Arctic News Roundup: 20-26 April

[Photo by Marc Lanteigne]
by Mingming Shi

1) At the beginning of the week, Carla Sands, the US Ambassador to Denmark, published a comment in the Danish news service Altinget, arguing that the West should be more aware of Russia and China in the Arctic region, and the US had intended to strengthen its financial presence in Greenland. A few days later, in the same week, the Government of Greenland posted an update about the welcoming of Washington’s announcement of an investment package worth US$12.1 million on the island. Marc Lanteigne, chief editor of Over the Circle and Mikkel Schøler, CEO of the consulting firm Sikki, co-wrote an analysis on this matter.

2) Given the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak globally, including in Iceland, Icelandic tourism has been severely struck. Jón Þór Þorvaldsson, the head of the Icelandic Airline Pilots Association (Félags íslenksra atvinnuflugmanna in Icelandic) anticipated around ninety percent of the employees with Icelandair, the major airline of the country, would be laid off before the end of the month, according to RÚV.

3) Marc Lanteigne also provided comments on the future of the energy economy in the Arctic. Due to the unexpected outbreak and transmission of COVID-19, regional approaches to energy consumption may change due to fallen fossil fuel prices.

4) This Saturday was the Great Icelandic Litter Picking Day (Stóri plokkdagurinn in Icelandic). As reported in RÚV, the occasion is aimed to encourage citizens to clean and collect outdoors trash and enhance awareness of environmental protection. This year, the President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, and his wife Eliza Reid, also participated. The event this year appeared to be a big success, according to the organisers, since the current pandemic has increased cohesion in society, and people wished to convey their gratitude to the country’s healthcare workers.

5) The Canada-based news service CBC revealed a story of Iain Leishman and his now-famous elk meat burger. Leishman is a hunter living in the Northwest Territories, and though the elk was not his trophy, (it was a gift from one of his friends), the recipe was his.

6) As High North News reported, Heidar Gudjonsson, the Chair of the Arctic Economic Council (AEC), shared his comments on the future of the Arctic economy. He believes that international cooperation within the region is critically important. However, partially considering the limited diversity of exports of the Arctic, the region may be more vulnerable than other parts of the world to the current global health situation and resulting financial slowdown.