Arctic News Roundup: 3-9 February

[Photo by Marc Lanteigne]
by Mingming Shi

1) The Sámi National Day was celebrated during this week, on February 6th. The Sámi people are one of the Indigenous groups living in the Arctic regions, primarily in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Even though the first such observance took place in 1993, the origin of the date can be traced back to 1917, when the first Sámi congress took place in Trondheim, Norway.

2) According to the Icelandic news service RÚV, the previously planned first direct flights between Iceland and China, which were supposed to debut in late March 2020, however, has been postponed to late April due to the coronavirus outbreak.

3) An article on the food culture in Northern Siberia, Russia, was published in the New York Times during this week. Anton Troianovski, the author, tells stories of Indigenous inhabitants in this Arctic region of the country, mainly fishers and reindeer herders, and their local harvest foods, such as seafood and reindeer meat.

4) RÚV reports that the cross-country flooding around Iceland has caused road damage in many areas of the island. In addition, farms and summer cottages of local citizens have also been damaged to different degrees. The incident was believed to be exacerbated by heavy rains and rising temperatures.

5) The chief editor of Over the Circle, Marc Lanteigne, provided a comment on the political and legal situation in Svalbard in the wake of the recent dispute over this Arctic archipelago between Russia and Norway. Svalbard is located in the high north region, whose sovereignty is guaranteed to Norway by the Svalbard Treaty in 1920. However, the rights of other signatory states to engage in scientific and or economic activities on these islands are also acknowledged by the treaty. In addition to the expanding concerns over the effects of climate change on the region, non-Arctic countries, such as Russia, are also interested in the islands’ commercial value, including fishing.

6) Sermitsiaq reports that the economy of Greenland is estimated to be promising, according to the country’s Economic Council ( ‘Aningaasaqarnermut Siunnersuisoqatigiit’ in Greenlandic; ‘Økonomisk Råd’ in Danish). The Council also noted that the public health crisis caused by the coronavirus which may be a factor which affects future economic relations between Greenland and China.