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.



The Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic – A New Chapter in Polar Law

Recent political, technological and climatic changes have transformed the perception of the Arctic region, within its boundaries and beyond, from the traditional view – of an unreachable and almost unliveable corner of the world – to the new understanding – which sees it as an area of innovative progress and as a land of huge opportunities. Technological progress has allowed reaching out for something that was previously unthinkable while climate change and the continuous and rapid thawing of the Arctic sea ice are making Arctic mineral resources and shipping routes more accessible. The economic development of the Arctic is now occurring and presents enormous possibilities, attracting human, fiscal and business capital to the region. This development is focused essentially on the exploration and extraction of oil and gas. For example, industrial drilling on the Arctic continental shelf starts on the Prirazlomnoe and the Goliath oil rigs in the Russian and Norwegian parts of the Barents Sea in 2013. Substantial developments in Arctic tourism can also be seen (e.g., cross-polar air flights, cruise tours, and trips to the North Pole), as well as developments in navigation mainly in relation to the Northern Sea Route which has seen a significant increase in international transit shipping. The expansion of economic activity in the Arctic brings a greater human presence which entails growing risks to peoples and their livelihood in the still extremely harsh natural conditions of the High North with its low temperatures, periods of darkness, ice, permafrost, etc.


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