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Polar Law Textbook

image of Polar Law Textbook

The idea for this textbook developed from the recognition of the need to disseminate information about Polar Law as an emerging field of legal studies - an area of study long overdue greater recognition. Developments in the Polar Regions - the Arctic and Antarctica - are now the subject of growing interest and importance. They concern a divergent range of global and regional development issues and beg further inquiry into the role of law in dealing with many of these issues. This textbook is the first educational material of its kind. It attempts to illustrate the importance of legal values in addressing various challenges across the Nordic region, among remote Arctic communities and globally. The textbook focuses on the various developments in international and domestic law concerning the Polar Regions (e.g., issues of environmental law, law of the sea, resources, human rights law and Indigenous peoples’ rights, etc.). By looking at linkages between different areas of law and the other social sciences, the textbook also explores the relevant aspects of the economic, social and political developments affecting both Polar areas (e.g., questions of Polar governance, economics, and the political situation in some of the Arctic areas). The authors hope that this pioneering work will encourage anybody interested in Polar Law to pursue further studies, research or cooperation on the many initiatives which take place within the Nordic, Arctic and global community in relation not just to the Arctic but also to the Antarctic.

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Arctic Governance

The term "Arctic Governance" has been used in political and international relations discourse for some time though no precise legal definition of this term currently exists. As such, "Arctic Governance" is per se not a legal term or concept. Broadly speaking, "governance" can be understood as a process in which political power is exercised by different players with due consideration to the principles of legitimacy, accountability and transparency. The World Bank has outlined the concept of "good governance," which is further addressed by growing scholarship on this subject. This scholarship suggests that adherence by modern governments and other actors to the principles of human rights, the rule of law and democracy are crucial for the implementation of good governance practices. These principles are relevant to the Arctic settings of governmental practices. Further, in the existing discourse, the term "governance" is often used in relation to, or interchangeably with, the term "government." The question thus arises, are we dealing with "governance" in the Arctic, government(s), or both?

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