Polar Law Textbook II

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”Developments in the Arctic and Antarctica continue to be the subject of growing public interest and academic, political, scientific, and media discourse. The global magnitude of the changes that are currently taking place in the Polar Regions, also influence legal developments. Furthermore, the growing importance of both the Arctic and the Antarctica in various areas of global, regional, national and sub-national development requires further inquiry into the role of law in dealing with many of the current and emerging issues relevant to both Poles. Although law is not a panacea for all issues, it has its own role to play in dealing with many of them.”A broad overview of Polar law issues was presented in the pioneering Polar Law Textbook, N. Loukacheva ed. Copenhagen: Nordic Council of Ministers, Tema Nord 538: 2010 (www.norden.org).This textbook represents the outcome of a cooperative process between an international group of well-known experts in the area of Polar law and related studies. Polar Law Textbook II further draws upon Polar law as an evolving and developing field of studies which is gaining increasing recognition and intersects with many other areas in the social sciences and humanities. It explores a variety of legal issues in the Arctic and Antarctica (i.e., questions of human rights law, environmental law, law of the sea, continental shelf, climate change, energy law, resources, indigenous peoples’ rights, etc.,) but also covers the relevant aspects of geopolitics, security, governance, search and rescue, biodiversity, devolution, institutions (e.g., the Arctic Council) and political developments.



Faroese Governance

The Faroe Islands are located in the North Atlantic midway between the north of the British Isles (the Shetland Islands) and Iceland. The Faroes fall thus just outside the Arctic Circle but they have much in common with entities that fall within it, notably Greenland, Iceland and Northern Norway, and can be an interesting case study on governance in the region. The Faroe Islands have achieved a very high level of autonomy, preserved their own language, a high level of education, a largely sustainable economy with public finances in order and a good credit rating. All this is achieved whilst being situated very far from neighbouring countries and markets; being dependant on ocean fisheries made difficult by unstable and sub-arctic climate; and, likewise, with travel and trade greatly impaired by distance and adverse climatic conditions, and inhabiting a number of steep and not very bountiful islands. For others trying to realise self-governance and move from under the shadow of metropolitan rule, the Faroes may offer a realistic (though perhaps not ideal) model for gradually creating a viable self-governance under marginal conditions and with somewhat hesitant approval from the metropolitan power.


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