Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson is member of the honorary board for the Arctic Circle. Photo: Trude Pettersen
Iceland’s President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson announces establishment of a new assembly for international cooperation on Arctic issues that can give non-Arctic countries like China, India and Singapore a forum for influence in the region.
The assembly, called the Arctic Circle, will have its inaugural gathering in Reykjavik, Iceland in October. The formation of the Arctic Circle was announced by Iceland’s President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson in Washington, D.C. on Monday.
The mission of the Arctic Circle is to convene a diverse group of stakeholders in an annual gathering to facilitate dialogue and build relationships to confront the Arctic’s greatest challenges. “We aim to strengthen the decision-making process by bringing together as many Arctic and international partners as possible under one large “open tent”, the forum’s web site reads.
China, India, Singapore and other countries far from the Arctic Circle could be part of this new forum to widen the discussion about the fate of the planet’s Far North Grimsson said according to Reuters.
Iceland on Monday became the first European country to sign a free trade agreement with China after six years of negotiations. A joint-statement notes the two sides want “to enhance their exchange and practical co-operation on the Arctic” and “further deepen their mutually beneficial co-operation in the fields of trade and investment.” The agreement will remove tariffs on most goods.
China is interested in gaining a foothold in the Arctic and hopes to become a permanent observer at the eight-nation Arctic Council next month.
The Arctic Circle is a nonprofit and nonpartisan assembly. Organizations, forums, think tanks, corporations and public associations around the world are invited to hold meetings within the Arctic Circle platform without surrendering their institutional independence.
Initial members of the honorary board for the Arctic Circle are President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, special envoy to the Russian President on Arctic issues Artur Chilingarov, Former Prime Minister of Greenland Kuupik Kleist and United States senator from the State of Alaska Lisa Murkowski. An advisory board of business leaders, scientists and policymakers has also been established.
Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Northern Fleet’s “Admiral Kuznetsov”, has finished repairs and is ready to leave the port of Murmansk. According to a Russian news agency, the vessel will sail to Syria.
A century and a half ago, Norway was home to roughly three thousand brown bears, the majority of bears in all of Scandinavia. By 1930, the bears were virtually extinct. Decades of aggressive management tactics and bounties had wiped out one of the area’s most iconic species.
Microplastics, the tiny plastic particles that are accumulating in marine waters and big lakes around the world, are now showing up in the Arctic waters south and southwest of Svalbard, Norway, a new study says.
REYKJAVIK: The climatic changes taking place in the Arctic are a call to action for the world. We must answer with more international cooperation and more research, says Tore Hattrem, State Secretary of Norway’s Foreign Ministry.
“Partnership should and shall shape the development of the Arctic, therefore cooperation is the starting point for our Arctic policy,” Vladimir Barbin, Senior Arctic Official and representative to the Arctic Council, said at the Arctic Circle 2015 assembly.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende has asked Russia for an explanation to the high number of asylum seekers coming to Norway via Russia. Syrian refugees that have lived in Russia for a long time, will be stopped on the border and sent back.