Arctic News Roundup: 14-20 February

Tromsø Ferry Terminal [Photo by Marc Lanteigne]

by Mingming Shi

1) The Globe and Mail, a Canada-based news service, featured a conversation with Eliza Reid, forsetafrú* of Iceland, on gender equality in the country, and her latest book Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland’s Extraordinary Women and How They Are Changing the World. She conveyed her views on the achievements of gender equality in Iceland, as well the struggles of some women in the country, especially those with foreign backgrounds.

2) Alaska Public Media posted a video interview with Jenny Tse, the owner and founder of a tea company in Alaska, who grow tea in a green house utilising local geothermal energy. She also discussed how her tea business has been connecting her family as immigrants.

3) According to a CNBC news report, the ongoing melting of Arctic Ocean ice combines both potential opportunities for the far north, including for the maritime shipping sector, but also unpredictable transit conditions and threats to regional Arctic communities. 

4) The Arctic Mayors’ Forum is advertising for the position of Secretary-General for the organization. Please refer to this link, via Sermitsiaq, for further information.

5) As tensions continue to build on the Russia-Ukraine border, Reuters reported on Russian naval drills in the Barents Sea, close to Norwegian waters. The Barents Observer added that Moscow had issued a ‘NOTAM’ (Notice to Airmen), warning civilian aircraft to stay out of an area where Russian missiles were to be tested, with the ‘no-go’ area extending into Norway’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the north.

6) Also on the subject of Ukraine, The Economist discussed the Cold War concept of ‘Finlandisation’ as a possible option for addressing Kyiv’s delicate balance between the West and Russia. During the Soviet era, Finland developed a foreign policy whereby it agreed not to join NATO or other Western European organisations, and often defer to the USSR, while also being excluded from the Warsaw Pact. However, the piece noted that this form of neutrality may not be viable for Ukraine given the current security situation.

* In Iceland, the spouse of a male President is called forsetafrú, an equivalent to “first lady” in English. Forsetafrú is a compound word, of which, forseta is a declension / noun variation of forseti (president), and frú means wife or woman.