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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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Oil and Gas and Mining Development in the Arctic: Legal Issues

This chapter deals with the legal issues associated with oil and gas and mining development in the Arctic. Mining and later oil and gas developments have both been significant in the Arctic for over a century. In many cases it has been the demand and exploration for these resources (e.g., the Yukon gold rush of the later 1890s and the first part of the twentieth century) that has fuelled the settlement and colonisation of Arctic lands and the homelands of indigenous peoples across the Arctic and introduced indigenous communities to globalised labour and commodity markets. But sometimes, perhaps paradoxically, it is the potential for developing northern oil and gas and mineral resources and the promise of jobs and revenues (resource and tax revenues) that holds out the prospect for greater measures of self-government and autonomy, whether by means of devolution of authority from a central government (as in the case of Yukon, Canada) or self-government and possibly independence (as in the case of Greenland).

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