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Xueping Li

Unique geological and geographical characteristics and immense economic potential have made Arctic governance an issue of global attraction, as evidenced by China’s recently published first Arctic policy. One important part of Arctic governance is the UNCLOS, and China has to evaluate its Arctic involvement from the perspective of this treaty. While a number factors motivate China’s Arctic interests, the contemporary legal regime of Arctic governance is focused on respect for the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the Arctic States as well as the UNCLOS principles. On its journey to Arctic governance, China must comprehensively elaborate on its legal choices by thinking more carefully of the UNCLOS in order to reply to the comments or criticism from other countries.

Paula Kovari

The impacts of climate change as well as the increase of economic activities call for effective governance of the Arctic Region. The Arctic Council is the predominant intergovernmental forum in the region. The rotating chairmanships of the Member States have a defining role in the work of the Council. This paper compares the Arctic Council chairmanship programmes of the five Nordic Countries with the organisation’s outputs following the two-year chairmanship periods as expressed in the ministerial Declarations and the SAOs’ reports. The paper finds that the discourse on the studied topics has developed greatly over time and despite the similarities between the countries’ foreign politics in general, there are some notable differences in the way the countries see the future of the Arctic – for example through the region’s vast natural resources or as a unique environment of the Arctic biodiversity. The conclusion of this research is that even though the chair cannot take all the credit for its accomplishments during the chairmanship period in question, nor can it be blamed for all possible failures, the chair’s work does leave its mark on the Arctic Council’s performance.

Zia E. Madani and Julia Jabour

The Antarctic offers unique opportunities to scientists in many disciplines for improving understanding of regional and global conditions. The governing Antarctic Treaty has 53 State Parties, many of which do not have geographical proximity to the continent. However, the importance of various disciplines of science and many other factors, urge them to participate in the Antarctic scientific activities. Therefore, it is not surprising that Iran is considering participation in Antarctic scientific research, and it has now set processes in motion to join these states in their endeavour to undertake research in Antarctica and contribute to its governance. Iran will develop a strategic plan prior to the commencement of its Antarctic activities, outlining its vision and objectives of an Antarctic program, as well as the financial and logistical implications, and is currently undertaking preparatory work that will culminate in the drafting of an Antarctic strategic plan. In doing so, the authors examined a number of factors including ones that could be identified in Antarctic law and policy as influencing the status and development of the existing Antarctic regime, the recent Antarctic Treaty States’ accession processes and strategies, the express or implied motivations for States to join the Antarctic Treaty, and generally the Antarctic Treaty System, all of which can be reached based on the aforementioned examination that can be incorporated in an Iranian Antarctic science roadmap.

Marcin Dymet

One of the inequalities generated by the introduction of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is the digital language divide, that is, differences in the online presence of languages and unequal access to information due to the lack of understanding of the available content. The digital language divide is particularly visible in the case of small languages with a low number of speakers. There is a large group of languages with non-existent or irrelevant online presence. This is often the case of the endangered minority languages. The number of language speakers or the level of knowledge of a given language is not sufficient to generate a vital online community.

This article presents the current language situation in the European High North with a focus on minority languages: Sámi and Meänkieli languages in Sweden, Sámi and Kven languages in Norway, and Sámi languages in Finland. It also introduces the phenomenon of digital language divide. The article explores the current situation of the minority languages in the European High North in light of their online presence. It responds to the following questions: Is there online presence of the studied minority languages? Is there a need amongst the minorities’ members for more extensive presence? To conclude, the article discusses the possible effects of a language’s underrepresentation.

Joseph F.C. DiMento, Christine Schrottenbaum and Elizabeth Taylor

The urgency of applying effective legal strategies to respond to environmental change in the Arctic is ever more apparent. The existing framework for environmental governance has matured and its constituents are numerous, and many are promising. However, policymakers and other stakeholders contend that new approaches to confronting environmental conditions, including mitigation of climate change and adapting to it, are needed. Many ideas have been offered; they range considerably in their assessment of what changes are needed and by when. Here we briefly describe the cluster of constituents of environmental governance, the international environmental regime, of the Arctic; we briefly note newly recommended approaches; and we analyse two approaches we consider most promising. These, cooperative scientific-based management strategies and adversarial legal actions, are dissimilar – to the point that some policy makers consider them incompatible. We argue, however, that both are needed and we describe elements of their successful use.

Kamrul Hossain

This article examines challenges and opportunities resulting from the rapid expansion of information and communication technology (ICT), through their impacts on the traditional culture of a given community. The expansion of ICT extends to all spheres of our lives, and makes society globally-oriented, which has provided opportunities for communities located in remote regions to stay connected and participate in global issues, as well as to take advantage of new innovations, in a virtual environment. However, these developments have also resulted in tensions when considered from the perspective of maintaining fundamental values traditionally held by a community. These fundamental values are often developed from traditionally practiced social norms which, at times, are transformed to adapt to a new cultural reality in response to, for example, information-based technological development. Such developments may generate concern that information-based societal development will negatively influence the traditions and culture of communities, and indigenous communities in particular. These concerns suggest that the introduction of an invasive culture will affect the established community and their culture, who build their identity based on traditional norms. Many indigenous communities, whose identities are founded in nature-based traditional practices, are arguably afraid of losing their cultural values as a result of new information-based societal development. It is based on this premise that the following article considers the Sámi indigenous community of the European High North (EHN) as case study, to argue that culture is a transformational, and not a static, element in any given society; it highlights that information-based cultural development and traditional norms can be mutually re-enforcing. The article argues that culture should be viewed holistically, and that the integration of information-based societal development within traditional culture and identity contribute to cultural modernisation.