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August 24, 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. 


2nd Cargo Airships of Northern Operations Workshop, August 22-24, 2012. Researchers from NASA Ames Research Center will provide insights into the new technologies that form the solid engineering basis for modern cargo airship systems. Speakers from the mining, oil, and gas industries will describe their transportation challenges and how they plan to exploit cargo airships in support of their businesses. Local Alaskan air freight firms will discuss how cargo airships can complement existing air transport fleets by providing additional capability and expanding air shipping services. The world's leading developers of airships will provide design and operational details on new cargo airships they're currently developing and preparing to deploy for commercial service. Representatives from the financial community will present the many options available for what has often been the missing element of airship development and operations, funding. The website will soon be updated. 



Greenpeace Activists Offered Hot Soup, Then Sprayed With Cold Water After Storming Oil Rig. Greenpeace activists were first offered hot soup, then sprayed with blasts of cold water after they stormed a floating Russia oil platform and erected climbing tents on the side of the rig Friday to protest drilling in the Arctic. The six activists, who include Greenpeace executive director Kumi Naidoo, were hanging off the side of the Prirazlomnaya platform in the Pechora Sea - attached to the rig's mooring lines. They prepared for a long occupation, bringing up supplies, including the tents. Washington Post  


canadian flag[Canadian] Arctic Military Exercise Targets Human-Smuggling 'Ecotourists.' Prime Minister Stephen Harper will observe a military training operation in Hudson Bay today and the scenario involves Canadian Forces intercepting an ecotourism boat carrying illegal migrants who are attempting to enter Canada. The huge simulation exercise will involve 650 land, sea, air and special forces members and is part of Operation Nanook 12's month-long training exercise. The annual operation in the North gives the Canadian Forces a chance to practice their skills in responding to emergency and security situations. This year's Nanook operation began Aug. 1, and with 1,250 personnel involved in total, it's the biggest one yet. The cost for the entire operation is $16.5 million. CBC News 


ScienceHigh Arctic Research Station to be Built. The Canadian federal government will spend more than $142 million over the next six years to design and build a research centre in the High Arctic, finally putting a price tag on the two-year-old project. The contract to design the research centre in Cambridge Bay has just been awarded - albeit months behind schedule - and the funding was seen as critical for designers to determine the size of the centre to be built in this community along the Northwest Passage. Between 35 and 50 seasonal, part-time and full-time staff will work at the station, beginning in 2017. Ottawa Citizen  


Russia to Build World's Largest Nuclear Icebreaker of New Generation. On Thursday, August 23, Russia's Nuclear Power Corporation Rosatom signed a contract for the construction of the main universal icebreaker of new generation. The icebreaker will be of dual draft: it will operate on both the rivers of the Arctic region, and on the Northern Sea Route, reports It will also be able to replace "Arktika" and "Taimyr" nuclear icebreakers. The width of those vessels is 30 meters, whereas the width of the new ship will be 34 meters. Thus, the new ship will be able to bring the tankers with the displacement of not more than 70,000 tons. Pravda 


Canada Uncertain About Joining NATO's Arctic War Games: Is the Harper government's rhetoric on Arctic sovereignty overblown? The administrative wing of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office worried about the optics of hundreds of Canadian troops taking part in a major NATO-sponsored Arctic war game in northern Norway earlier this year. Conservatives have made rebuilding the military, more international involvement and a more muscular presence in the North key policy touchstones. But senior federal officials told the army last fall they weren't sure the country should participate Exercise Cold Response. CBC News 


arcticcouncilHarper Names Aglukkaq as Arctic Chair. The federal health minister will lead the international Arctic Council next year as it grapples with whether to allow other countries at the table. Canada assumes leadership of the eight-nation body in 2013, and the prime minister announced Thursday in Nunavut that Leona Aglukkaq is his choice as Canada's official ambassador. Aglukkaq will remain as health minister as she also takes on responsibilities for developing and delivering the council's program between 2013 and 2015, Stephen Harper said. The Chronicle Herald 


World Ocean Council Holds First Arctic Business Leadership Council Meeting. The World Ocean Council will convene the initial meeting of the "Arctic Business Leadership Council" (Reykjavik, 16 September, 2012) to develop coordinated, multi-sectoral industry input to the Arctic Council's Sustainable Development Working Group's "Informal Business Dialogue" (Reykjavik, 17 September, 2012) where it will be one of the parties. The WOC Arctic Business Leadership Council meeting marks the start of an ongoing forum for multi-sectoral collaboration among responsible companies on the future of the Arctic. The gathering will bring together representatives of shipping, oil and gas, fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, marine science/technology and other industries with interests in the Arctic. Fish Update


Airships Over Alaska's Arctic: Flight of Fancy or Grounded in Reality? Airships floating over the Arctic: It sounds more like science fiction than hard science. But a group of researchers, policymakers, developers and financiers are meeting this week in Anchorage to discuss a more realistic version of that vision. And many seem to think realizing the vision is not only possible, but probable -- provided the funding comes through. For most people, airships conjure visions of blimps and zeppelins, of the iconic Hindenburg crash way back in 1937, "Oh, the humanity!" echoing inside the head. A serious 21st century discussion about airships seems anachronistic, since the only blimps most people see these days hover over sports stadiums, pitching tires, of all things. Alaska Dispatch 


russian flagRussia Pushes Forward on Northern Sea Route. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's administration is trying to get a leg up on development of the Northern Sea Route. Last week, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev stated to RIA Novosti that the amount of state supervision and control over the Northern Sea Route was "not acceptable," especially in the eastern part. Most of the resources put into the route's infrastructure are funneled into the Murmansk-Dudinka-Krasnoyarsk transport corridors. Murmansk is the largest city in the Arctic, in the far west of Russia, while Dudinka is a port on the Yenisey River. Krasnoyarsk lies far inland, on the Lena River. While this investment takes place, Patrushev admitted, "At the same time, regular shipping in the eastern sector of the Northern Sea Route is practically not carried out. This situation cannot be recognized as normal." The eastern sector needs more government oversight, regulation, and meteorological information to bring it up to speed. This is not a new story in Russia; development east of the Urals has always lagged behind areas of Russia closer to Moscow. Alaska Dispatch


'Science and Sovereignty' Key to New Arctic Research Center. The new Arctic research centre in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, will give a boost to science and sovereignty, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says while announcing close to $200 million in funding. "Today is an important day, for a reason related to both economic development and environmental protection, and that is scientific knowledge," Harper said during a speech at a high school in the Northern community Thursday. "Our government believes strongly that our activities in the Arctic must be informed by, and must add to, our scientific knowledge of the region." The prime minister said that's why his government has invested in research projects in national parks and at Resolute Bay, and why it is building the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS). CBC News

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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