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Arctic in Context, a World Policy Institute initiative directed by Erica Dingman, provides needed context on Arctic issues at a crucial time for the region. This web-based platform uses maps, timelines, videos, narrative, and analysis to provide an independent, comprehensive, and accessible working overview of the Arctic and fill crucial knowledge gaps.
Actions outside the immediate control of the Arctic dramatically shape its past, present, and future. Challenges arising as a result of climate change including governance, biodiversity, security, and commercial development such as shipping and natural resource extraction have far-reaching implications for Arctic indigenous peoples and humanity worldwide. In short, the region’s future depends on a better global understanding of the consequences of decisions made outside of, as well as within, the region.
Inuit, Capitalism, and Colonization: A Foreign Affair
Today, Inuit traditions are disappearing as modernization envelops indigenous communities. Inuit advocate and author Suzie Napayok-Short writes about the history of colonization in the North and the present need to balance economic imperatives and cultural preservation.Read more>
How the Arctic Council Sets the Tone for International Cooperation
Because the Arctic Council lacks legal authority, it is often seen as politically ineffective. Arctic Yearbook managing editor Joël Plouffe interviews Camille Escudé about how the Council has made progress in setting norms that influence the behavior of Arctic states.
Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Decision-Making in the Arctic Council
There are six permanent indigenous organizations with permanent status on the Arctic Council. Arctic Yearbook managing editor Heather Exner-Pirot interviewed Michaela Louise Coote on the participation of indigenous peoples in the Council, the importance of these voices for environmental decision-making, and how the system can be improved.
Cold Storage: Photographing the Abandoned Soviet Town Pyramiden
In 1998, the last coal was extracted from Pyramiden, a Soviet mining town about 800 miles from the North Pole—residents abandoned the town a few months later. Capturing the remnants of a town frozen in time, photojournalist Christopher Michel visited Pyramiden in 2016, an experience "both eerie and wonderful."
Russia's Blindfolded Arctic Policy
The Kremlin's militaristic and geopolitical intentions in the Arctic are under scrutiny by Western commentators and policymakers. But Morgane Fert-Malka argues the jingoistic rhetoric in Russia about the Arctic does not reflect the reality of Russian policymaking processes.
Russia’s Reimagined Arctic
From new gas pipeline ventures to military buildup, Russia is expanding its influence in the Arctic. Heather Exner-Pirot, managing editor of the Arctic Yearbook, spoke with George Soroka, lecturer at Harvard University, about Russia's motivations in the Arctic and how the country's Arctic policy is tied to other economic and geopolitical interests.
What Russian Air Patrols in the Arctic Mean for Canada’s Security & Sovereignty
In the last few years, an increasing number of Russian air patrols have entered the North American Arctic airspace. Joël Plouffe, co-managing editor of the Arctic Yearbook, spoke with Frédéric Lasserre, professor of geography at the Université Laval, about Russia’s remilitarization campaign and what this activity means for Canadian sovereignty and national security.
The Arctic as a Geopolitical Bond Among the EU, Russia, and Norway
Though they disagree on other issues, the EU, Norway, and Russia share common interests in the Arctic. World Policy Journal spoke with political scientist Matthaios Melas about how energy, the environment, and migration create a relationship of cooperation, not conflict, among these three actors.
Is Denmark an Arctic Great Power?
United under the Kingdom of Denmark are the nations of Denmark, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland. World Policy fellow Erica Dingman spoke with Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen, who researches Danish foreign and security policy and Arctic politics, to discuss the evolving role of Greenland in how Denmark is redefining its Arctic interests.
Small Adaptation Miracles in Alaska
Climate-induced changes have dominated discussions of plant and animal migration patterns in the Arctic. In research for a play about migration in Alaska, Chantal Bilodeau came across a poetic lesson: The adaptation of species to new conditions is a survival skill worthy of praise.
Daryana Maximova: Native Yakutian and Researcher
For the latest interview in Arctic in Context's "People of the North" series, Karina Kesserwan speaks with Daryana Maximova, a researcher from Yakutia, Russia, the coldest region in the world. Maximova discusses her homeland and the importance of including indigenous voices in Arctic policymaking.
Russia's Arctic: Soft and Hard Power Go Hand in Hand
To Russians, the Arctic can be seen as a site of economic opportunity and a region that redefines national identity. Morgane Fert-Malka spoke to Alexander Sergunin, professor at St. Petersburg State University, about Russia's unique role in development and diplomacy in the Arctic.
Into the Future: The Confluence of Arctic Warming and Energy Demand
As the globe grows warmer and energy demand rises, Arctic communities are increasingly pursuing opportunities in commercial industries. Erica Dingman highlights the paradoxes of energy development and argues that with cooperation and accountability, the Arctic can serve as a powerful example of a sustainable future.
Imagining the Arctic: Re-Emergence of a Cold War Mentality?
Russia's increased military activity in the Arctic has elicited concern in the U.S. about Cold War-like competition. Supriti Jaya Ghosh warns that this mentality centered on U.S.-Russian conflict overshadows a strong trend of regional collaboration on diplomatic and scientific issues.
Many Arctics: The Aleut International Association and the Arctic Council
The Arctic Council currently has six Permanent Participants, indigenous organizations with full consultative powers but without actual votes. James Gamble, executive director of Aleut International Association, discusses the value of the group's participation in the Council not just for the communities it represents, but also for the Arctic region as a whole.
Tony Penikett: Former Premier of Yukon
Continuing Arctic in Context's "People of the North" series, Jean François Arteau and Karina Kesserwan speak with Tony Penikett, former premier of Yukon. Penikett discusses land claim agreements for First Nations and the evolution of governance systems in the Canadian Arctic.
Borrowed Time: Icelandic Artists Look Forward
Scandinavia House is presenting "Borrowed Time: Icelandic Artists Look Forward," bringing together the works of contemporary artists immersed in the global art movement for environmental preservation. Kristine Jordan examines how pieces from the exhibit broaden conversations of sustainability.
The Arctic Council at 20: The Value of Flexibility
The Arctic Council has received both praise and critique at its 20th anniversary this year. Timo Koivurova and Malgorzata Smieszek reflect on the importance of maintaining the body's flexible response to regional issues, even as its structure is strengthened to address the challenges of the next 20 years.
The Arctic Council: From Achievement to Self-Reflection and Learning
While the Arctic Council has had significant achievements over its 20-year history, its current structure can impede progress when negotiations are contentious. Annika E. Nilsson explains the need to adapt decision-making processes to address issues ranging from climate change to the extractive industry.
WPJ Interactive: Globalizing the Arctic Economy
Since the 16th century, natural resources—both renewable and non-renewable—have drawn explorers and traders to the Arctic in search of commercial opportunities. In an interactive Prezi, Erica Dingman frames the long history of economic activity in the region, from the fur trade to airline travel.
The U.S. Arctic Council Chairmanship: Changes from One Administration to Another?
This January, the U.S. Arctic Council chairmanship will be passed to Donald Trump's secretary of state appointee. David N. Biette argues that while some Arctic residents would welcome efforts to revamp infrastructure and increase oil and gas production, transforming Arctic policy is unlikely to be a high priority for the new administration.
Performing 'Ice Watch'
Policymakers and activists from around the world are convening in Morocco for the 2016 U.N. Climate Change Conference. World Policy Journal spoke with Anna Engberg-Pedersen about a dance performance in Paris at last year's summit and the role of art in addressing the complexities of global warming.
The Arctic: A Region of Regions
When the Arctic Council was established 20 years ago, it prioritized the inclusion of permanent indigenous observers at the negotiating table. Jessica Shadian describes how decisions today are increasingly made by high-level state representatives while subnational groups seek a greater say in regional matters both within and beyond the Arctic Council.
Valentina Sovkina: Sami Politician and Culture Protector from the Kola Peninsula
The latest installment of Arctic in Context's "People of the North" series features Valentina Sovkina, chairperson of the Sami Parliament of the Kola Peninsula and director of Sami Radio. Jean François Arteau and Karina Kesserwan speak with Sovkina about life on the Kola Peninsula in northwestern Russia and safeguarding Sami language and traditions.
Impressions from Canada's Senior Arctic Official
Canada's Arctic policy emphasizes both local knowledge and global partnerships. Six weeks into her new gig as Canada’s Senior Arctic Official, Alison LeClaire discusses engagement with the country's northern communities and collaboration at the Arctic Council and beyond.
Mapping Arctic Networks
Participants at this year’s Arctic Circle Assembly have realized that the region is being increasingly connected to the global economy. Erica Dingman maps out the trade, renewable energy, and transit networks linking the Arctic with markets across the Northern Hemisphere.
Climate Change, Energy Security, and the Arctic Under the Obama Presidency
President Barack Obama has committed in his second term to fight climate change while also embracing expanded domestic fossil fuel extraction. Wilfrid Greaves examines the paradox of Obama's record on environmental and energy security as it relates to the Arctic.
Britain's Arctic Struggle
Once a major power in the Arctic due to its Canadian colonies, Britain's influence in the region is waning. Robert Stevens discusses the need for the U.K. to secure a role in policy discussions through economic and scientific engagement.
Inuuteq Holm Olsen on Denmark
Greenland is expanding its global partnerships and developing its domestic economy. Erica Dingman, director of our Arctic in Context initiative, discusses the island’s goals for its export and tourism industries with Inuuteq Holm Olsen, Greenland’s first representative at the Embassy of Denmark to the United States.
Arctic in Focus, from Ottawa to Oslo
From its headquarters in Oslo, the Canadian International Arctic Centre strives to promote Canada’s Arctic policy around the world. Bob Paquin, head of the CIAC, describes how Norway’s location and private-public partnership model have made the country a hub for the international Arctic agenda.
Beatrice Deer: Inuit Artist and Activist from Quaqtaq
Arctic in Context's "People of the North" series, created in partnership with legal and consulting firm Kesserwan Arteau, features interviews that highlight the Arctic's diversity from the perspective of those who live there. This week, Jean François Arteau and Karina Kesserwan sit down with singer and activist Beatrice Deer to discuss her work developing the arts in Nunavik.
Evaluating the Arctic Council at 20 (Or 27!)
At its 20th anniversary, the Arctic Council represents a significant advancement in regional relations. As Rob Huebert explains, however, security concerns threaten to undermine the cooperative spirit the forum has fostered.
Chinese Prepare to Use the Northwest Passage
Canadian media has reacted to China's plans to use the Northwest Passage with a mix of concern and anger toward this "foreign incursion." Adam Lajeunesse explains how Chinese policies respecting the rights of Arctic nations will in fact bolster Canada's claims to sovereignty in the region.
Visualizing the Arctic Council at 20
The Arctic Council, a forum that brings together the eight Arctic states as well as Arctic Indigenous communities, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Klaus Dodds analyzes a video produced to mark this occasion, noting a lack of acknowledgment of the role of non-state actors in policy deliberations.
Impressions of the Inuvialuit
The people of Canada's Western Arctic, the Inuvialuit, are working hard to maintain their land and traditional ways of life while keeping pace with rapid technological advancements. Paul Shenher reflects on his first trip to the Arctic and how he saw Inuvialuit communities using satellites, fiber optic cables, and infrastructure developments to stay connected.
People of the North: Introduction
“People of the North” is a new interview series developed in partnership with Kesserwan Arteau, a legal and consulting firm that works with Indigenous communities. In this first installment, Jean François Arteau and Karina Kesserwan interview each other about their early experiences in the Arctic.
WPJ Interactive: 'One Arctic' Symposium
In April 2016, Arctic experts and practitioners gathered in Washington, DC for a two-day symposium on the theme of the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, "One Arctic." World Policy Journal's interactive Prezi explores the pressing issues discussed at the conference, from sustainability and the regional economy to including sub-national groups in policymaking decisions.
During the One Arctic symposium hosted in April at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., experts examined the theme of the U.S. chairmanship of the Arctic Council: "One Arctic: Shared Opportunities, Challenges and Responsibilities." World Policy Institute invited attendees to share their thoughts on the discussions at the conference using the hashtag #OneArctic.
Safer Than Cyberspace, At Least
Despite Russia's increasing run-ins in the Baltic Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, and troop build-up close to Finland's border, the Arctic doesn't seem to be a concern for NATO officials. Kevin McGwin discusses the lack of attention paid to the Arctic at the recent NATO summit in Warsaw.
Toward Arctic Futures
In April 2016, WPI's Arctic in Context initiative co-hosted a workshop to explore the U.S. chairmanship of the Arctic Council from the perspective of the "One Arctic" agenda. This video offers insights from four experts who attended the symposium about the challenges facing Arctic residents, and what change in the Arctic means for the rest of the world.
One Arctic, One Health: Arctic Health Challenges in an Era of Rapid Change
As the Arctic continues to warm at twice the global average, addressing growing threats to human and animal health will require a collaborative strategy. Joshua Glasser and Cody Chipp explain the importance of the One Health project for a healthier, safer, and better connected Arctic.
Discovering the Arctic Through its People
The Arctic is difficult to define, covering over 5.6 million square miles and inhabited by peoples from a multitude of cultures. Jean-François Arteau and Karina Kesserwan explain the importance of focusing on the region's people rather than its borders.
Inuit Ilitqusia: Inuit Way of Knowing
The Inuit Way of Knowing, or Inuit Ilitqusia, is the vast body of scientific knowledge accumulated over thousands of years by the Inuit. Rosemarie Kuptana and Suzie Napayok-Short explain the elements of this holistic approach, arguing that only the Inuit themselves can define traditional knowledge.
'One Arctic' or Many?
In April, the United States marked the midpoint of its two-year term as chair of the Arctic Council. Wilfrid Greaves argues that the theme of the current chairmanship—“One Arctic: Shared Opportunities, Challenges, and Responsibilities”—runs the risk of homogenizing the needs and motivations of diverse, multi-dimensional communities and states.
The Imaginary Arctic
Despite evidence to the contrary, most people view the Arctic as a pristine and untouched region, as presented in countless fictional depictions. Ashley Chappo examines problems with the imaginary Arctic, arguing that polar literary fiction has downplayed the reality of the High North as a homeland for indigenous people.
Denmark Engages in Arctic Nation-Bending
Over the past decade, the Arctic has moved to the forefront of Denmark's foreign policy agenda. Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen discuss the political challenges that arise in reframing Danish nationhood to emphasize the role of its autonomous territories, the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
A "One Arctic" Agenda
Last week, World Policy Institute's Arctic in Context initiative co-hosted a conference at the Wilson Center examining the theme of the U.S. chairmanship of the Arctic Council: “One Arctic: Shared Opportunities, Challenges, and Responsibilities.” Ashley Chappo outlines the highlights of the two-day workshop.
WPJ Live: Twitter Chat #OneArctic
From April 27-28, World Policy co-hosted a conference on the Arctic at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. During the conference, World Policy Journal asked a panel of experts to weigh in on the theme of “One Arctic” as it relates to Arctic nations and indigenous people. Read the summary of our live Twitter chat here.
The Arctic After Paris
Representatives of 175 governments convened last week to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Sébastien Duyck explains that further emissions cuts and regional cooperation, particularly among Arctic countries, will be necessary to meet the targets set in Paris.
The Middle of Everywhere
Heritage researcher Alestine Andre has interviewed over 70 elders in the First Nation’s settlement region to record traditional Gwich’in place names. Samia Madwar reports on new efforts by researchers and Arctic communities to preserve the region’s indigenous place names and map the knowledge of aging elders.
As Arctic-themed branding becomes more popular, the misappropriation of words and ideas relating to the High North is becoming more apparent. World Policy Institute's Erica M. Dingman discusses the history of exploitation of native populations in the region, arguing that adopting these terms for commercial purposes is a means of stripping identity.
On the Arctic Road with Peter Kujawinski
In the far reaches of the Canadian north, the government is building an 85-mile highway connecting the country’s Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic coasts. World Policy Journal caught up with Peter Kujawinski, former U.S. diplomat to Canada’s Northwest Territories, to discuss the future of the region.
In Conversation with Inuuteq Holm Olsen
Over the past several years, Greenland has moved toward greater autonomy from Denmark. Erica Dingman caught up with Inuuteq Holm Olsen, the first Greenlandic representative at the Embassy of Denmark to the United States, to discuss Greenland’s developing diplomatic ties with the U.S. and Canada.
The Beauty of Lofoten Arctic Pelago Threatened by the Beast
The seven islands of Lofoten, Norway act like a huge strainer in the Arctic Ocean, collecting the debris and plastics that float in with the tide. Award-winning photographer June Grønseth issues a call to action in a photo essay capturing the arresting juxtaposition between deadly ocean pollution and the natural beauty of the Lofoten Arctic Pelago.
Why is Working With Arctic Scenarios So Hard?
Thinking about the future of the Arctic is difficult given the overlapping histories, geographies, and interests of regional players. Klaus Dodds and Duncan Depledge argue that it is important to continue these discussions in international forums and to include the northern and indigenous communities that will be affected by the decisions.
Deconstructing the Narrative of Arctic War
The predominant narrative of “Arctic War” tells us that Arctic states are on a slippery slope toward military confrontation. Benjamin Schaller argues for skepticism of this conflict narrative, recognizing that a long history of cooperation leaves many unanswered questions for hypothetical unilateral action.
Award-Winning Arctic Photographs
The Global Arctic Awards host a yearly international photography competition highlighting images from the North, which showcase the diversity of Arctic scenery, cultural traditions, and animal life. World Policy Journal presents a selection of winning photographs from 2015.
Our Man in the Red Chamber
Nick Sibbeston once threw a coffee mug at the Northwest Territories Territorial Council chairman to demand greater accountability for Canada's Native population. Tim Edwards caught up with the feisty politician, currently a senator of the Northwest Territories, to talk about the future of his province.
Many conferences addressing Arctic issues, like the recent Arctic Frontiers in Tromsø, Norway, rely too heavily on rhetoric, ultimately failing to bring about much needed change in the region. Ingrid A. Medby calls for a shift from the promises of yesteryear to more concrete action.
Climate Change Theater Action
As policymakers descended on Paris for the U.N. Climate Change Conference, artists around the world staged cultural events. Chantal Bilodeau writes about the International Climate Change Theatre Action, a joint initiative that presented readings and performances in over 25 countries, including four Arctic nations.
The Future of Arctic Science
Climate change has been wreaking havoc on sea bird colonies across the Arctic, as evidenced by a recent murre die-off on the shores of Prince William Sound in Alaska. Edward Struzik calls for international cooperation to respond faster to climate-related changes taking place in the region.
Setting Economic Standards for the Arctic
A new economic frontier has opened in the Arctic, but setting sustainable development goals for foreign investment remains a challenge. Ashley Chappo discusses the newly unveiled Arctic Economic Protocol and how this new standard adds complexities to an already contentious debate about the North.
Alaska's Appetite for Clean Energy
Meeting the energy needs of Alaska's rural communities is difficult, and the state's economic dependence on oil is jeopardizing its finances. Erica Dingman argues that innovation in local renewable energy programs can be duplicated in other parts of the world.
Out of Phase in the Great North: Part II
Alaskan oil exploration continues to draw attention, even as the U.S. government fails to keep pace with its goals for development in the region. Frank Geisel discusses lessons learned in part two of his piece about the 1980s Alaskan oil rush, arguing that the United States' icebreaking capabilities are still inadequate for taking advantage of commercial opportunities.
Out of Phase in the Great North
"Life there smelled like money." As Alaskan oil exploration continues to make headlines today, Frank Geisel recalls the 1980s oil rush, when no venture seemed too ambitious to the flurry of oil companies looking to claim a piece of Alaska's untapped wealth.
Award-Winning Photos from Across the Arctic
The annual Global Arctic Awards feature photographs that showcase the diversity of Arctic scenery, cultural traditions, and animal life. World Policy Journal presents a selection of striking images from last year's award winners.
Food and Country
Despite being one of the most developed democracies in the world, Canada has failed to ensure food security and legal equality for Inuit communities. Terry Audla argues that policymakers must call upon Canada's altruistic and pluralistic traditions to reform the country's food distribution program.
Global Warming Becomes Tangible in "Ice Watch"
While world leaders deliberate at the Paris Climate Conference, 88 tons of Greenlandic glacial ice are melting in a plaza in the heart of the city. World Policy Journal talks with geologist Minik Thorleif Rosing about how an art installation can send a powerful message regarding the high stakes of global warming.
Arctic Exchange in the Digital Age
Greater investment in infrastructure and technical training is necessary to increase access to digital technology in the Arctic, but some worry that this shift in focus will come at the expense of traditional education.
Redefining Dispute: Collaboration in the Arctic
Arctic states regularly engage in disputes over territory and environmental regulation, especially when shipping routes and access to natural resources are at stake. Beth Brown argues, however, that the strong precedent of collaboration and compromise in the region ensures that disagreements are resolved peacefully.
Ice Watch: Paris
The 2015 Paris Climate Conference kicks off on Nov. 30 with the ambitious goal of reaching a legally binding agreement on climate change. Laurel Jarombek previews Olafur Eliasson and Minik Thorleif Rosing's installation piece, Ice Watch, which will provide a dramatic visual representation of global warming's impact as world leaders try to negotiate a deal.
Does the Symbolism Stop Here?
Sealskins remain powerful Arctic symbols, representing solidarity with the rights of the Inuit to hunt seals as a source of livelihood. Reporting from this year's Arctic Circle conference, Kevin McGwin explores evolving understandings of sustainable resource use in the Arctic and the complex politics of wearing a sealskin vest.
Combating Climate Change on the Front Line
Oil and gas production is a major source of pollution, and over 20 percent of the world’s undiscovered reserves are likely located in the Arctic. Laura Strickler argues that limiting emissions of short-lived pollutants could slow the rate of climate change, buying time for the international community to enact more long-term solutions.
Whose Arctic Is It? The Ethics of Arctic Campaigning
Environmentalist groups are heavily engaged in debates about sustainable development in Arctic policy, often prioritizing climate change above all other concerns. Heather Exner-Pirot argues that this focus among activists often disregards the agency of Arctic inhabitants who deserve the opportunity to find their own balance between environmental protection and growth.
Sámi Classes Breathe New Life into Finland's Rarest Languages
Only about 300 native speakers remain of Inari Sámi, one of several indigenous Sámi languages in Northern Europe. Maura Forrest and Lily Haines of Barents Observer report on classes at the Sámi Education Institute, which teach young people in Finland the languages of their ancestors.
Russia’s Military Buildup in the Arctic: Political Rhetoric vs. Reality
Russia's military buildup in the Arctic over the last few years has sparked concern about the potential for conflict in the region. Ekaterina Klimenko argues, however, that the increase in Russia's military activity should be interpreted as the implementation of a largely defensive regional security policy and long-standing military modernization plans.
Shell Abandons Chukchi Oil to Detriment of Alaska's Economy
Royal Dutch Shell announced last week that the company would suspend exploratory drilling in Alaska's Chukchi Sea. World Policy Institute's Erica Dingman argues that both renewable and non-renewable resource development is necessary to support Alaska's oil-dependent economy during the transition toward more sustainable energy practices.
South Korea’s Positioning in the Arctic
Interest in Arctic development is heating up, and countries outside the region’s geographical boundaries are becoming increasingly involved in Arctic affairs. Martin Kossa takes a look at South Korea’s Arctic policy, arguing that the nation is in an ideal position to facilitate cooperation between Asian countries and members of the Arctic Council.
Loss, Damage, and Climate Migration in Alaska
Climate change is posing an immediate threat to subsistence ways of life on the Alaskan coast. Lou Del Bello explores the impacts of changing environmental conditions on the Alaska Native community in Tikigaq, arguing that the global climate change conversation must make space for the voices of the people who are most vulnerable to its effects.
Keeping Climate on the Arctic Agenda
President Obama's historic trip to the Arctic Circle this month drew attention to the urgent dangers of climate change. WPJ's Laurel Jarombek argues that despite the powerful rhetoric, the economic imperatives and rivalries with Russia and China may get in the way of environmentally friendly policies in the U.S.
The Challenges of Living in Rural Greenland
Greenland is a large, sparsely populated country, and the residents of rural settlements often lack many of the opportunities and services available in larger towns or cities. Uiloq Mulvad Jessen argues that despite economic and social pressures on the settlements, these communities will find ways to survive with their rural Greenlandic traditions intact.
Abiding by the 'Polar Code'
In May, the International Maritime Organization finally approved the Polar Code, a new set of rules aimed at reducing pollution from ships in the Arctic and Antarctic. Jim Stotts argues that while tighter restrictions in the Polar Code address some of the biggest Arctic shipping problems, many issues remain unresolved.
The Disease Amidst Us
As development projects in the Arctic accelerate, some are concerned that the potential for profit is clouding the responsible judgement needed for extractive efforts. World Policy Institute's Erica Dingman discusses the environmental paradox in the scramble for Arctic resources.
In the fall of 2014, Nunatsiavut elder Johannes Lampe retraced the footsteps of a group of Labrador Inuit who died in Europe more than 100 years earlier. This is the story of how he brought them home.
Indigenous Television & Presentation of Culture
Located in the Canadian Arctic, IsumaTV works to connect indigenous media networks across the world through an array of online videos. Will Becker examines how IsumaTV excels at capturing the indigenous experience and effectively reaching the communities so often isolated by mainstream media.
Nunavut's Suicide Epidemic
Over the past 20 years, Inuit youth in northern Canada have been committing suicide at an alarmingly high rate. Nikki Wiart argues that more money should be allocated toward connecting these youth to their culture and communities.
Timeline: Militarization in the Arctic
As ice melt in the Arctic opens a new global frontier, Westerly Gorayeb traces political, military, and environmental developments in an interactive timeline. The timeline illustrates the connection between environmental milestones of recent years and increased political and military activity in the region.
The Resource Rich Arctic
Sea ice levels are receding to all-time lows in the Arctic, and the opportunity to exploit regional resources grows even greater, despite the many risks that extraction poses to preserving the already fragile environment. This map identifies six of the resource rich Arctic sub-regions, highlighting oil and gas exploration and development.
Changing Chairs, Changing Choices
With the shift in Arctic Council chairmanships from Canada to the U.S., many have predicted a change in the organization's future policy and focus. Heather Nicol discusses the ways the new U.S. chair will continue the large-scale economic initiatives of its predecessor along with America's stated goals to prioritize regional safety and security.
Plan Nord: A Model for Sustainable Development
On Tuesday, World Policy Institute and the Government of Québec held a private discussion featuring the Premier of Québec, Philippe Couillard. The Premier detailed his most recent initiative, Plan Nord, which seeks to sustainably develop the Québecois region north of the 49th parallel.
The European Union in the Arctic
Despite efforts to increase its influence, the European Union is often excluded from major decision making on matters related to the Arctic. Duncan Depledge discusses the nuances that characterize the EU's relationship with the Arctic and how the Union can play a more effective role in its future.
Having Your Seal and Eating it Too
Inuit communities are petitioning the European Union to reverse its ban on seal products. Kevin McGwin argues that, at the very least, Europeans should refrain from humanizing the animals that indigenous populations depend on for their sustainability and prosperity.
The European Arctic Challenge
Despite the variety of challenges the United States is facing as the new chair of the Arctic Council, Tim Reilly argues that the biggest environmental and economic issues will stem from the European Arctic, where Russia reigns supreme.
America's Two Faced Approach in the Arctic
Though U.S. Secretary of State Kerry recently expressed America's determination to develop clean energy, the Obama Administration has approved an increase in Alaskan offshore drilling. Mia Bennett points out that these contrary moves will only put the region at risk and further deter efforts to reduce U.S. dependence on oil.
The Unraveling of the Arctic
Though global leaders remain optimistic about the future of the Arctic, science paints a much more complex and challenging picture. Megan McGarrity of the Canadian Climate Forum highlights expert testimony on these challenges from its 'Unraveling of the Arctic' event.
The Challenge of Arctic Cooperation
The Arctic is receiving unprecedented attention from across the world, frequently for reasons having little to do with inhabitants or events in the region itself. Victor Larin of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Vladivostok takes a discerning look at the world's growing interest in the Arctic and how it can be channeled for the greatest good.
Containment and Conflation in the Arctic
Since the Ukrainian crisis began, the Arctic has been increasingly used as a stage for larger geopolitical wars principally affecting nations outside the region. Klaus Dodds of the University of London argues that the growing influence of 'near-Arctic' actors and other external forces fundamentally compromises how world leaders view the Arctic.
All Hands on Deck
Last week, the U.S. assumed chairmanship of the Arctic Council, announcing an agenda intended to balance local and global concerns over the impact of climate change. Erica Dingman argues that the U.S. should remain inclusive in efforts to accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources and to decrease the presence of pollutants throughout the region.
Iceland's Arctic Awakening
Human capital is an indispensable asset to prosper in the Arctic's harsh living conditions. Heidar Gudjonsson and Egill Thor Nielsson argue that Iceland, the world’s oldest democracy and the site of the world’s northernmost capital, is an excellent case in point that an modern society with high living standards and infrastructure can be developed in the Arctic.
Hunger in the Arctic
Food insecurity rates in Nunavut are among the highest in the world for an indigenous population. Brian Kingston argues better access to local food will not only decrease hunger but also foster the development of northern communities.
The Future of Shipping & Trade in Arctic Waters
Until recently, international trade and shipping was closed off to the Arctic because of its harsh climatic conditions. Willy Østreng examines the future of shipping and trade in Arctic waters, both in terms of economic and political priorities.
Flight to the Arctic
While tracing the migration of an endangered sandpiper in Northern Canada, environmental writer Deborah Cramer comes face-to-face with the extremes of life in the Arctic and the visible effects of climate change.
Russia's Ambitions in the Arctic
Even though one third of Russia lies within the Arctic Circle, the country is looking to expand its territory since the region is replete with natural resources made more accessible by melting ice caps. Sophie des Beauvais summarizes recent changes in Russia's Arctic policy and assesses the implications of growing militarization in the region.
Artist Diane Burko is curious about how ice is an indicator of climate change. Last year, she had the opportunity to fly over the Ilulissat glacier in Greenland to study this phenomenon up close. Burko shares photography and artwork inspired by the trip today.
The Future of Fishing in the Central Arctic
As Arctic sea ice continues to retreat, the world is no longer looking solely at the oil and gas that may lie in the region. Increasingly, it’s the future of fisheries that is taking center stage in the geopolitical discussions. Edward Struzik reports from Shanghai on a recent Arctic roundtable.
Harnessing Culture to Address Arctic Issues
Canadian playwright Chantal Bilodeau recently returned from a trip to Tromsø in the Norwegian Arctic, where she spent five days working on her new play "Forward." In her latest blog, Bilodeau examines how art can play a role in responding to the threat of climate change.
The Transformation of the Arctic
Once a region distinctly isolated from the rest of the world, the Arctic is now facing an impending transformation of epic proportions. Rob Huebert of the University of Calgary argues that before this transition can be considered complete, Arctic nations will be forced to address not one but several global trends, from increased fuel demands to climate change.
The Road to the U.S. Arctic Chairmanship
The United States is poised to assume the chairmanship of the Arctic Council this coming April. Heather Exner-Pirot examines the challenges facing U.S. leadership and suggests ways the Council can find a balance between curbing climate change and sustaining economic growth in the region.
The Universal Unimak Pass
How many Americans realize that one of their country’s most pristine maritime areas is threatened by the unregulated passage of more than 5,000 ships each year? In an excerpt from his new book on international law in the Arctic, Michael Byers explains why the Unimak Pass in Alaska could be the site of an impending environmental disaster.
The Price of a Resource Economy
It is often said that resource extraction is the “cornerstone“ of northern Canadian economies and the only way northerners can make a decent living. Shauna Morgan argues we need more research comparing economic benefits from resource extraction to the actual costs of public subsidies and environmental liabilities.
Inuit Women in Canada: No More Stolen Sisters
Calls for a wider public inquiry into the high rate of missing and murdered Native and especially Inuit women have been raging in Canada. Sophie des Beauvais argues this tragedy will not stop until the government decides to finally support its native populations.
Rivals in the Arctic
Though foreign relations in the Arctic move glacially, diplomatic ties between Russia and Canada have consistently remained strong. Canadian researcher Joël Plouffe argues, however, that Russia’s recent ambitions in the Arctic have led Canada to shift its allegiance toward the United States, risking its historically healthy ties with Russia.
The Arctic: An Emerging "Hot Topic"
There is growing interest in Arctic issues, and from far beyond Arctic states. Dorothea Wehrmann argues that the inclusion of an array of people and ideas is necessary to properly address the problems facing the Arctic region.
Arctic Observers: Shaping Regional Interests
Last May, the Arctic Council granted Observer status to six new nations, including China, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. Sophie des Beauvais examines the recent interest in the region and the role non-Arctic nations may play in shaping its future.
Interview With Canada's MP Dennis Bevington
Canada’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council will end in May 2015. Erica Dingman interviewed Dennis Bevington, a member of Canadian Parliament representing the Northwest Territories (NWT), about the role Canada played during its chairmanship and the challenges the U.S. will face when it assumes control.
The Arctic Trading Zone
Despite its enormous size, the Russian Far East often falls under the radar. Mia Bennett assesses the importance of this resource-rich region lying in between East Asia and the Arctic, situating this most distant reach of Siberia within regional and global economic networks.
Arctic's Hot Issues
A number of events have shaped the future of the Arctic. Climate change has triggered renewed international attention for Arctic issues. Eleonora Milazzo argues that even if state and non-state actors are looking at the Arctic with renewed interest, the true nature of the race to the Arctic remains unexplored.
A Playwright's Journey to the Canadian Arctic
Despite its vibrant culture, Nunavut, in the Canadian Arctic, is struggling both economically and socially. Chantal Bilodeau's most recent theatrical production deals with the intersection of race, class, and climate change within this indigenous population's community.
Arctic Issues Top World Policy Agenda
On October 31, World Policy Institute and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung held a private luncheon and discussion featuring former Vice President Al Gore. It marked the launch of the Arctic Deeply Roundtables, which seek to build a sustained conversation on the Arctic, the global issue that needs it now more than ever.
Portrait of an Arctic Renaissance Man
Marco Tedesco envisions a scientific narrative that far surpasses the confines of conferences. As a scientist who studies the Greenland ice sheet, his annual trek to the region informs his research and teaching. Erica Dingman examines how Tedesco recently brought together science and art, creating a multi-sensory website to contextualize Arctic issues.
A Visual Arctic Introduction
The Arctic Climate Change Emerging Leader Program is a summer fellowship at the nexus between communication and policy for students and young professionals in North America and Europe. Over the course of the summer, two ACCEL Fellows produced the "Arctic 101" series, providing critical context on an often neglected region.
Canada: the Global Middle Man
Canada has a vital interest in securing a workable relationship with Russia. Zach Paikin argues that an amicable Russo-Canadian state of affairs is essential to advance multilateral cooperation in the Arctic, and a peaceful Arctic would remove one potential source of confrontation between the world’s major powers.
Climate March Pushes Arctic Agenda
On September 21, an estimated 400,000 people participated in the People’s Climate Change March, a movement designed to raise environmental awareness. Libby Leyden-Sussler explains how Greenpeace, a critical march participant, focused the agenda on icy issues in the Arctic.
Arctic Council Permanent Participants: Debategraph
The Arctic's indigenous peoples are highly vulnerable to ecological change. To provide a broader understanding of this issue, Erica Dingman presents a cloud-based platform, known as Debategraph, which delves into the complexity of policymaking in the region.
The Price of "Discovering” the Arctic - Part II
Large-scale tourism in the Arctic region threatens its environmental durability, cultural legacy, and even economic sustainability. In Part II of our series, Gianna De Filippis argues that this kind of tourism demands an immediate and substantive international plan of action.
The Price of "Discovering" the Arctic - Part I
Large-scale tourism in the Arctic region threatens its environmental durability, cultural legacy, and even economic sustainability. Gianna De Filippis argues that this kind of tourism demands immediate evaluation and an international plan of action.
Diane Burko: Vizualizing Arctic Transitions
In 2006, Diane Burko, a visual artist, developed an interest in the veracity of climate change. Erica Dingman examines how Burko employs her artistic talents to raise awareness about the ongoing environmental changes in the Polar Region.
Logbook: Expedition to the North Pole
In 2011, Brazilian artist Marcelo Moscheta participated in the Arctic Circle expedition in the international territory of Svalbard. His resulting installations and journal entries offer an inside look at the Arctic's remote terrain.
Climate Change in the Arctic: A Call for Action
Extreme weather in the Arctic suggests that rising temperatures and changes in ocean circulation may be accelerating much more quickly than scientists anticipated. Edward Struzik explains the Arctic's plight and explains the importance of collaborative political initiatives to minimize future damage.
Five Arctic Myths Debunked
The Arctic is a region increasingly important in political, economic, and environmental discourse. And yet, it is also the subject of much misinformation. The World Economic Forum takes five of the most common myths about the Arctic and sets the record straight.
Whaling: A War of Values
Japan has expressed interest in restarting its whaling enterprise in the Antarctic, subsequently putting the issue of whale hunting back on the international radar. Notably, Arctic whalers are left out of out of the global conversation. Cleo Abramian explores the complexities surrounding the whaling debate.
Security in the Arctic: Time for Dialogue
The tense political situation between Russia and Ukraine is starting to impact areas beyond Eastern Europe. Thordur Aegir Oskarsson, the Ambassador of Iceland to Canada, argues that the crisis could threaten cooperation between members of the Arctic Council.
Magnetic North: Artists and the Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle, a nonprofit expeditionary residency program, has just unveiled its latest showcase, revealing the intricate and natural wonders of the region. Libby Leyden-Sussler dissects the complex social and political messages featured at the exhibition.
Eyes on the Arctic: The U.S.'s Pivot North
Alaska is rarely the focal point of American foreign policy, but with the U.S. poised to lead the Arctic Council in 2015, Washington has renewed its interest in the region. Erica Dingman discusses the U.S.'s growing strategic interests in the Arctic.
Canada's Arctic Council Protest: Ripple Effect?
Frosty Relations: Militarizing The Arctic
As the ice covering the Arctic melts, world leaders are realizing the rich potential the region holds. Questions of ownership reveal that the Arctic is now one of the world's largest theater for military operations. An in-depth graphic by Monocle Magazine examines the military forces at play.
Today, international media coverage of Arctic issues often implies stakeholder nations are on the brink of conflict. Erica Dingman argues this political rhetoric overshadows cooperation and peace efforts, and threatens to damage future Arctic relations.
An Interactive Series: Arctic in Context's Debut Part III
In the final Arctic in Context timeline, World Policy delves into the era that brought the Arctic nations together in exploring the critical landmass. From the 1970s to present day, this timeline highlights the steps taken toward addressing the critical issues facing the region.
An Interactive Series: Arctic in Context's Debut Part II
Arctic in Context, a World Policy Institute online initiative directed by Erica Dingman, provides needed context on Arctic issues at a crucial time for the region. In debuting this new initiative, World Policy presents Part II of an interactive timeline series documenting the rich history of the Arctic region.
An Interactive Series: Arctic in Context's Debut
Arctic in Context, a World Policy Institute online initiative directed by Erica Dingman, provides needed context on Arctic issues at a crucial time for the region. In debuting this new initiative, World Policy presents an interactive timeline documenting the rich history of the Arctic region.
Logo created by Meehyun Nam-Thompson and John Pollock
The Millennium Project:
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Find complete coverage of the One Arctic symposium, held at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., co-hosted by Trent University, the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, and the World Policy Institute’s Arctic in Context initiative, with support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.