Each year the Symposium brings a great number of renowned scholars and researchers from all across the world to share research-based scientific knowledge on diverse polar-relevant issues. The purpose of the Symposium is to examine, in detail, the implications of the challenges faced by the Polar regions for international law and policy, and to make recommendations on appropriate actions by states, policy makers and other international actors to respond to these emerging and re-emerging challenges.
This symposium was a real success. It was the largest Polar Law symposium organized so far, with sixteen parallel sessions and more than seventy speakers coming from all around the world: USA, China, Cyprus, Belgium, South Korea, Japan, Iceland, Sweden, Russia, and others. This year the symposium focused more specifically on the issues of global and local governance of the Poles and included panel sessions concerning the Arctic and Antarctic regions, the protection of the environment, the rights of indigenous peoples, and the issue of cyber and digital security in the Polar Regions. Leading experts in the field of both Polar law and policies were also invited to give lectures, including Lars Kullerud (President of UArctic), Evan Bloom (Director of the Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC) and Joseph Dimento (Professor at School of Law at University of California, Irvine).
The symposium program was reflective of the progress and challenges that the Polar regions currently face. The event was also timely as Finland is celebrating its 100 years of independence this year and is currently the chair of the Arctic Council, the predominant inter-governmental forum of the Arctic. The issues raised by the different panel sessions also demonstrated that the governance of the Polar regions clearly require global and local actions and the promotion of cooperation. Many questions were discussed in this context ranging from the institutional role of the Arctic Council, the UN, the EU and China to the wellbeing of local population and the rights of indigenous peoples.
At the end of the symposium, all participants were invited to publish their contributions in the 10th Volume of Yearbook of Polar Law, which will be published by Brill in 2018.
The next Polar Law Symposium will be organized by UiT The Arctic University of Norway at the end of 2018.
For more information on the symposium or the Yearbook of Polar Law Vol. 10, please contact Dr Dorothée Cambou, scientific coordinator for the event and special editor of the Yearbook Vol. 10, at firstname.lastname@example.org.