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The topic of this issue is arctic shipping. The diversity of shipping in the Arctic goes hand in hand with a diversity of opinion regarding what the future will hold. As usual when producing The Circle, we have asked people from a variety of sectors and backgrounds to outline what they see as the challenges and ways forward for arctic shipping, hoping in this way to fuel international efforts to identify gaps and develop solutions.

The Indigenous perspective on shipping presented here highlights the importance of respecting the rights and livelihoods of the people in the Arctic. The NGO contributors outline the unique natural values of the Arctic and the need for precautionary approaches, given the uncertainties and risks related to arctic shipping. The legal perspectives point out that the current legal regime is left open for interpretation, while also outlining the ongoing processes to ensure better regulation through mandatory measures and a Polar Code for shipping. The national and security perspective contributors outline the attractive economic potential and strategic interests linked to arctic shipping. Finally, the commercial perspective provides a reality check for everyone who thinks that trans-arctic shipping will be the norm before the middle of this century.

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