. The Tromsoe visit marks the culmination of Ms. Aglukkaq’s tour of the Nordic countries initiated last week with her visit to Iceland on Tuesday, followed by visits to Denmark, Finland and Sweden. Ms. Aglukkaq is introducing herself as the head of the incoming Canadian Chairmanship and outlining the policy that Canada will strive to implement during its 2 year-term.
Friday, 18 January 2013 09:59

Are we ready to drill in the Arctic?

That’s the question you got to ask yourself, after yet another mishap in Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s attempt to drill on Alaska’s Arctic coast. The drill ship Kulluk (i.e., "Thunder" in Inuktitut) broke free of a towboat in a storm Dec. 31 on it’s way to maintenance. The Kulluk drifted away and grounded on the Sitkalidak Island, 97 kilometres away. The Kulluk contains approximately 139,000 gallons of ultra-low sulphur diesel and 12,000 gallons of combined lube oil and hydraulic fluids. Fortunately, there were no ecological consequences as the Kulluk kept tight and didn’t leak. But what if we hadn’t been so lucky?
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 12:01

Greenland raises whaling quotas

The Greenland Government has decided to raise its whaling quota by 10 animals this year. The unilateral decision squarely opposes a vote taken during the 64th yearly meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in July 2012. The proposal of Greenland to increase its catch limit was rejected by the commission with 34 votes to 25. All European country members of the commission except Denmark voted against whereas the United States voted for.
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 17:11

In Canada First Nation unrest Continues

As demanded by hunger-striking Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat, both Canadian Prime Minister Kenneth Harper and Governor General David Johnston ended up meeting with First Nation leaders last Friday, 11 January, albeit not in the same meeting, and not with all First Nation leaders attending either of the meetings. As a consequence of these disparities, Chief Spence announced that she would continue her hunger strike until the Prime Minister, the GG, and First Nation Chiefs can all agree to meet in one, big meeting. Her demand was supported Chiefs from Manitoba and Ontario. Among them, Grand Chief Gordon Peters said they prepared to block roads and rail lines tomorrow, Wednesday 16 January, unless their demands are being heard.
As the Idle No More movement continued it’s demonstrations and blockades, and Chief Theresa Spence had continued her hunger strike, that had lasted for 24 days, Prime Minister Stephen Harper agreed to a working meeting on January 11. But this does not seem to stop the protests. Ms. Spence who began her hunger strike with a demand for a meeting among herself, native leaders, Mr. Harper and the Governor-General as a condition for ending her fast, now says she will continue until the meeting produce concrete action and a promise of additional meetings.
Thursday, 03 January 2013 13:28

Idle No More

As Canada prepares to take over – by mid-May - the chairmanship of the Arctic Council with a program focused on resource developments, the Canadian Government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper is being met with a series of protests from aboriginal leaders. The Idle No More movement, as the protest movement has been named, sprang up in November 2012 in response to the omnibus Bill C-45 presented by the Harper government. According to the protesters, the way the bill was presented and passed as well as what it says concerning the management of waterways fail to measure up to standards for democratic due process, in general, and for respecting the rights of indigenous peoples to consultation and prior informed consent, in particular. The Idle No More movement accuses Harper’s government of failing to acknowledge aboriginal peoples’ right to benefit fully from resource development, and leaving aboriginal leaders out of discussions on how to develop the country’s natural resources.
Sunday, 23 December 2012 21:58

Going circumpolar

Resources and Sustainable Developments in the Arctic (ReSDA) is the name of a Canadian project aimed at helping Northern communities get more out of their natural resources. The project coordinators point to historical precedents like the Klondyke gold rush in the 1890’s. The sudden influx of some 100,000 people had devastating impacts on the indigenous population in the Yukon areas as had the Arctic whaling industry in the beginning of the 20th century. The ReSDA coordinators could also point to current or impending scrambles for oil, gas and minerals in almost every part of the Arctic region, in Greenland, Alaska, Arctic Russia, and Scandinavia. Everywhere there’s a need for finding ways to ensure that more benefits of resource development stay in the local communities.
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Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat
Fram Centre, Postboks 6606 Langnes, NO-9296 Tromsø, Norway