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August 27, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate have adjourned for the August recess.


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-27, 2012. The summit will be hosted by Alaska Dispatch and will bring together leading voices in this conversation, including residents from the small villages that comprise Alaska's coastal communities, state, national and international leaders, the heads of shipping and industry, as well as international policymakers and the news media. The goal of the summit is to sharpen the focus on the policy and investment needs of Alaska's Arctic through a series of high level meetings, presentations, investor roundtables and original research. 



budgetLawmakers Likely to Resist Special Provisions in Continuing Resolution. Congressional leaders and top appropriators appear intent on ignoring a clamor of demands for special items to be added to a bill meant to keep the government running for six months. A fiscal 2013 continuing resolution is one of the very few items that Congress must address in September before the recess ahead of the November elections - and one most likely to get through both chambers. The measure is intended to do little more than keep the federal government running at roughly its current funding level, pushing off bigger decisions about the direction of spending and programs until next year, when a new Congress will cope with them under what could be a new presidential administration. Congressional Quarterly


Snow DragonBreaking the Ice: China's Emerging Arctic Strategy. Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper has just completed his seventh annual foray to the Arctic. The PM's annual northern tours have traditionally focused on a combination of announcements affecting economic development, environmental protection, and defense readiness. The ever-shrinking ice cap is bringing new challenges to Canadian policy makers, particularly with regard to the navigability of the North-West passage, the fabled historic trade route from Europe to China on which so many hopes have foundered, and over access to offshore resources. The U.S. has long-claimed that the waters of the North-West passage constitute an international strait while Canada contends that they are internal waters. Now the issue of access to Canada's Arctic waters will take on an added dimension with China's newly expressed interest in the north. The most recent manifestation of this new Chinese strategic interest is the current voyage of the world's largest icebreaker, the Xuelong to Iceland. The Xuelong left Qingdao July 2 for the 17,000 km voyage through the so-called "north-east" route along the coast of Russia. This follows on earlier Chinese interest in Arctic research going back to the 1990s. The Diplomat 


[Canadian] Aboriginals Urge PM to Balance Priorities. The government's push for "one project, one review" when it comes to major projects will be coming to the North, says Prime Minister Stephen Harper, further pushing his belief that the Arctic's natural resources will propel Canada's future economic hopes. Local aboriginals told Harper that development has to be balanced with environmental concerns - concerns that have followed the "one project, one review" principle brought in earlier this summer. That balancing act comes after the mining industry lobbied the federal government to relax strict environmental rules for disposing of water filled with chemicals such as arsenic, according to documents released to Postmedia News. First Perspective 


PutinRussia's Unique Economic Position in the Arctic. Compared to any other Arctic country, Russia has made remarkable achievements in the Arctic. It has succeeded in creating a powerful industrial and social infrastructure in the harsh conditions of the Arctic. Undoubtedly, this gives Russia a clear edge over competitors in further development of the Arctic resources. In what is seen as a unique setting, Russia has built whole industrial cities behind the Arctic Circle along with vast industrial zones comparable to such industrial areas as Ruhr, Wales and Silesia. At present, the Russian part of the Arctic incorporates 46 cities and villages and is home to more than 5,000 residents. Four cities - Murmansk, Norilsk, Novy Urengoy, and Noyabrsk - are populated by more than 100,000 people and have the world's largest iron and steel plants, coal mines, mining and processing facilities, oil and gas production plants, pipelines, and nuclear power plants (the Kola and Bilibino NPPs). The Russian Northern Fleet has its operational zone in the Arctic and Russia's major defense industry facilities are concentrated in the Arctic Region as well. The Voice of Russia 


Tourism in Nunavut Enjoys Rise in 2012, "It's critical that companies take advantage." Nunavut's tourism industry enjoyed a boom this year, an Iqaluit hotel manager said last week. Sanjay Uppal, operations manager of the Capital Suites chain, which manages the Hotel Arctic and Navigator Inn, is responsible for five hotels in the North. And business at these hotels has never been better: compared to last year, he's seen double the number of pure tourists. "We've seen people from the States, Germany, southern Ontario. We've seen Swiss, Aussies - over last summer there's definitely been an increase," Uppal said. Nunatsiaq Online


arcticcouncilInuit Groups Praise Arctic Council Appointment. Leona Aglukkaq's appointment to chair the Arctic Council is being welcomed by many Inuit organizations. Aglukkaq, the federal health minister and M-P for Nunavut, will take on the role when Canada assumes leadership of the Arctic Council next year. Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the appointment during his Arctic tour at a stop in Cambridge Bay. The Arctic Council, which is currently led by Sweden, consists of eight Arctic states with six international organizations representing aboriginal peoples. CBC News 


Shell Asks for Arctic Drilling Extension. Royal Dutch Shell is pressing the Interior Department to extend a September deadline to complete planned drilling in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northern coast, according to the Los Angeles Times. Peter Slaiby, the vice president of Shell's Alaskan operation, said Sunday that the firm asked the Interior Department for an extension of a little less than two weeks to drill in the Chukchi Sea. Shell has dealt with equipment delays that have pushed it close to its Sept. 24 cutoff date, and the firm has yet to obtain its final federal permits. Slaiby said Shell's Arctic Challenger ship will have all the necessary equipment and certifications by the end of the week, giving it about two weeks in the Chukchi Sea. The Hill 


Life in the Arctic: Where old ways and new collide. In the heart of Canada's North, Cambridge Bay is a community caught at a crossroads. Both an economic hub and a bedroom community for the region's active resource sector, the tiny Arctic hamlet is also home to a people steeped in a culture centuries old. Their language and traditions rooted in a nomadic past that some locals fear is giving way to the modern conveniences offered by life in town. Situated roughly in the middle of the Northwest Passage on Victoria Island, Cambridge Bay is a go-to stop for Arctic-faring sea traffic and a central staging area for researchers taking advantage of a short summer weather window. "We really only have a couple months to work up here", says Matt Debicki, the person in charge of logistics on the Martin Bergmann, a research ship taking part in the search for explorer Sir John Franklin's lost ships. CBC News 


arctic shippingThe Arctic Region as a Key Global Transportation Hub of the Future. Russia's geographical position naturally defines its special role as a connecting bridge between the countries of Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Short and economically viable transportation arteries that Russia can offer have drawn attention of shippers and carriers throughout the world. In turn, the Russian leaders have viewed the development of transport infrastructure as a potential source of significant revenues, comparable to mineral export revenues. At present, international freight transit through Russia is less than 1% of commodity turnover between the European and the Asian countries. The country uses a mere 5 to 7% of its transit capabilities. The Arctic region has a special significance for realization of Russia's potential in the transportation area. It has good opportunities for becoming one of the world's key transportation hub. First and foremost that's because the Northern Sea Route (NSR) passes through the Arctic seas and the section of the Arctic Ocean within Russia's exclusive economic zone. It's Russia's main seaway within the polar region which serves the Arctic ports and Siberia's major rivers. This Northern Sea Route is the shortest passage between Europe and Asia. Voice of Russia 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal action was taken on Arctic legislation.

Future Events    


10th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, September 5-7, 2012. The 10th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region will take place in Akureyri, Iceland 5-7 September 2012. The conference will be attended by members of parliament from the eight Arctic countries and the European Parliament, Arctic indigenous peoples and a variety of observers. The main items on the agenda are:


1.  Arctic Governance and the Arctic Council

2.  Economic opportunities in the Arctic

3.  Human Development in the Arctic: Interplay of Research, Authorities and Residents


The Conference will adopt a statement directed to the Arctic Council, the governments in the Arctic Region and the institutions of the European Union.  


Fifth Polar Law Symposium 2012, September 6-8, 2012. The theme for the symposium is quite open. It covers a wide variety of topics relating to the Arctic and the Antarctic. These include:

  • Human rights issues, such as autonomy and self-government vs. self-determination, the rights of indigenous peoples to land and natural resources and cultural rights and cultural heritage, indigenous traditional knowledge.  
  • Local and national governance issues.
  • Environmental law, climate change, security and environment implications of climate change, protected areas and species.
  • Regulatory, governance and management agreements and arrangements for marine environments, marine mammals, fisheries conservation and other biological/mineral/oil resources.
  • Law of the sea, the retreating sea ice, continental shelf claims.
  • Territorial claims and border disputes on both land and at sea.
  • Peace and security, dispute settlement.
  • Jurisdictional and other issues re the exploration, exploitation and shipping of oil, gas and minerals, bioprospecting.
  • Trade law, potential shipping lines through the north-west and north-east passages, maritime law and transportation law.
  • The roles and actual involvement of international organizations in the Polar regions, such as the Arctic Council, the European Union, the International Whaling Commission, the

For more information, please see the Arctic Center


inuitconferencelogoArctic/Inuit/Connections: Learning from the Top of the World; October 24-28, 2012.  The 18th Inuit Studies Conference, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, will be held in Washington, DC. The conference will consider heritage museums and the North; globalization: an Arctic story; power, governance and politics in the North; the '"new" Arctic: social, cultural and climate change; and Inuit education, health, language, and literature.  


28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013. This symposium seeks to advance our understanding of  responses of arctic marine ecosystems to climate change at all trophic levels, by documenting and forecasting changes in environmental processes and species responses to those changes. Presentations will focus on collaborative approaches to understanding and managing living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and to managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. Hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and sponsors.



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