Arctic Update Header
December 30, 2013


capital Today's Congressional Action: 

The House and Senate have adjourned for the year.   




Denmark to Remain in IWC. After threatening earlier this year to leave the International Whaling Commission (IWC) over a dispute about Greenlandic whale quotas, the government of Denmark has announced that it will remain in the organization. "A number of positive responses have been received in support of aboriginal subsistence whaling in Greenland and the Kingdom of Denmark's continued membership of the IWC," Gitte Hundahl, Denmark's whaling commissioner, wrote in a letter to the commission dated December 18. Arctic Journal


Building Dens for Finland's Saimaa Seals. A project to construct man-made dens for the endangered Saimaa seal will continue after recently receiving EU funding for the next five years. The Saimaa ringed seal, a subspecies of ringed seal, is among the most endangered seals in the world, having a current total population of only about 310 individuals in the Saimaa area of Finland. The population is descended from ringed seals that were separated from the rest of their species after the last ice age. This seal, along with the Ladoga Seal and the Baikal Seal, is one of the few living freshwater seals in the world and Finland is working hard to preserve its tiny population. Alaska Dispatch


Statistics Show Lower Life Expectancies, Higher Homicides Rates in Canada's North. The Inuit live 10 years less than other Canadians. Such is the sad observation established by Statistics Canada. This federal government agency has released results from a study evaluating life expectancies and causes of death over 19 years in the four Canadian regions with mostly Inuit populations. The study reveals that the life expectancy of residents of Inuit regions increased during this period but still remains lower than that of other Canadians. Alaska Dispatch


The Historical Fight for Arctic Sovereignty. For reasons that aren't particularly discernible, Arctic issues rarely receive much attention in Alaska's statewide elections. This seems odd given that so much of the state's economy and government funding derives from oil mining on the North Slope. Compounding this absence in our political debates is the impact of climate change, which is becoming both costly in terms of what is occurring to Arctic communities and ecosystems, and potentially a boon as offshore fossil fuel deposits become recoverable owing to newly opened seas.  What might surprise many Alaskans, meanwhile, is that our sea boundaries with both Canada and Russia have yet to be finalized. At a time of massive change in the Arctic, with the world's governmental, corporate, environmental, and indigenous rights interests all converging on the region, the full extent of Alaska's Arctic sovereignty - and therefore America's - remains unclear. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


[Alaska] Game Board to Consider Hunting and Trapping Charges. The Alaska Board of Game is meeting in Kotzebue Jan. 10-13, 2014 to consider nearly 40 proposals concerning changes to hunting and trapping regulations in the state's Arctic and Western regions, which include game management units 18, 22, 23 and 26A. Many proposals have already been submitted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the general public, most of which concern the hunting and trapping season dates and bag limits. Alaska Dispatch


5,000 Polar Bears Expected to be Born Around New Year's. The World Wildlife Fund for Nature says about 5,000 polar bears are expected to be born in the Arctic around New Year's. New Year's is the time of year when polar bears give birth in the Arctic, RIA Novosti reported. UPI

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


The House and Senate have adjourned for 2013.

Future Events


Arctic Frontiers, January 19-24, 2014 (Tromso, Norway). Arctic Frontiers is an international arena addressing development in the Arctic. The conference discusses how upcoming opportunities and challenges may be handled to ensure viable economic growth and societal and environmental sustainability. Annually, the conference attracts more than 1000 participants from 25 Arctic and non-arctic countries, representing science, business, politics, and civil society. The theme of the conference is 'Humans in the Arctic'. As with previous years the policy section will run for the first two days, followed by three days of science. The science section will have four parts under 2 main headings: Health, Society and Environment; and, Maritime Operational Challenges. 


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 20-24, 2014 (Anchorage, Alaska). The mission of the Alaska Marine Science Symposium is to bring together scientists, policymakers, students, educators, media and the public to share research findings focused on Alaska's marine fisheries and ecosystems. The Symposium is built around regional themes-Bering Sea, Arctic Ocean, and the Gulf of Alaska. Within each theme, there will be discussions on climate, oceanography, lower tropic levels, the benthos, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research.


The agenda is available here.


The goal of the Arctic Encounter Symposium is to engage participants in a focused discussion, through a balanced forum, highlighting shared interests and concerns of the United States and the global community as we look north to the last emerging frontier - the Arctic. The Symposium will incorporate a diverse group of leaders and experts to debate how a rapidly changing Arctic will impact international law, domestic policy, business and commerce, the environment, and the people of the Far North. Speakers include policy makers, industry leaders, scientists, and academic experts. The two-day Symposium will take place at Seattle University School of Law with a dinner reception at the Seattle Aquarium on Pier 59. US Arctic Research commissioner Edward Itta is one of the speakers.

Arctic Technology Conference, February10-12, 2014. (Houston, TX) Founded in 1969, the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) provides offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production and environmental protection. The Arctic Technology Conference (ATC) is built upon OTC's successful multidisciplinary approach, with 14 technical societies and organizations. The conference is an international event focused on continuing innovative technologies and solutions needed for exploration and production of energy within the circum-Arctic.


Arctic 2050, March 12, 2014 (Brussels, Belgium). The 4th European Marine Board Forum will bring together Arctic stakeholders from multiple sectors (science, industry, policy & governance, NGOs, etc.) to: discuss current trends and patterns of change in Arctic Ocean ecosystems, including human activity; identify possible "2050" scenarios for Arctic Change and the corresponding implications for human health and well-being; highlight key research gaps, needs and challenges in support of understanding, mitigating against, or adapting to Arctic change; stimulate dialogue across sectors to aid common understanding, collaborative actions and sustainability targets; promote a vision for a sustainable ecosystem-based management of the Arctic Ocean by 2050.


44th Annual International Arctic Workshop, March 14-16, 2014 (Boulder, CO). The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research of the University of Colorado will host the workshop. This year's theme is "Arctic's New Normal." The workshop will consider shifting environmental baselines over decades to millennia and comparisons with the Antarctic. Previous Workshops have included presentations on Arctic and Antarctic climate, atmospheric chemistry, environmental geochemistry, paleoenvironment, archeology, geomorphology, hydrology, glaciology, soils, ecology, oceanography, Quaternary history and more.


Association of American Geographers Polar Geography Sessions, April 8-12, 2014 (Tampa, Florida).  Polar Geography Sessions are being planned in areas such as Sustainable Development in the Arctic, Urbanization and Transportation in the Arctic, etc. Contact Scott Stephenson ( for more information, and see attached flyer. 


Arctic Science Summit Week April 5-8, 2014 and Arctic Observing Summit, April 9-11 (Helsinki, Finland). ASSW is a gathering for Arctic research organizations. Any organization engaged in supporting and facilitating arctic research is welcome to participate. The ASSW meeting in 2014 will be arranged during April 5-8 in Helsinki Kumpula Campus, in the facilities of FMI and Physics Department of the University of Helsinki. Second circular here


International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences, May 22-26, 2014 (Prince George, British Columbia). "The International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA) announces the 8th International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS VIII). ICASS is held every three years, bringing together people from all over the world to share ideas about social science research in the Arctic. ICASS VII, held in Akureyri in June 2011, attracted 450 participants from 30 different countries.  ICASS VIII's theme is Northern Sustainabilities. By using the plural, we underscore both that "sustainability" has social, cultural, economic, political and environmental dimensions, and that definitions of the concept vary."
IceTech14: International Conference and Exhibition on Performance of Ships and Structures in Ice, July 28-31, 2014 (Banff, Alberta, Canada). "The focus will be on the general theme of performance of ships and structures in ice - but with emphasis and special sessions on looking to the future in a warming world. Coverage will include technical aspects of offshore operations in Arctic and ice populated waters, as well related ice mechanics, icebreaking and ice resistance, global warming and geopolitical effects, safety and EER, subsea facilities and operations, and other relevant subjects in a polar context particularly in view of current global concerns. Both technical papers and selected panel sessions will be included. We will also continue to host a small commercial exhibition for organizations wishing to set up stand."

 Arctic Circle, September 5-7, 2014 (Reykjavik, Iceland). The inaugural gathering drew more than 1200 participants from 40 nations, bringing together a diverse group of individuals and organizations for a series of meetings and presentations addressing the challenges and opportunities of the changing Arctic. The Assembly established itself as a platform for high-level engagement on issues, such as the meeting between Russia and Greenpeace regarding the "Arctic 30" detention, and it also provided new observer states the opportunity to communicate their Arctic strategies. Details about the 2014 Assembly will be announced in the coming months.


Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, December 2-4, 2014. (Trondheim, Norway)

The Arctic Council's Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) working group is organizing the first Arctic Biodiversity Congress in Trondheim, Norway on December 2-4, 2014. The Arctic Biodiversity Congress will promote the conservation and sustainable use of Arctic biodiversity through dialogue among scientists, policy-makers, government officials, industry, civil society and indigenous peoples. It is closely linked to the findings and recommendations of the first Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA) released in May 2013.  

Arctic Science Summit Week, April 23-30, 2015 (Toyama, Japan). ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. The purpose of the summit is to provide opportunities for coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science. IASC's (International Arctic Science Committee) 25th anniversary will be celebrated during ASSW2015. The summit presents an opportunity to review IASC contributions and recognize those who have been instrumental in its founding, development and growth. ASSW2015 will also include the 3rd International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III) and the 4th International Symposium on the Arctic Research (ISAR-4). These four-day symposia create a platform for exchanging knowledge, inspiring cross fertilization, and promoting collaboration. The summit attracts scientists, students, policy makers and other professionals from all over the world.

USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter 

4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510
Arlington, VA 22203, USA 
(703) 525-0111 (phone)
External links in this publication, and on the USARC's World Wide Web site ( do not constitute endorsement by the US Arctic Research Commission of external Web sites or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities, the USARC does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. These links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this newsletter and the USARC Web site.