Arctic Update Header
February 2, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate will be in session to consider non-Arctic legislation.


Juneau Arctic Policy Forum, February 2, 2012. The Juneau Arctic Policy Forum will be hosted by the Institute of the North and will highlight the work done to IONdevelop and promote Alaska's role in Arctic decision-making. There will be presentations and discussion about the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER) Arctic Caucus and results from the Northern Waters Task Force. We also hope to include updates from the U.S. Coast Guard and the University of Alaska. Click here




Gray WhaleMarine Mammal Commission Review of Alaskan and Arctic Marine Mammals and Ecosystems. The Marine Mammal Commission met last week in Anchorage to (1) review the status and future of Alaskan and Arctic marine mammals and the Native communities that depend on them and (2) initiate a strategic review of U.S marine mammal conservation and management priorities. Much of the review focused on climate disruption and increasing human activities in rapidly changing marine ecosystems. Climate disruption is progressing more rapidly than originally projected and human activities (e.g., oil and gas development, commercial shipping) are expanding apace. Although some marine mammal species are relatively well studied and may fare well (e.g., bowhead whales), others are almost certainly declining now, or on the verge of potential large-scale declines (e.g., walrus, polar bear, ice seals). The effects of climate disruption may manifest themselves in numerous ways, including habitat loss and range contractions, declining reproduction and survival, and increased incidence of disease. Climate disruption may be contributing to an ongoing multi-species disease outbreak not yet diagnosed but possibly new to the Arctic. These changes pose substantial challenges to the Alaska Native communities that depend on marine mammals for subsistence purposes. Those communities have the potential to contribute substantially to research and management of Alaskan and Arctic marine ecosystems, but presently lack the resources and capacity to do so. The presentations and discussions at the meeting will help the Commission shape its recommendations to the Administration and Congress in the coming year. Marine Mammal Commission


Recommendations from the Northern Waters Task Force. The findings and NWTFrecommendations from the Task Force, created in 2010 by the 26th Alaskan State Legislature, provides recommendations for state and federal Arctic policy. The three priority recommendations that arose after 12 meetings around the state, and hours of public testimony, were: providing Alaskans with opportunities to be involved in Arctic policy; creating an Alaskan Arctic Commission, which will enable Alaska to be better prepared and to develop a state strategy for the Arctic; and, to urge the United States Senate to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The full report can be found here.


ChinaflagChina Seeks Arctic Council Observer Status: Canada to lead Arctic organization for two years starting in 2013. China may use the upcoming visit by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to try convincing him that it deserves a more prominent role in the Arctic. Next year Canada begins a two-year term as chair of the Arctic Council, which comprises the eight nations that ring the North Pole. Even though it has no Arctic territories, China wants a place at that table. Zhang Junsai, the Chinese ambassador to Canada, told a Montreal audience on Wednesday that his country should be allowed to be there. "Of course, China wishes to be an observer," he said. CBC News 


Oil Drilling in AlaskaScientists Worried by the Rush to Develop Arctic Oil and Gas Resources. The Arctic is a goldmine of untapped resources. According to a 2008 estimate by the US Geological Survey it boasts 90 billion barrels of oil (13% of the world's recoverable oil reserves), up to 50 trillion cubic metres of natural gas (about 30% of the world's natural gas reserves), and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids. Decisions are being made as to when the oil majors should be unleashed upon this pristine environment. As Tim Dodson, executive vice-president of the Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil, said, "The race is on for positions in the new oil provinces." The oil companies see the Arctic as an opportunity to supply the world's demand for fossil fuels for many years to come, but environmental activists are horrified by the prospect of drilling in such a beautiful, remote and often dangerous region. Oil 


arctic shippingNorthern Sea Route: Zone of cooperation, not confrontation. The North Sea Route is Russia's transport route, and it is interested in the development of its national transport corridor, Russian experts said, answering to a strange statement of Yuan Tzuntze, a researcher from the China Institute of International Studies, who believes that the North Sea Route is a common property and that individual states have no right to control it. In recent times Chinese experts have often stressed that China is interested in the Arctic Region. Meaning not only its scientific interest but also the fact that China regards it as a very important sphere of its  military and strategic interests. An expert with the Dalian Maritime University, Li Chzhen Fu, said that the use of the Arctic shipping route may provide China with ample opportunity as a strategic transport corridor. Russia's control of the North Sea Route is unquestionable, an expert with the Russian Maritime Law Centre, Vasily Gutsulyak says: "This is a national transport route of Russia, which has been under its control since time immemorial. Among other things, Russia ensures the hydrotechnical regime in the zone of the North Sea Route as well as marine pilot services. There's also a special body - the administration of the North Sea Route - which regulates shipping there." Voice of Russia 


China Hopes to Settle Arctic Disputes by 'Peaceful Means'. China hopes to solve "by peaceful means" any disputes with Canada concerning the Arctic, China's ambassador to Canada told a Montreal audience Wednesday. Canada is to take over the chair of the Arctic Council in 2013, a body on which China wants observer status. After a luncheon speech on China-Canada relations at which he said Canada and China are "natural partners" that should increase the array of goods they trade, Ambassador Zhang Junsai was asked about China's views on the Arctic and whether his mandate includes convincing Ottawa to allow China that position. Montreal Gazette


Fisheries and Oceans Canada: Joint Statement. On February 2nd, 2012, all Members of Parliament in the House of Commons will have an opportunity to support Canada's northern and coastal communities. Sealing is an important economic and cultural driver in Canada's eastern, arctic and northern communities. It is a long-standing and integral part of Canada's rural culture and a way of life for thousands of Canadians. As a sign of support for the individuals who rely on the sustainable seal harvest in Canada, we are asking all Members of Parliament to show their support by wearing a seal fur lapel pin in the House of Commons on February 2nd, 2012. The lapel pins will be made available to Members in their lobbies and are provided by the Nunavut Government and the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association. Market Watch


YoungANWR Bill Passes Natural Resources Committee. ANWR legislation is back before U.S. House members. The House Natural Resources committee is offering legislation that, among other things, would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to development. The language is part of a larger Republican jobs bill.  Congressman Don Young says he's pleased that it passed out of committee. "This is the 12th time. We look at the vote, it was a good vote, 29 to 13. So that's a good solid, bipartisan vote and I'm hoping it will pass the House with the same type of enthusiasm. Then everybody says well the Senate isn't going to pass it, well I'll tell you one thing if you don't pass it in the House then the Senate certainly isn't going to pass it so I'm going to send it over to them and see what happens," Young said. Alaska Public Radio 


BSEE's FY 2012 Broad Agency Announcement for Oil Spill Response Research. The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), solicits White Papers of not more than five (5) pages in length, for specific areas of interest to the BSEE Oil Spill Response Research (OSRR) Program which includes oil spill planning, preparedness, containment, monitoring, recovery, treatment, and response in the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). When appropriate, the research shall be conducted consistent with prior research. For a summary of research recently performed, visit Interested parties are encouraged to view the information presented on the site when considering submitting White Papers. White papers are due March 1, 2012. FedBiz Ops


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


S. 1925, Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (Leahy, hearing scheduled)

Future Events                                   


The Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, February 14 2012. The parliamentarians will discuss Arctic cooperation with the Chair of the Arctic Council Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. Further on the agenda are issues like oil and gas development and the effect of climate change on human health. 


Arctic Policy Forum, February 15, 2012. This Arctic Policy Forum will feature a compelling panel discussion of the history, current issues, and future plans of IONNORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) in Alaska. This Arctic Policy Forum, hosted by the Institute of the North and sponsored by the Government of Canada, will leave participants with an increased understanding of:
* A 50 year partnership and cross-border collaboration
* Arctic governance and sovereignty
* Public safety; and search and rescue
* Maritime and aviation issues related to the Arctic environment


Arctic Workshop, March 7-9, 2012. The Workshop is hosted by the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. The meeting is open to all interested in the Arctic, and will consist of a series of talks and poster sessions covering all aspects of INSTAARhigh-latitude environments. Previous Arctic Workshops have included presentations on arctic and antarctic climate, archeology, environmental geochemistry, geomorphology, hydrology, glaciology, soils, ecology, oceanography, Quaternary history, and more. A traditional strength of the Workshop has been Arctic paleoenvironments. Click here


Arctic Science Summit Week 2012, April 20-22, 2012. The summit will provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in all areas of arctic science. Side meetings organized by stakeholders in arctic science and policy are also expected. More information here


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring IPYmeetinglogotogether over 2,000 arctic and antarctic researchers, policy and decision-makers, and a broad range of interested parties from academia, industry, non-government, education and circumpolar communities including indigenous peoples. The conference is hosted by the Canadian IPY Program Office, in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, among other groups. Each day of the conference will feature a program of keynote speakers, plenary panel discussions, parallel science sessions, as well as dedicated poster sessions. The conference-wide plenaries will explore themes related to topics of polar change, global linkages, communities and health, ecosystem services, infrastructure, resources and security. Other sessions will provide the opportunity to present and discuss the application of research findings, policy implications and how to take polar knowledge to action. Click here


USARC Commission Meeting, April 27-28, 2012. The 97th meeting of the CPClogoUSARC will be held in Montreal, Canada, in conjunction with the "From Knowledge to  


usarc logo large

Action" IPY meeting referred to above. The Commission will meet on April 27-28, and will meet jointly with the Canadian Polar Commission on the afternoon of the 27th, to discuss common interests in Arctic Research. Details to follow. 


Arctic Forum 2012, April 30-May 1, 2012. The Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. will host the forum in conjunction with their 24th annual meeting. Both events will be in Washington, D.C. The Arctic Forum is part of the American Geophysical Union's Science Policy Conference, which will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The Conference will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions. Within the Science Policy Conference, the Arctic Forum will assess gaps and priority needs for arctic scientific information to inform decision makers in policy

formation for three key themes:

                - Governance and Security in the Arctic;

                - Transportation and Energy Development; and

                - Changing Arctic Ecosystems.

The Forum will examine the current state of policymaker and public understanding of the issues. An important goal will be to foster an increased capacity for dialogue and action on arctic science-policy issues.


 American Polar Society 75th Anniversary Meeting and Symposium, "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics", May 2-4, 2012, The Explorers Club, NYC. For 75 years, the American Polar Society has both documented and communicated polar activities to the interested world. This meeting will bring together the current leaders in science, government, commerce, and diplomacy for a state-of-the-art forecast of the next seventy-five years in a world influenced more than ever before by the destiny of the Arctic and Antarctic. Click here.  


The Tenth International Conference on Permafrost, June 2012. The conference will be held in Tyumen, Russia, and is organized and hosted by Russia. The last conference was held in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2008. Click here.  


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Health, August 5-10, 2012. This event is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Society for Circumpolar Health, and the International Union for Circumpolar Health.  The forum will consider community participatory research and healthmeetinglogoindigenous research; women's health, family health, and well-being; food security and nutrition; social determinants of health; environmental and occupational health; infectious and chronic diseases; climate change health impacts; health service delivery and infrastructure; and behavioral health. Click here


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-28, 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. Click here


Arctic/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 inuitconferencelogomuseums 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. For more information, click here. 

USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter 

4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510
Arlington, VA 22203, USA 
(703) 525-0111 (phone)