China, India, Japan and the European Union are all knock, knock, knocking on Arctic’s door. The question is expected to be a “hot-potato” when the member states of the Arctic Council get the Observer status applications on the desk at the up-coming Arctic Council meeting in Kiruna, northern Sweden, on May 15th.
Today, the University of Tromsø in northern Norway announced the establishment of a dedicated center for research on questions related to the law of the sea and other juridical topics regarding the role of international and national jurisdictions in the Arctic.
Some 15 experts on Arctic issues and Law of the Seas will be working with the new center. The Fridtjof Nansen Institute is partner. Funding comes from the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Foundation, also branding the name of the new initiative; KG Jebsen Center for Ocean Law.
“There is an urgent need to strengthen international research on the law of the sea, whether this is justified on environmental, nutritional or more political perspectives, says Kåre Romentveit, director of the Jebsen Foundation. He says an independent and strong research community could play an important role, especially international.
Professor Tore Henriksen with the Law faculty at the University of Tromsø will head the new center.
“Norway is a nation with large ocean areas, but without strong national expertise on maritime law. We will be studying everything from climate and environmental challenges in the Arctic to piracy and terrorist threats at sea,” says Tore Henriksen. He hopes the law in the future can be used to counter the negative impacts climate change will have on the seas. Another question is how fisheries and oil exploration can coexist.
The current funding of the center is valid for the coming six years period.
Russia plans to resume testing of the submarine-launched ballistic missile Bulava this summer. The country’s two newest strategic nuclear-powered submarines will start trials as soon as the ice conditions in the White Sea will allow.
MURMANSK: Ecological groups gathered on Kola Peninsula fear that Barents nature will be the looser after Oslo decided to call off the environmental minister’s Moscow meeting in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
TROMSØ: Since the first five specimens of snow crab were found in the Barents Sea in 1996, the population has exploded. There is now ten times as much snow crab than king crab in the area, and scientists are just starting to find out how this new species has adopted to life in the Barents Sea.
More than 900 reindeer die of hunger on the Russian Arctic island of Kolguyev following a critical lack of available local pasturelands. The reindeer stocks in the area are too badly managed, regional authorities admit.
The current situation in Ukraine makes cross-border cooperation with the neighboring countries even more important, Barents Secretariat leader Rune Rafaelsen says. At the same time, Norway has joined NATO’s condemnation of Russia’s military escalation on the Crimea peninsula.
Board member Amund Trellevik in the press network fears entry-denial of Kremlin’s controversial propaganda-journalist Dmitry Kiselyov could be retaliated by refusing Norwegian journalists access to Russia.