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UArctic Institute's Report gives details on Next-Steps in Arctic Shipping Policies

Thu, Sep 16, 2010
As the climate warms and global commerce grows, the prospect of an Arctic shipping route becomes more tangible. A new report released by the University of Alaska Fairbanks offers international policymakers guidance for navigating the political and practical ramifications of shipping in the Arctic.
 uaf logo          Dartmouth College




The report, “Considering a Roadmap Forward: The Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment,” is the result of a workshop hosted by UAF in October 2009 as part of the University of the Arctic's Institute for Applied Circumpolar Policy. The workshop drew nearly 70 experts from Canada, China, Denmark, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States to examine the 17 recommendations outlined in the Arctic Council!'s 2009 Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment.

The workshop report takes the key AMSA recommendations and provides to the arctic community a list of action items to consider as we collectively navigate a future of change,” said Mike Sfraga, head of the UA Geography Program and UAF vice chancellor for students. Sfraga co-chairs the Institute for Applied Circumpolar Policy with Kenneth Yalowitz of Dartmouth College. Yalowitz is director of the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth.

The future of shipping in the Arctic is one of the most important issues resulting from climate change in the North,” Yalowitz said. The three-day October 2009 workshop focused on three themes: enhancing arctic marine safety, protecting arctic people and the environment, and building the arctic marine infrastructure. The 24-page report offers dozens of proposed actions, many of which will require public or private funding.
A copy of the report is available here.

Among the highest-priority policy issues are:
  • A mandatory International Maritime Organization Polar Code.
  • Full tracking and monitoring of arctic commercial ships. 
  • An arctic search and rescue agreement (underway). 
  • Surveys of indigenous marine use. 
  • A circumpolar response capacity agreement among the arctic states. 
  • Implementation of an arctic observing network to support science and marine operations.

The working groups identified a roadmap, actions and a set of key issues for each of AMSA!s recommendations,” said UAF geography professor Lawson Brigham, who led the original AMSA effort for the Arctic Council.

Sfraga presented the report at a workshop in Rovaniemi, Finland, last week, where scientists and other experts from across the Circumpolar North met to address issues of Climate Change and Human Security. The workshop was organized by the UArctic Thematic Network on Geopolitics and Security, in conjunction with the UArctic Institute for Applied Circumpolar Policy.

Earlier this week in Brussels, at the 9th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers shared the report with Arctic Parliamentarians, as well as with senior officials of the European Parliament and of the Arctic Council.

The workshop report will be widely distributed, as it will serve as a valuable contribution to the ongoing discussions regarding the AMSA - and will assist and inform community leaders, policymakers, and industry as they "Consider a Roadmap Forward."

For further information, contact the workshop co-chairs:

Mike Sfraga
Tel. +1-907-474-7317
E-mail: Msfraga@alaska.edu

Lawson Brigham
Tel. +1-907-474-7494
E-mail: Lwb48@aol.com