Arctic News Roundup: 20-26 September

Autumn in Reykjavík [Photo by Mingming Shi]

by Mingming Shi

1) In an interview with RÚV, Oddur Sigurðsson, a geologist, expressed his concerns over the future of glaciers in Iceland, which might disappear completely in the next two centuries. He also called for further steps to be taken to record the history of the country’s glaciers.

2) As RÚV also reported, Icelanders voted for the country’s next parliament on the 25 September. According to the initial results, the three parties (the Independence Party, the Progressive Party and the Left Greens), which form the current government coalition attained 38 seats out of a total of 63 in the Alþingi, which suggested that the current configuration will be able to stay in office.

3) The Barents Observer wrote that Norway would be lifting its COVID-19 restrictions, including removing the public one-meter social distancing rule. This announcement has been viewed as a huge step back to normal life for the country.

4) According to Sermitsiaq, a local Greenlandic news service, four Ph.D. degrees were awarded this week at the University of Greenland (Ilisimatusarfik) on Greenland related topics. In addition, an honorary doctorate was awarded to Aqqaluk Lynge, the founder of the political party Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) and a former chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, for his decades of fighting for the rights of Indigenous persons.

5) A Joint Declaration between the Governments of Greenland and Iceland was virtually signed on 23 September. The agreement [pdf file here] calls for increased economic cooperation between Nuuk and Reykjavík, as well as a feasibility study of a potential bilateral free trade agreement. The governments also agreed to examine ways of developing regional tourism opportunities as the global economy recovers from the pandemic.