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2015 Course

2015 Schedule

June 25: Introduction to the Arctic Summer College

July 2: The Arctic Council Chairmanship

The second session of the 2015 Arctic Summer College began with Professor Whitney Lackenbauer's presentation on Canada's Arctic Council Chairmanship. Lackenbauer started by stressing the necessity of development in the Arctic to benefit the indigenous people of the North. He recapped initiatives that Canada put in place for the creation of a stable Arctic by emphasizing the Canadian Chairmanship's four pillars of Arctic policy: Sovereignty, Economic & Social Development, Environmental Protection, and Governance. U.S. Senior Arctic Official Julia Gourley followed with a presentation on the goals of the newly initiated U.S. Arctic Council Chairmanship. She began by reiterating that the U.S. and Canada share the same important belief of "One Arctic." She then addressed the United States' three pillars of Arctic policy: Improving Economic & Living Conditions; Arctic Ocean Safety, Security, & Stewardship; and the Impacts of Climate Change. Both speakers stressed the challenge of making progress in the short two-year chairmanship and the need for international cooperation.

July 9: Arctic Energy: Opportunities for Fossil Fuels and Renewables 

Energy specialists Coco Smits, Mariano Arriaga, and Farid Sharifi joined us for the third session of the Arctic Summer College. Smits based her presentation around the three differing types of Arctic energy "licenses" needed for action: legal, social, and political. Sharifi followed by addressing the WWF Arctic Programme's goals for Arctic renewable energy production in Canada. Finally, Arriaga presented on the primary goals of renewable energy planning: to obtain up-to-date energy-related technical, economic, environmental, social, and policy information.

July 16: Climate Change Adaptation

Monica Tennberg and Susan Evans shared expert perspectives in the fourth Arctic Summer College webinar. Evans focused her presentation on change being the only constant in the Arctic. Evans' key point was the necessity of the policymakers and Arctic specialists to rethink adaptation as an ongoing process focused on maintaining the capacity to respond rather than a discrete project. Tennberg focused on vulnerability in regards to Arctic climate adaptation; her political economy approach called for denaturalizing the technical problem and politicizing the technical solutions. She concluded with the idea that vulnerability to climate change is a societal, governable issue, but discussions are driven primarily by economics.

July 23: Arctic Shipping: Beyond the Polar Code

Arctic shipping specialists Michael Kingston and Kevin Harun joined us for the fifth Arctic Summer College webinar to share viewpoints on the Polar Code and Arctic shipping developments. Kingston's presentation revealed the insurance industry's perspective. He highlighted the issue of lack of regularity in international maritime law. Kingston recognized that a single ice regime in the Arctic should exist in order to have an effective Polar Code and concluded that this, and implementation of best practices, would lead to insurance, trade and investment, and sustainable Arctic development. Harun began his presentation by first recognizing the exponential rise in worldwide shipping due to trade and the impact this will have on the Arctic. He discussed the environmental impacts of Arctic shipping, and remaining gaps within the newly developed Polar Code.

July 30: Regional Cooperation and Security

Our sixth session of the Arctic Summer College introduced the fellows to Arctic regional cooperation and security, with experts Igor Shevchuk and Andreas Østhagen. Østhagen began the session by addressing the differences between regional security, human security, and safety. He added that the interests of the Arctic states are actually aligned in many ways. However, Østhagen concluded that he does not foresee conflict over the Arctic, but rather within the Arctic. Shevchuk followed with a presentation on possible conflicts within the Arctic. Shevchuk explained how natural resource extraction-related conflicts are clear security threats and destroy economic and social structures. He adds that the Arctic regions are especially vulnerable due to remote positions, sparse populations, harsh climate conditions, and overall social vulnerability. Shevchuk concluded by agreeing that there is significant potential for conflicts over natural resources in the Arctic to intensify, but that traditional cooperation approaches combined with innovative tailor-made solutions, such as online communication platforms for experts and policymakers, can help. 

August 6: Indigenous Actors and Arctic Decision-making 

Indigenous rights experts Alexey Tsykarev and Leena Heinämäki joined us for our final speaker-oriented Arctic Summer College session. Heinämäki began the discussion with a presentation on indigenous peoples' right to participate in decision-making. She recognized that many indigenous groups are already active in the Arctic, giving the example of the Inuit peoples' petition regarding their voiceless position on climate change, and stressed the need to see Arctic indigenous peoples not as victims, but as partners in cooperation. Heinämäki concluded by emphasizing the important difference between "minority" and "indigenous." Tsykarev followed with a presentation focusing on how the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides the Human Rights Council with thematic advice in the form of studies and research, e.g., the promotion and protection of indigenous peoples with respect to cultural heritage. He noted that Arctic indigenous peoples are among the first to feel the direct consequences of climate change, and therefore deserve to be a part of the discussion. Tyskarev concluded with examples of specific advice developed by the Expert Mechanism to better enhance indigenous capabilities.  

August 13: Conclusion of the Arctic Summer College