Arctic News Roundup: 6-12 September

[Photo by Marc Lanteigne]

by Mingming Shi

1) A paper was published, entitled Arctic Indigenous People, co-produced by the German Arctic Office and the Saami Council. This publication describes Indigenous ways of living, including fishing, hunting and herding, as well as how Indigenous groups have utilised their knowledge for generations in societal and cultural development and within local ecosystems.

2) As the Barents Observer reported, Russia and Belarus, with governments which have become closer since post-election protests in the latter country last year, announced that they would soon conduct a joint naval exercise in the Barents Sea. Some vessels working in high-valued fishing grounds in the area faced pressures about financial losses due to the closure of these waters in the coming days, further complicated by the very short notice from Moscow. 

3) The Barents Observer also covered efforts by the Russian energy firm Novatek to obtain natural gas exploration licenses in Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula, including in the regions of Arkticheskoye and Neytinskoye, which are located in the Yamalsky (Ямальский) nature reserve. Novatek has developed extensive fossil fuel operations in the Russian Arctic, with the most prominent being the Yamal Liquified Nature Gas (LNG) project.

4) The Canadian news site Eye on the Arctic described the results of research detailed in the journal Ecology Letters which warned that climate change and ice losses in the Arctic would permanently alter food sources for marine predators, such as local seal species, in the region.

5) In an opinion piece published by the online journal Polar Connection, Kamrul Hossain, a Research Professor at Finland’s University of Lapland, wrote about the merits of observer status for Bangladesh in the Arctic Council. The author argued that Bangladesh should seek this position in the organisation for numerous reasons, inspire of the country’s location in South Asian, distant from the Arctic. First, rising sea levels and increasing frequency of natural disasters, attributed to climate change, are a great concern for the country, given its low elevation. In addition, the author suggested, the participation of Bangladesh in Arctic affairs via the Council could also contribute to further understanding of the connections of the far north and other parts of the world.

6) This year’s Arctic Circle Assembly was opened for registration. It is an annual event specially focusing on Arctic affairs, with the main venue in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. The 2020 conference was canceled due to the pandemic, and over the past year the organization has held a series on online events. The conference this year will take place on the 14th to 17th of October.

7) The UArctic network celebrated its twentieth birthday this week in Rovaniemi, Finland. The University of the Arctic (UArctic) is a forum for universities, academic institutes and other relevant organisations connecting both the High North and many other parts of the world for joint research in Arctic affairs.

8) A recent report, entitled ‘Risk Assessment of Sisimiut and Kangerlussuaq Road Project’ was published by both the Government of Greenland in cooperation with Oxford Global Projects. The document argues that local tourism would benefit considerably should the 170 km long roadway be completed.