Events & Reports

  • April 8, 2022

    The 14th Polar Law Symposium hosted by PCRC showcased pressing Arctic and Antarctic legal and policy challenges: The Blue Earth, from the poles, through the law.

    14 PLS symbol: Kyoku (poles)
    specially produced by a calligrapher from Kyoto

    PCRC was proud to host again the 14th Polar Law Symposium (PLS) in November 2021 in a hybrid format, with a total of 331 registered participants from around the world, and 54 live oral presentations and 13 online poster presentations. The Planning Committee was able to convene special sessions composed of experts from Japan, participating at the venue, and from abroad through the online platform, on many of the pressing legal and policy challenges facing both the Arctic and the Antarctic. It is noteworthy that the United States-based influential think-tank, Wilson Center Polar Institute, had joined us as a co-sponsor. Its Senior Fellow, Mr. Evan Bloom, presented on “Southern Ocean Governance and Marine Conservation: A Polar Comparison” at a special session on “Polar Ocean Governance through the Two Marine Ecosystem/Fisheries Agreement”, and engaged in a discussion with Dr. Joji Morishita, who spoke on the Central Arctic Ocean agreement. Click here for the final program .

    The session
    "Protection and Promotion of Indigenous Peoples Rights:
    Looking at Japan and Arctic Countries

    One of the highlights of this symposium was the session focusing on the Arctic Indigenous Peoples and the Ainu: "Protection and Promotion of Indigenous Peoples Rights: Looking at Japan and Arctic Countries”. Due to high interests, this session was open to the public with English-Japanese simultaneous interpretation. Prof. Gudmundur Alfredsson, in his keynote speech, discussed a little-known and underdocumented United Nations Fact-Finding Mission to the Ainu in 1991, based on his personal experience and on the report produced by Chairperson Daes. A lively panel discussion followed, chaired by Prof. Yuko Osakada, with Prof. Kamrul Hossain, Dr. Kanako Uzawa, who is an Ainu herself, and Mr. Fumiya Nagai, an early-career cultural anthropologist, participating in person.

    The session
    "Polar governance in the Anthropocene:
    The case of ocean acidification "

    Another highlight of the Symposium was an opening session based on natural and social scientists’ collaboration: “Polar governance in the Anthropocene: The case of ocean acidification”, chaired by Director Shibata. Prof. Tim Stephens, an international law expert on the issue, and Dr. Naomi Harada from Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology presented their latest findings in the scientific and governance developments in the polar regions. According to their presentations, the Arctic Council Working Groups have shown leadership in accumulating scientific knowledge and promoting governance directions. However, it became clear that it is still necessary to understand the complex scientific process of ocean acidification on a global scale and further elucidate its causes. In addition, the Antarctic governance to tackle ocean acidification should be strengthened. Based on this session, a 14 PLS fellow, Ms. Jen Evans has succeeded in producing an ArCS II International Law Briefing Paper Series: Fact Sheet No.7 (see the Fact Sheet here) .

    Chaired by Prof. Hiroyuki Enomoto, the session on "Policy-Law-Science Nexus in the Arctic", addressed the Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM3) and Arctic Science Cooperation Agreement to see how those intergovernmental institutions can promote further cooperation and collaboration in the Arctic scientific endeavors. Prof. Paul Arthur Berkman from Harvard University, Prof. Alexander Sergunin from St. Petersburg State University, and Director Shibata presented their cases and discussed the possible synergistic effects between ASM and the Arctic Scientific Cooperation Agreement.

    The session
    “Polar Governance for the Blue Earth:
    Messages from Biodiversity COP15 and Climate COP26”

    The closing session was closely linked to the main theme of the Symposium: “Polar Governance for the Blue Earth: Messages from Biodiversity COP15 and Climate COP26”, chaired by Prof. Timo Koivurova. Prof. Nengye Liu presented on the messages from COP15 held in China, and Prof. Hitomi Kimura on the messages from COP26 held in Glasgow, UK. Although climate and biodiversity crisis are particularly severe in the Arctic regions, their presentations alarmed that both global conferences had shown little attention to the region. Mr. Arsenii Kirgizov-Barskii, another 14 PLS fellow and an early-career scholar from MGIMO, Russia, reported on this session and made his own analysis of the issue (see his report from here) .

    Other 14 PLS fellows who assisted the Symposium were: Ms. Angela Wang (Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada); Mr. Apostolos Tsiouvalas (The Arctic University of Norway), Ms. Ekaterina Antsygina (Queen’s University), Mr. Raphael Oidtmann (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main), Mr. Pavel Devyatkin (The Arctic Institute). The presentations during the 14 PLS will be published in the Yearbook of Polar Law vol.14, its special editors being Director Shibata and Dr. Yelena Yermakova, PCRC Senior Research Fellow (November 2021 - August 2022).

    <Relevant Information>
    14th Polar Law Symposium
    < >

  • March 19, 2021

    At the 13th Polar Law Symposium, many issues and approaches identified as our future research agenda for ArCS II International Law Research Program .

    Official 13 PLS website.
    Thanking the 354 registered participants
    and welcoming again at 2021 14th PLS.

    The Polar Law Symposium (PLS) is the one and only annual academic gathering specifically addressing polar legal and policy issues. For the first time in its 13-year history , PLS has come to Asia as Professor Akiho Shibata, the Principal Investigator of ArCS II Research Program on International Law (2020-25), convened its 13th Symposium from 9-30 November 2020, held entirely online due to COVID-19. 13th PLS was logistically supported by Kobe University Polar Cooperation Research Centre (PCRC), where Professor Shibata serves as its Director. The Planning Committee of the Symposium consisted of Japanese and international experts representing diverse fields, including Professor Enomoto, a glaciologist, from NIPR, who is the Project Director of ArCS II, and Professors Nishimoto and Osakada, who are the members of ArCS II International Law Research Program. The 13 PLS program from its initial planning phase incorporated the intention of the organisers in contributing also to the research agenda of ArCS II (see the final program ). The PLS has a long-standing culture of encouraging the academic engagement of early-career scholars in polar law, which is shared also by the objective of ArCS II. Thus, under the funding from ArCS II and other sponsors, Kobe PCRC was able to provide fellowships to 17 early-career scholars selected based on their abstracts. The fellows assisted the Planning Committee in establishing the panels, organizing and chairing online seminars, and drafting reports. One such fellow was Dr. Kanako UZAWA, one of the very few researchers with Ainu origin and a doctoral student from UiT Arctic University of Norway, and also a research collaborator in ArCS II International Law Research Program. She made an oral presentation on “Peoples of the North: Ainu in Japan and Sami in Norway”. Her research made it clear that the studies on Arctic indigenous peoples would contribute to the betterment of the life of Ainu people in Hokkaido, Japan.

    Under ArCS II, an interdisciplinary approach linking natural sciences with international legal and policy studies to achieve Arctic sustainability is strongly promoted. An effort to apply such interdisciplinary methods was made in a Panel on Policy-Law-Science Nexus in Polar Regions, co-convened by Professor Shibata (international lawyer) and Professor Enomoto (glaciologist), with four online seminars under it. One seminar examined the drafting process and its institutional settings of the 2019 IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere , where two insiders, Professor Sandra Cassotta (lawyer) from Aalborg University, Denmark, and Professor Enomoto, presented their experiences in drafting this influential report. Through the presentations and discussion, it has come to our knowledge that, within the legal and procedural framework, the scientific knowledge would need to be reflected in the final report maintaining a delicate balance between scientific objectivity and political considerations of the governments. Another seminar focused on the updates of the work and agenda of the Arctic Council. Under ArCS II, Japanese government and scientists try to contribute towards the Arctic sustainable development through their engagements in AC Working Groups. In this context, Dr. Gosia Smieszeck’s presentation on the recent changes in the AC work culture was particularly important. She argued that the work culture of the AC has recently been changing from original “bottom-up approach” to recent “top-down approach”, between the Working Groups, science-oriented bodies at the bottom, and the Senor Arctic Officials (SAO) and Ministerial Meetings, policy-oriented bodies at the top. Professor Shibata, with two early-career scholars from China and Korea, made a joint presentation on the Arctic Science Cooperation Agreement, and its recent practice regarding its Conference of the Parties (COP), the Agreement’s implementation forum. It has come to our knowledge that we need to carefully monitor the practice under COP in order for the Asian countries and their scientists to contribute in the Agreement’s implementation, taking into consideration also the needs of non-Arctic states and their scientists. Professor Kobayashi, an ArCS II International Law Research Program member, made a presentation, along with two other early-career scholars, on how scientific and technological advancements would affect the formation and interpretation of international law applicable in the Arctic.

    ZOOM Webinar on Arctic plastic problems held live on 26 November.

    Another interesting interdisciplinary event was a live open lecture on “Plastic Arctic: How does law deal with the emerging threat of Arctic plastic pollution”, by Dr. Seita Romppanen of Eastern Finland University. This event was co-convened by ArCS II Research Programs on International Law and Marine Sciences, the latter led by Dr. Eiji Watanabe of JAMSTEC. A discussant in the lecture was Dr. Junko Toyoshima of Ocean Policy Research Institute of Sasagawa Peace Foundation, a research collaborator in the Marine Sciences Research Program, where she introduced her recent experience in monitoring marine plastics onboard the Japanese research vessel MIRAI in October 2020. After a lively discussion among the panelists and with the floor, Kobe PCRC, led by Seninor Research Fellow, Dr. Kie Abe, decided to draft a Fact Sheet based on this lecture.

    Yearbook of Polar Law,
    only peer-reviewed yearbook
    in the area of polar law.
    From 2020 Professor Shibatais

    During the 13 PLS, Professor Kentaro Nishimoto of NIPR has organized three online live seminars under the Panel on the Future of Arctic Ocean Governance, with several important topics of interests also for Japanese industries and businesses, such as the regulation of the Northern Sea Routes, Arctic shipping, and the legal framework for Arctic Ocean governance. Professors Makoto Seta of Yokohama City University and Yurika Ishii of National Defense Academy have made their oral presentations. Another interest for Japanese industries and businesses was a Panel on Resource Development and Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic, co-convened by Dr. Osamu Inagaki, Researcher at Kobe PCRC and Dr. Mami Furuhata, Assistant Professor at Kobe PCRC. Professor Yuko Osakada of Chukyo University has organized a Panel on Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic and held three online seminars before, during and after the Symposium. During the 5-year period of ArCS II, it is expected that International Law Research Program will hold an international workshop focusing on Arctic Ocean governance in 2022 and one focusing on Arctic indigenous peoples and sustainable development in 2023, before concluding with a wrap up international symposium in 2024. Kobe PCRC will host again the 14th Polar Law Symposium in 2021 and maintain the academic and personal connections established through 13 PLS to further elaborate the research agenda under ArCS II.

    The academic presentations during the 13 PLS can be published, after rigorous peer review, in the Yearbook of Polar Law . It is expected some of the presentations made by our Japanese colleagues will be submitted to the Yearbook for possible publication. It is also important that the research outputs from ArCS II be published in well-known international journals, so as to appeal our research in the international academic circles. Professor Shibata has become a co-editor-in-chief of Yearbook of Polar Law from its 12th volume in 2020.

    <Relevant Information>
    Article by Mami FURUHATA, in Current Developments in Arctic Law
    < >
    Official website of the 13th Polar Law Symposium
    < >

  • March 5, 2020

    International Seminar on Arctic Commons, Arctic Council and Indigenous Peoples

    This seminar is the finale of the Arctic legal and policy studies at Polar Cooperation Research Centre (PCRC) under the first phase of ArCS project 2015-20. Utilising the international research network that PCRC was able to establish during the period, Arctic law and policy experts and early-career scholars from Russia, Canada, Finland, Norway, United Kingdom and Japan gathered at Kobe University, Japan, to discuss the sustainable use of the Arctic ocean and its resources, the institutional developments of the Arctic Council, and the engagement of Arctic Indigenous Peoples in such developments. This seminar was organised in response to the cancellation of the 6th International Symposium on Arctic Research (ISAR-6) in Tokyo due to the coronavirus outbreak.

    The seminar was chaired by Director Akiho Shibata, and was attended by a conglomerate of international Arctic scholars and staff of PCRC and Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies (GSICS) of Kobe University. Lively discussions, which are the signature characteristic of the PCRC seminars and symposia, ensued in all presentations below.For the program, see this link.

    Arctic Council

    Natalia Loukacheva (University of Northern British Columbia, Canada; who was a participant in the first Arctic seminar held at Kobe University in April 2015) opened the seminar with a summary of the Arctic Council’s application of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She highlighted that since its inception in 1996, the principle of sustainable development has been integral to the work of the Arctic Council. However, while there may be a normative reference to sustainable development in all of the Council’s different working groups and other sections, Loukacheva noted that it is the respective chairmanship which defines the emphasis of the 17 SDGs on which the Arctic Council bases its work during the chairmanship. Throughout the discussions that ensued it became clear that in many instances sustainable development is nothing more than a political catch phrase without larger implications. Still, the work of the Arctic Council should be applauded for its work to implement the SDGs.

    Alexander Sergunin (St Petersburg State University, Russian Federation; who was the JSPS invited fellow received by PCRC in the summer 2016 and the visiting professor of GSICS in March 2020) presented his views on the impending Russian chairmanship of the Arctic Council, which it will take over from Iceland in 2021. Sergunin made clear that Russia will not intend to change the mandate or scope of the Arctic Council and that it will refrain from inserting hard (military) security into its work procedures. Instead, the Russian focus will rest on sustainable development, social cohesiveness and connectivity, climate change, science diplomacy and education, particularly through the University of the Arctic network. Sergunin presented two versions of Arctic Council reforms based on the Russian chairmanship. On the one hand, the moderate reform would see a strengthening of the Council’s budget, the strengthening of the Secretariat, coordination of implementing bodies and stronger linkages to other subregional Arctic bodies. A radical reform would see a much more coordinated scientific assessments on which policy decisions are based. In order to ensure proper implementation, also an implementation body would be established that would serve as a benchmark for the Council’s effectiveness.

    In his presentation, Osamu Inagaki (Kobe University, Japan; who was the assistant professor and now a researcher at PCRC from 2016) considered the ecosystem approach and its application in the work of the Arctic Council. Within the work of the Council, ecosystem-based management (EBM) is defined to be integrated and comprehensive management of human activities. To this end, the Arctic Council’s work may alleviate the sectoral and jurisdictional fragmentation of the governance of human activities in the Arctic Ocean. Inagaki showed that throughout its existence, the Arctic Council has made only limited contributions to overcome the fragmentation of governance. Instead, the Council’s main contributions are based on the conceptual and scientific aspects of the ecosystem approach. He exemplified his findings by using the work of the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) Working Group.

    Arctic Commons

    Andreas Raspotnik (University of NORD, Norway) presented an Alaska-Norwegian project that dealt with the Arctic blue economy. This three-year project aims to tackle four elements related to the blue economy — governance, maritime transportation, energy, fisheries — and represents work on a rather new economic concept that has emerged since the Rio +20 conference in 2012. Raspotnik emphasised that the blue economy, contrary to the rather blurry notion of sustainable development, is a rather straight-forward concept since it maximises the economic value of the marine environment in a sustainable manner, seeks to promote economic growth, social inclusion, and the preservation or improvement of livelihood, and is a vision of improved wellbeing and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. The concept of the blue economy is therefore also highly relevant for the Arctic due to the strong reliance of Arctic economies on the ocean. Exemplified by Arctic fisheries, Raspotnik showed how the blue economy can be used to measure different values of the Arctic and its resources.

    Nikolas Sellheim (University of Helsinki, Finland; who was the JSPS postdoctoral fellow received by PCRC for one year from 2017-18) presented the different work areas of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and its relevance for Arctic whaling. While providing a broad overview of the IWC and the problems it has faced since the adoption of a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982, he showed how Arctic whaling is marked by significant differences in perception by other nations: on the one hand, Arctic whaling is marked by aboriginal subsistence, which is perceived as being necessary and environmentally sound. On the other hand, Arctic commercial whaling, conducted by Iceland and Norway, is considered obsolete and environmentally harmful. While that may be so, the way forward in the IWC has become a matter of fundamental differences amongst its members: while some want to keep its mandate limited to whaling, others see it evolving towards a more integrated organisation dealing with issues of blue economy, climate change and whaling. Particularly in light of Japan’s withdrawal from the organisation in 2019, this issue will remain on the IWC’s agenda.

    The last presentation was held byRomain Chuffart (Durham University, UK; who was a PCRC research fellow for 5 months in 2018-19). Chuffart dealt with the environmental impact assessments (EIA) in different Arctic jurisdictions. He showed that EIAs have been a rather fundamental aspect of modern Arctic cooperation, even before the establishment of the Arctic Council in 1996. While that may be so, Chuffart also showed that Arctic governance has merely provided guidance in applying EIAs across Arctic jurisdictions and that bodies such as the Arctic Council have thus far failed to provide for ‘harder’ legal instruments that would find their way into national law. Consequently, discussions arose around the question of how soft-law bodies such as the Arctic Council can contribute to making EIAs legally normative standards and how Arctic governance should respond in light of non-implementation of EIAs.

    Russia’s Arctic Strategies: the prospects for international cooperation

    A lecture on Russia’s Arctic Strategies was delivered by Prof Alexander Sergunin (St Petersburg State University, Russian Federation). Sergunin opened his seminar by presenting and rebutting stereotypes and myths on Russian Arctic policies, such as Russia being an expansionist power or Russia focusing on hard (military) security in the Arctic. He showed that Russia’s Arctic policies are driven by nuanced and well thought-through approaches to the Arctic, its environment and peoples and that Russian Arctic strategies are driven by climate change mitigation, by making it Russia’s strategic resources basis, by the need for implementing sustainable development in the Russian Arctic, and by making the Arctic a region of peace and international cooperation.

    After all, Sergunin made clear that the state of the environment in the Russian Arctic is deeply concerning for the Russian government and the degree of pollution constitutes a threat to its integrity. He noted that a staggering 15% of the Russian Arctic territory is considered polluted or contaminated. In order to tackle these problems, it is in the Russian interest to primarily focus on soft security challenges rather than fostering military security. The main soft security challenges therefore relate to climate change, environmental protection and restoration, the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and nuclear safety. At the same time, sustainable development of the Russian Arctic ranges high on the Russian Arctic agenda. In order to achieve sustainable development, Russian priorities focus on economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable development.

    At the same time, also hard security issues play a role in Russian Arctic strategies. However, Sergunin showed that while in the past, Russian Arctic military capabilities were a response to the East-West conflict, the current military use is for the protection of regional economic players from a multitude of threats. This means also that numerically there is no military build-up in the Russian Arctic, but rather a modernisation of the Russian military to be able to respond to the current and emerging diverse threats. The functions of the Russian military in the Arctic are currently therefore:

    (1) to ascertain coastal states’ sovereignty over their EEZs and continental shelves in the region, including disputable areas; (2) to protect the Arctic countries’ economic interests in the North, including mineral and bio-resources, fighting smuggling and poaching; (3) to be prepared to prevent potential terrorist attacks against critical industrial and infrastructural objects, including oil and platforms, nuclear plants, and nuclear waste storages; (4) to fulfil some dual-use functions, such as search and rescue operations, monitoring air and maritime spaces, providing navigation safety, and mitigating natural and man-made catastrophes; (5) to help the academic community in conducting Arctic research with its unique technical capabilities; and (6) to carry some symbolic functions.

    In light of these new developments, the Russian government wishes to expand its cooperation with other Arctic actors on a multitude of issues. These include the finalisation and resolution of legal issues with Canada and Denmark on the Lomonosov Ridge and Mendeleev elevation, finding long-term regulations for traversing of the Northern Sea Route, harmonisation of nationallegislation in accordance with the Polar Code and making it transparent and understandable, and, more broadly, environmental protection and monitoring, search and rescue operations, and oil spills response and mitigating man-made disasters.

    Sergunin concluded that the emerging Russian Arctic policy consensus is based on the assumption that the Arctic cooperative agenda could include the following areas: climate change mitigation, environmental protection, emergency situations, air and maritime safety (including the Polar Code implementation, charting safe maritime routes and cartography), search and rescue operations, Arctic research, indigenous peoples, cross- and trans-border cooperative projects, culture. Furthermore, it is likely that in the foreseeable future Moscow’s policies in the region will be predictable and pragmatic rather than aggressive or spontaneous. In contrast with the stereotype of Russia as a revisionist power in the North, Moscow will continue to pursue a double-faceted strategy in the region: On the one hand, Russia will continue to defend its legitimate economic and political interests in the region. On the other hand, Moscow is open to cooperation with foreign partners that are willing to partake in exploiting the North’s natural resources, developing sea routes and solving numerous socio-economic and environmental problems of the region.

  • AY 2019 (April 2019〜March 2020)
  • March 31, 2019

    Major Research Results from AY 2019 (final year of ArCS)

    Romain Chuffart and Akiho Shibata eds., "International Law for Sustainability in Arctic Resource Development" in Polar Record, Cambridge University Press, February 2020. Romain Chuffart and Akiho Shibata, guest editors, Polar Record Special Issue on International Law for Sustainability in Arctic Resource Development, Cambridge University Press, March 2020. This Special Issue is based on the presentations at PCRC’s fourth symposium of the same title in December 2018. It includes an editorial by the co-guest editors and papers from multidisciplines examining the legal and policy issues surrounding Arctic mineral resource development, focusing on those undergoing in Greenland and Russia. At the end of the ArCS research period (Oct. 2015 - March 2020), this academic achievement is truly a highlight of international legal and policy studies undertaken under ArCS project at Kobe PCRC. Romain Chuffart is a former PCRC research fellow and is now a LL.D. candidate at Durham University in United Kingdom.

    北極の人間と社会 Shinichiro Tabata and Masanori Goto eds.,Humans and Societies in the Arctic: Towards Sustainability, in Japanese, Hokkaido University Press, March 2020. Osamu Inagaki, PCRC fellow, and Sakiko Hataya, LL.D. candidate at GSICS, Kobe University, contributed a chapter on “Arctic Council” in this book, entitled “Humans and Societies in the Arctic: Towards Sustainability” (in Japanese). This book is a compilation of research results under ArCS project’s Theme 7 on “Humans and Societies”. Director Shibata also contributed a chapter on “Bringing Legal Orders in the Arctic”.

    Final seminar under ArCS project on Arctic Commons, Arctic Council and Indigenous Peoples
    The report from this seminar is now available .
    This seminar is the finale of the Arctic legal and policy studies at Polar Cooperation Research Centre (PCRC) under the first phase of ArCS project 2015-20. Utilising the international research network that PCRC was able to establish during the period, Arctic law and policy experts and early-career scholars from Russia, Canada, Finland, Norway, United Kingdom and Japan gathered at Kobe University, Japan, to discuss the sustainable use of the Arctic ocean and its resources, the institutional developments of the Arctic Council, and the engagement of Arctic Indigenous Peoples in such developments.

  • List of publications in AY 2019AY 2019 (April 2019 to March 2020)

    December 3, 2019

    PCRC-ArCS Special Sessions at the 12th Polar Law Symposium in Hobart

    On December 3, 2019, many polar academics and participants of this year’s Polar Law Symposium held at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (University of Tasmania) in Hobart attended the double special session on Arctic legal and policy research. This special session was co-organized by Kobe University’s Polar Cooperation Research Centre (PCRC) and the Arctic Challenge for Sustainability (ArCS), Japan’s flagship programme for Arctic research with the financial support from JSPS KAKEN-HI, and Kobe University Center for Social Systems Innovation (KUSSI). Chaired by PCRC Director and Professor of International Law at Kobe University’s Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Prof. Akiho Shibata, this special session brought together Arctic legal experts and aimed at discussing the future agenda of ArCS for the period 2020-2025 and beyond. True to its core values to foster academic excellence and talent, Kobe University’s PCRC has always aimed to be a Toryumon (登龍門), a Japanese concept that translates into “gateway to success” in English, for early-career researchers. To achieve this ambitious goal, the PCRC allocated research and travel grants to provide support for early careers to present their research the Polar Law Symposium. As Kobe University’s PCRC is preparing to host the next Polar Law Symposium, the PCRC intends to showcase and to use the topics during both panels at the symposium in November 2020.

    Dr. Kentaro Nishimoto, a Professor of International Law at the School of Law at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan was the first speaker to take the floor as he presented his research on Japan’s future Arctic policy for the next five years. He discussed Japan’s broader ocean policy and its three pillars of research & development, international cooperation, and sustainable use of resources. He then discussed Japan’s Arctic Challenge for Sustainability (ArCS) program and questioned if it was successful in its aim to generate new and innovative research in the humanities and social sciences using natural science outcomes. He expects a similar initiative to be approved for the years 2020-2025 to more closely look at the changes in the environment. Involved in formulation of Post-ArCS project, considered as the backbone for Arctic research in Japan, Dr. Nishimoto identified the three pillars of the policy document, namely research and development; international cooperation and sustainable use. He stresses the importance of interdisciplinary research in the Arctic and suggests the development of mechanisms enabling meaningful discussions across different fields. The focus of ArCS has traditionally been natural sciences (7 out of 8 ArCS themes) with an emphasis on scientific knowledge as the basis for international law-making. According to Dr. Nishimoto, the next challenges for the post-ArCS phase is to develop an interdisciplinary approach to Arctic issues. This could include developing new methodologies, listening to researchers from other disciplines and, most importantly, having mechanisms in place for these meaningful discussions to happen. From a purely legal science perspective, Dr. Nishimoto emphasized the need for Japanese law scholars to reach outside of their traditional fields of expertise. One striking example is that there are many excellent Law of the Sea specialists in Japan but almost no indigenous rights scholars.

    After this excellent summary of Arctic legal research in Japan by Dr. Nishimoto, Dr. Betsy Baker, Executive Director of the North Pacific Research Board talked about networking between regional and national Arctic science programs. Building on the work of groups like the FisCAO (Scientific experts on Fish Stocks in the CAO) and ICES/PICES PAME Working Group on Integrated Ecosystem Assessment for the CAO that are already focused on how to build a science program for the region, her presentation focused on legal and policy research recommendations regarding the CAO Fisheries Agreement (CAOFA). According to Dr. Baker, there is no efficient management regime without adequate scientific research and scientific research pertaining to the CAOFA should be encouraged. She further pointed out that the joint program of scientific research and monitoring will include scientific and technical organizations as well as indigenous and local knowledge holders. In her presentation, Dr. Baker also asked the practical question of how signatories to the CAOFA can actually advance scientific knowledge through the agreement. She argued that there was a need for a common science body, which includes all partners, to implement the key scientific provisions of the agreement.

    In the last presentation of the first panel aptly titled “Arctic challenge for sustainability,” Dr. Tanja Joona from the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland discussed the concepts of sustainable development and intergenerational justice. Dr. Joona gave a more nuanced and personal perspective to the panel by speaking about the importance of teaching the next generation about sustainable use of resources. While climate change is shaping the future of the Arctic, it also creates challenges for future generations within Arctic indigenous communities. Competing industries, such as windmill farms and the Arctic Railroad project, are putting the traditional livelihoods of indigenous peoples at risk. The risks taken by present generations are imposed on future generations. She raised the question of knowing how to balance present generations’ rights and the rights of future generations. She illustrated the theoretical intergenerational approach with daily life examples of use of traditional knowledge by children. Traditional knowledge is passed on naturally because youth often follow and mime what adults do. She pointed out that contact and life with nature was of utmost importance to understand the way climate change is shaping the Arctic and creating new challenges for future generations (e.g. reduced number of reindeers, threats to pastures). Dr. Joona emphasized that sustainable use of nature is an integral part of Sàmi life, but the development of competing industries, such as the Arctic coast railroad hinders Sàmi sustainable ways of living. In legal terms, Dr. Joona concluded by going back to the concept of intergenerational equity. To her, the most important question is to know how to balance the rights claims of the people alive today against the rights claims of future generations. The risks taken today will turn out to be the challenges imposed on future generations.

    The presentations were followed by an interesting panel discussion. Dr. Nishimoto reemphasized the need for increased cooperation between different research fields in developing the next phase of ArCS in order to have a better policy-law- science nexus in Arctic research both within and outside Japan. Dr. Joona stressed that adaptive governance enables to respond to the severe consequences of changes in the Arctic. She further pointed out the need to balance the opportunities and challenges. Ultimately, she concluded that it is not because there are economic opportunities that one should take them. Opportunities should be balance in light of the negative impacts they create. Answering a question from the audience, she gave the example of windmill development in Northern Finland. At first windmills can be seen as a positive development toward renewable energy. However, in the area where there are being developed, they disrupt traditional reindeer herding practices. A question was then raised about the change in the role of science within Central Arctic Fisheries Agreement. According to Dr. Baker, there is a commitment in the CAOFA to sustainability and precaution which is more explicit than in other regional fisheries management organizations. Nonetheless, a greater inclusion of indigenous knowledge is needed in the CAOFA. It has also been mentioned during the panel discussion that search and rescue, emergency, preparedness and response are covering the legal perspective.

    After a morning tea break in the beautiful IMAS gallery with a view of Hobart harbor in the background, the PCRC-ArCS special session reconvened in Aurora for its second panel. Senior Fellow at Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, Dr. Baozhi Cheng was the one to kick off the second panel with a presentation titled “China. Co-progressiveness of Arctic governance and the Initiative of Polar Silk Road: From the Perspective of Normative Development.” Dr. Cheng further argued that it was of vital importance for Arctic governance to develop a coherent normative regulatory framework. Looking to potential new research in Arctic law, Dr. Cheng highlighted the need to focus on the interactions between this new paradigm of Arctic norms and existing international regulations and domestic laws of Arctic States. He concluded that from a Chinese perspective, the Polar Silk Road is a joint initiative around the development of the Northern Sea Route promoting cooperation across the Arctic region and a vision for a shared future for mankind.

    Following Dr Cheng, Ms. Mana Tugend, French lawyer and recent graduate of the LL.M. in Polar Law at the University of Akureyri, Iceland presented a research she had conducted under the supervision of Dr. Dorothee Cambou, postdoctoral researcher at Helsinki University in Finland, about Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as a tool to foster sustainable development and protect/fulfill the rights of indigenous peoples. Through the analysis of the Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement (IIBA) pertaining to the Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) established in Lancaster Sound in Nunavut, Ms. Tugend explained that international environmental law and human rights law evolved to walk hand in hand. According to her, conservation of significant areas should not happen at the expense of indigenous peoples. She brought to light that, while acknowledging the aforementioned shift, the IIBA also represents an operationalization of the self-determination of the Inuit of Nunavut.

    The next presentation was a collaborative research between Mr. Romain Chuffart, doctoral candidate in law at Durham University in the UK, Ms. Sakiko Hataya, doctoral candidate in law at Kobe University, Dr. Osamu Inagaki, researcher at Kobe University’s PCRC, and Ms. Lindsay Arthur, MA candidate in Polar Law at the University of Akureyri. Their research focused on Japan’s Arctic Policy and the expanding role of Arctic Council Observer States, such as Japan. They suggested that Japan has managed to build a robust Arctic engagement through implementing Japan’s Arctic Policy although there is still some inconsistencies in the implementation of Japan’s Arctic Policy. However, improvement could still be made at the Arctic Council’s level. According to them, given Japan’s expertise, Japan could build more cooperation with ACAP and EPPR working groups as well contribute more to both SDWG and PAME Regarding the development of ArCS, the researchers pointed out that ArCS could help strengthen cooperation between various domestic stakeholders such as building bridges between the governmental level and scientific experts. ArCS can also be used to promote scientific cooperation at the international level.

    Ms. Alexandra Carlton, doctoral candidate in veterinary medicine from Sydney University, rounded up the panel presentation as she addressed the development of maritime emerging pathogenesis and diseases in the Arctic caused by the conduct of new activities, particularly in relation to fish and fisheries, and the use of new shipping routes. These new diseases are a threat to the livelihoods and health of Arctic indigenous peoples. She discussed the potential use of the SPS protocol in formulating further Arctic law. Ms. Carlton argued that it was crucial to include a humanist element when thinking of the Arctic. She highlighted that the Arctic faunal barrier is changing because of new activities occurring in the Arctic, such as new shipping routes. Most of the time, these routes coincide with indigenous hunting grounds and significant ecosystems. Although she acknowledged that warmer waters will create new opportunities (e.g. shipping routes or fishing new species), she warned that industrializing Arctic fish will have side effects, such as bycatch. Warmer waters will also bring new diseases for different fish stocks, which, in turn, will have a negative impact on the livelihoods and health of Arctic indigenous peoples. Ms. Carlton concludes that more fieldwork is needed to understand this new set of challenges and this could be new potential research pathways for Japan’s ArCS project.

    The session concluded with a productive discussion between Akiho Shibata, the panellists and the audience about the future of Japan’s Arctic research and the role of ArCS. The discussion started with a question on how Japan can contribute to the Polar Silk Road initiative. There needs to be an increase in trilateral cooperation between China, Japan and the Republic of South Korea. It is important for the three countries to understand common needs and objectives regarding the future of the Arctic, especially when it comes to shipping. Furthermore, cooperation can also be fostered through respective national involvement and areas of interests within Arctic research. As the Polar Silk Road is being developed, it is also important to take into account and to counter its potential negative effects on indigenous peoples and communities in different fields, such as conservation issues. There is a need to build channels for cooperation and make sure that indigenous peoples are not negatively affected by development of new shipping routes. Increased cooperation between researchers and indigenous communities enables reaching common understandings. The discussion also turned to Japan’s role at the Arctic Council. At present, Japan targets specific working groups. Research programs such as ArCS can create linkages between participation, involvement and research. Strategic involvement and engaging in other working groups can broaden the scope of understanding because every field of Arctic is interconnected. For example, this can be as simple as sending Japanese experts to Arctic Council’s WGs. ArCS could also help in engaging with AC Permanent Participants and do research with Indigenous researchers. Furthering the discussion on MPAs, Ms. Tugend stressed that the NMCA in Lancaster Sound could support positive social, cultural and economic changes within the Inuit communities. She further pointed out that the cooperative management of the area could be the way to ensure that the rights of the Inuit people are respected, and that the diversity of interests within the Nunavut communities is taken into account. Ultimately, Ms. Tugend brought to light that the efficiency of the cooperative management board needs to be tested in practice. Ms. Carlton argued that lawyers and natural scientists collaborate in order to create knowledge that can be used by policy makers. Furthermore, she held that there is a need to focus on the inclusion of indigenous peoples within the production of this knowledge. Research projects such as ArCS can enable this kind of inclusion through bringing different epistemic communities together.

    Reported by Mana Tugend (MA in Polar Law, University of Akureyri) and Romain Chuffart (Doctoral candidate, Durham Law School, Durham University)

    AY 2018 (April 2018〜March 2019)
  • March 31, 2018

    Major Research Results from AY 2018

    Akiho Shibata, Leilei Zou, Nikolas Sellheim, Marzia Scopelliti eds., Emerging Legal Orders in the Arctic: The Role of Non-Arctic Actors, from Routledge, April 2019. This book is based on the outcomes of PCRC 3rd Symposium on "The Role of Non-Arctic States / Actors in the Arctic Legal Order-Making", held in December 2017. The book combines the expertise of academics and practitioners in the fields of international law and Arctic governance, uniquely focusing on Asian actors in the Arctic legal order-making. The resulting study is a fascinating insight into the interplay between non-Arctic actors and the Arctic legal order, and will be invaluable to academics in the field of Arctic and international law. Please see book reviews by Nengye Liu in The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law 35 (Mar 2020) , Evan Bloom in American Journal of International Law (April 2020) , Adam Stepien in Yearbook of Polar Law (2020) , Jan Solski in Journal of International Maritime Law (2019) , by Rachael Lorna Johnstone in Polar Record (Feb. 2020) and by Elena Conde Perez in REEI (Dec. 2019) .

    Osamu Inagaki and Akiho Shibata eds., Towards an International Legal Order for the Arctic, in Japanese, from Toshindo, November 2018. This book is based on the outcomes of PCRC 2nd Symposium on "The Future Design of the Arctic Ocean Legal Order", held in July 2016. The book is organized in 4 Parts, 18 chapters, including contributions from schalrs, both from natural and social science, and practioners in the field of Arctic. This book is the first book in Japanese to examine international legal and policy issues in the Arctic comprehensively.

    List of publications in AY 2018AY 2018 (April 2018 to March 2019)

    December 17-18, 2018

    PCRC 4th International Symposium “International Law for Sustainability in Arctic Resource Development: Integrating Economic, Social, Environmental and Scientific Dimensions”

    As the year was coming to an end, more than twenty leading scholars and early-career researchers specialized in the field of polar law gathered in Kobe on December 17-18, 2018 for the now annual Polar Cooperation Research Center (PCRC) Symposium co-organized by the PCRC and the Arctic Challenge for Sustainability (ArCS project) with the financial support from JSPS KAKEN-HI, Kobe University Rokkodai Foundation, Center for Social Systems Innovation, and the Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies (GSICS).

    For its fourth symposium, the PCRC organizing committee chose to focus on international law for sustainability in Arctic resource development with special regards to the integration of the four dimensions of sustainability: the economy, society, the environment and science. This year’s symposium was special compared to previous PCRC symposia as practitioners from the business sector and natural scientists were also invited to speak during these two days. Throughout the years, the PCRC symposia have also become a Toryu-mon (a gateway for success in Japanese) for early-career scholars from around the world. This is why funding were allocated for early-career researchers to come, present their research and get involved in the discussions during this year’s symposium. With six keynote speakers and six sessions, this fourth symposium aimed once again at fostering high-level academic discussions and to engage both speakers and participants alike to talk about the interplay between sustainability and international law when it comes to non-living natural resources in the Arctic.

    On December 17, Akiho Shibata, PCRC Director and Professor of International Law, GSICS, Kobe University, kicked off the symposium in setting the stage with the theoretical framework for the conference. In his opening presentation focused on sustainability as an integrative principle laid down the foundations for the discussions to take place. He argued that there was an abundance of general rules applicable to the Arctic and that the intellectual challenge was to explore the potential of sustainability as an integrative legal principle to establish a holistic and systematic understanding of international law for mineral resource development in the Arctic. Prof. Shibata further discussed the need to identify precisely the current state of international law relevant to Arctic mineral resource development under different perspectives including human and indigenous rights law, international economic and investment law and international environmental law while taking into account the current political and social contexts surrounding the mineral resource developments in the Arctic, the current business and commercial opportunities and viability for projects in the region and the current scientific knowledge relevant to the issue.

    Following this opening session, the first keynote speaker, Professor Rachael Lorna Johnstone from the University of Akureyri (Iceland) and the University of Greenland, opened session one on sustainability in resource development and Greenland and talked about the impact international law has on natural resource governance in Greenland. She discussed sovereignty issues and mineral resources extraction in Greenland and she concluded her keynote speech by stating that Greenland is in a unique position in international law. According to her, Greenland is one of the most state-like entities in international law and changes in its position within the Kingdom of Denmark has led to swings in the distribution of competences regarding extractive industries. The evolution of the rights of colonial and indigenous peoples and the strong emphasis on indigenous sovereignty have led to shifts in power over natural resources. Following Rachael’s keynote speech, the first panel speaker was Tukummingiaq Nykjær Olsen, a M.A. student in West Nordic Studies at the University of Greenland (Ilisimatusarfik). Tukummingiaq’s presentation focused on giving both a personal and academic account of the need to include indigenous knowledge in natural resources management. Building on indigenous history, culture and traditions, Ms. Olsen drew attention to the fact that indigenous knowledge needs to be recognized and acknowledged by the academia. In a presentation titled “Changing Natural Environment and its Impact on Human Society in Greenland”, the second panel speaker, Professor Shin Sugiyama from the Institute of Low Temperature Science at Hokkaido University discussed the results of field studies he conducted in Qaanaaq in North Greenland. Prof. Sugiyama described how he and his team have tried to involve local communities in their field studies and the importance of taking their opinions, input and knowledge into account while conducting such field studies. As the Greenland ice sheet is losing more ice by the years and communities in Greenland are affected and remedies must be found. Shin also touched on several ways on sharing data with affected communities. Closing the session, Assistant Professor Minori Takahashi from Hokkaido University touched upon several ways to best enjoy the wealth created by the development of mineral resources and the politics behind sustainability in Greenland.

    The symposium reconvened in the afternoon as session two shifted the focus to the human and social dimensions of achieving sustainability. Dr. Peter Hough, associate professor at Middlesex University (UK) delivered a keynote speech on inuit culture and sustainability. The first panel speaker, Dr. Dorothé Cambou, post-doc from Helsinki University presented her research on the limit to permanent sovereignty over natural resources. Using Greenland and its duties towards the rights of indigenous communities regarding extractive entreprises, Dorothée concluded that although the people of Greenland is entitled to self-determination under international law and this is paired with a right for Greenland to exercise sovereign rights over its natural resources, the Inughuit people (North Greenland) also have specific rights as a distinct indigenous community. She further pointed out that the right of subgroups to land and natural resources must be reinforced for social sustainability to be ensured. Finally, Mr. Yu Long, PhD candidate at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China discussed the implementation of Free, Prior and Informed Consent as a contractual commitment and to what extent it is possible to reconcile indigenous interests with those of non-indigenous communities. Comparing Greenland and Canada, Mr. Long argued that FPIC could be embedded in some agreements formalising the negotiations between extractive corporations and indigenous communities and state authorities. He concluded that these agreements could play a more significant role if they were regarded as more than private instruments under contract law.

    The first symposium day ended, but speakers and participants were able to carry on their productive discussions in a more casual and relaxed atmosphere during the reception dinner where they could have a taste of kobe beef and delicious Japanese sushi.

    The second day of the symposium (December 18) started with session three on achieving sustainability from a business and economic dimension. The first keynote , Mr. Bruce Harland, co-chair of the Responsible Resource Development working group at the Arctic Economic Council and Vice President of Crowley Maritime Corporation made a presentation in which he laid out the role of the Arctic Economic Council in helping economic growth and business development in the Arctic. Following Bruce’s keynote speech, Mr. Daisuke Harada, project director and economist of the Russia Project Group at Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) made the keynote speech of the session in which he focused on the recent acceleration in Arctic oil and gas development in Russia. Discussing the potential of such developments as well as ongoing projects and challenges, he mainly focused on the Yamal LNG and Arctic LNG-2 projects. Mr. Harada offered a well-balanced analysis by assessing the high potential of hydrocarbon resources in the Arctic and the viability of such project developments as well as Japanese interests in the region.

    Shifting the focus towards international and economic law, session three’s first panel speaker, Prof. Tomohiko Kobayashi from Otaru University of Commerce talked about the lessons that can be learnt from subsidies rule negotiations at the WTO. According to him, safety of maritime trade is essential for sustainable resource development in the Arctic region. He posited that existing international norms do not address the current needs and government support is imperative to develop technologies to build large scale vessels that can navigate throughout the Arctic oceans. The second panel speaker, Mr. Kong Soon Lim, pupil in chambers at Messrs Dorairaj, Low & Teh, Advocates & Solicitors in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia offered an overview of international investment law in the Arctic and argued for the creation of an Arctic-specific investment regime in order to promote and protect investments in the region by minimising regulatory and political risks whilst observing principles of sustainable development. The last panel speaker, Mr. Egill Thor Nielsson, executive secretary of China-Nordic Arctic Research Centre discussed the relations between China and the Nordic countries especially within the context of non-living natural resource development. Mr. Nielsson argued that sustainability has been put forward as a key factor in relations between the Nordic countries and China and this is further enhanced by building on existing collaborations in various fields such as politics, science and economic development.

    Session four explored the two last dimensions of achieving sustainability, namely the environment and science. Dr. Hitomi Kimura, associate professor at Otsuma Women's University gave an overview of the different legal environmental regimes throughout the Arctic as her keynote speech touched upon the role of international environmental law for the Arctic and domestic environmental law in both Greenland and Yamal. The first panel speaker, Dr. Mika Okochi, associate professor et Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology followed suit and talked about the establishment of safety management systems (SMS) to ensure sustainable oil and gas exploitation in the Arctic. Using Yamal as a case study, Dr. Okochi concluded that establishing SMSs and Health, Environment and Safety Management System (HSEMS) was crucial as they would provide up-to-date international safety and environment protection standards for sustainable exploitation by international organisations and companies. Following Dr. Okochi, Ms. Joëlle Klein, junior researcher at the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland, Finland presented a co-research that had been conducted with Mr. Romain Chuffart, PCRC Research Fellow and PhD candidate at the University of Lapland about the legal potential of environment impact assessment (EIA) procedures for achieving sustainability in Arctic natural resource development. Ms. Klein argued that such harmonisation could help establish baseline data, monitor cumulative and long term impacts, clarify the participation of local and indigenous communities as well as incorporate international human rights law. Session four’s last panel speaker, Ms. Daria Shvets, PhD candidate at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain focused on balancing the freedom to lay submarine cables and mining activities in the Arctic through the lens of sustainability. Ms. Shvets’ conclusion was that mining and submarine cables are two essential activities exercised on the continental shelves of Arctic states. According to her, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea gives general overview and does not address cable crossing. Ms. Shvets argued for the creation of specific regional regulations within the framework of the Arctic Council’s Task Force on Telecommunications Infrastructure in the Arctic.

    The final session concluded this year’s symposium as keynote speaker Prof. Nigel Bankes from the University of Calgary, Canada and University of Tromsø, Norway integrated all the dimensions of sustainability together with a sharp analysis on how international law puts constraints on states in the development of their natural resources. Finally, Prof. Fujio Onishi completed this final session in focusing on sustainability from the viewpoint of political science and on the complex task of constructing integration at the institutional, legal and academic levels. Prof. Onishi concluded on the potential of sustainability as an integrative legal principle and the need to establish a holistic and systematic understanding of international law for mineral resource development in the Arctic. Prof. Shibata wrapped up the symposium by thanking the speakers and the participants for a productive symposium and by congratulating all staff members, GSICS PhD and MA students for their work and dedication that led to such a successful symposium.

    Reported by Romain F.R. Chuffart, PCRC Research Fellow

  • AY 2017 (April 2017〜March 2018)
  • March 31, 2017

    Major Research Results from AY 2017

    Sellheim, N., Zou, L., Inagaki, O., "Legal ‘Arctopia’? How Arctic Governance Expresses a Better World," Arctic Yearbook 2017, pp. 415-427. This article tries to verify the emergence of an "Arctopia" by examining the development of the Arctic governance including legally binding instruments under auspices of the Arctic Council, and the Arctic policies in Japan and China. In this article, an "Arctopia" means a good Arctic in contrast to the Arctic of disasters.

    Akiho Shibata, "Emerging Prominence in the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation: Implications to Japan's Marine Scientific Research in the Russian Waters" [in Japanese]Ocean Newsletter, Vol.421 (20 February 2018). This short letter finds the significance of the 3rd Agreement under the Arctic Council and its implications to Japan.

    List of publications in AY 2017AY 2017 (April 2017 to March 2018)

    December 7-9, 2017

    PCRC 3rd International Symposium "International Symposium The Role of Non-Arctic States / Actors in the Arctic Legal Order-Making"

    On December 7-9, 2017, Polar Cooperation Research Centre (PCRC) hosted its Third International Symposium, where leading international scholars in Polar Law, early career researchers from six different countries and Indigenous representatives have exchanged views on the role of external stakeholders in the Arctic Legal Order-making. Organized with four keynote speeches and six main sessions, the symposium aimed at engaging its participants in a robust discussion on the future of Arctic governance and on how Non-Arctic States and Actors can contribute to the creation of a comprehensive and sustainable Arctic legal order.

    Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General Emeritus of the IMO, set the stage for the first session’s discussion about global Arctic shipping governance , with a keynote address on non-Arctic States contributions to the formation and implementation of the Polar Code, entered into force on January 2017. Following Sekimizu, Rasmus Bertelsen, Professor of UiT The Arctic University of Norway and JSPS invited fellow at the PCRC, reflected on the key role that epistemic communities play in building transnational knowledge networks and institutions, highlighting their importance in addressing the complexities of global Arctic shipping governance. Alexander Sergunin, Professor of St. Petersburg State University and the first of four discussants invited for this session, examined potential pathways for Japan-Russia cooperation in the implementation of the Polar Code. He further referred to the legislative changes required at the national level for a smooth operationalization of the International Code. In his presentation, Piotr Graczyk, a PhD research fellow at UiT, discussed Arctic shipping governance from an institutional perspective, identifying potential mechanisms for the interaction and communication between the Arctic Council and IMO. Following Graczyk, Kentaro Nishimoto, Associate Professor of Tohoku University, commented on the role of international law in adaptive global Arctic governance, underlying the structural challenges that the present legal regime on Arctic shipping faces in its interplay with unilateral and regional legal initiatives. Concluding the session with a look from the private sector, Captain Chin Eng Ang, Technical Director of the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), assessed the economic viability and sustainability for Singapore’s business operators of complying with the Polar Code’s standards and regulation.

    Session two focused on the Central Arctic Ocean Fisheries. Providing a unique record of the most recent legal development concerning regional governance, several Speakers discussed their experience as negotiators in the Five-Plus-Five Process that led to the draft Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean. Erik J. Molenaar, Professor from Utrecht University, examined the Five-plus-Five Process in the context of the evolving international law relating to the sea and the Arctic. Joji Morishita, Professor from Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, highlighted the role of non-Arctic States by looking into the transition of the focus in the Five-plus-Five Process. Elena Kienko, PhD student of MGIMO University, presented on the cooperation between the Arctic and non-Arctic States in the conservation and management of Arctic marine living resources. Finally, Geir Honneland, Director of the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, rounded out the discussion with a presentation on fisheries management regimes in Western Arctic.

    The second day of the Symposium opened with a session on Non-Arctic Influence on Arctic Customary Laws and Institutions. Hosting for the first time representatives of Indigenous communities, Dalee Dorough, Associate Professor at University of Alaska Anchorage, discussed the recognition and respect of Indigenous human rights norms as the basis for a genuine collaboration between Arctic Indigenous Peoples, and Arctic and non-Arctic stakeholders. Aytalina Ivanova and Florian Stammler, Research Docent at North Eastern Federal University and Professor at the University of Lapland respectively, pointed out that Non-Arctic influence in the region is historically rooted in an interest in resources. Referring to both the resettlement projects established throughout the Soviet era and the current influence of extractive companies in the Russian Arctic, the discussants reflected on the concept of reciprocity and the relations between the humans living in the Russian Arctic and newcomers.

    Session four built around a co-chaired and truly interdisciplinary panel focused on Policy-Relevant Science within the context of the Arctic, where different members of the ArCS project presented their insight on this topic. Malgorzata Smieszek, a researcher at the Arctic Centre, took on the task of introducing the concept of boundary organizations, setting the theoretical background underpinning the presentations of following discussants. PCRC director Akiho Shibata drew attention on the nexus policy-science and on how science and policy-making cycles interact. Finally, integrated by the contributions of Hajime Kimura, project engineer, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and Naomi Harada, deputy director of RCGC, JAMSTEC, the panel presented the progresses of their case study based on marine research activities and the use of Value Tree Analysis in the context of the Japanese Arctic policy.

    The last day of the symposium began with the keynotes speeches of Keiji Ide, Japan’s Ambassador in Charge of Arctic Affairs, and Timo Koivurova, Director of the Arctic Centre, introducing a session on the role of observers in the Arctic Council. Referring to the contribution that Japan can make to Arctic cooperation, Ambassador Ide stressed the need for a close dialogue and coordination among external and internal stakeholders in the Arctic region as a necessary step to promote the formation of a unanimous legal order in the Arctic. Professor Koivurova gave an overview of the evolving governance landscape of the Arctic, particularly looking at how the participation of observers will be organized under the current Finnish Chairmanship. Following two keynote speeches, Sebastian Knecht, a fellow at the Berlin Graduate School for Transnational Studies, assessed the actual contributions of Non-Arctic States to the Arctic Council and its subsidiary bodies, taking AMAP as a case study. Once again providing a much needed institutional perspective, Piotr Graczyk discussed the relevance and application of the rules and procedures developed within the Arctic Council to accommodate new observers. Revisiting the Chinese engagement with the Arctic Council, Yuanyuan Ren, S.J.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin Law School, argued that China could improve its role as an observer by paying closer attention to the work of the AC’s Working Groups and Task Forces and by organizing its delegation to the Council more accurately. The session concluded with the presentation of Marzia Scopelliti, a research fellow at PCRC, who addressed the contradictory case of the European Union as a de facto observer to the Arctic Council, not officially recognized as an observer but actively involved in the Council’s work and proceedings.

    The final session of the symposium focused on Asian States/Actors in the Arctic Legal Order-making. Aki Tonami, Associate Professor at the University of Tsukuba, introduced the role of Asian countries and stakeholders in developing an international normative and institutional framework for a stable Arctic, discussing the topic from an International Relations’ theory perspective. Jian Yang, Vice President of Shanghai Institute for International Studies, gave new keys for reading and interpreting the still-in-progress Chinese Arctic policy. The discussion concluded with the presentation of Wonsang Seo, a Principal Research Scientist of the Korea Polar Research Institute, who introduced Korea’s Arctic policy and positions on the Arctic Legal Oder-making, completing a sharp overview of the interests and potential contributions from the Asian States in a fast-changing and complex Arctic governance. Finally, congratulations to all GSICS PhD and Master’s students, who have tirelessly worked for a successful symposium!

  • AY 2016 (April 2016〜March 2017)
  • March 31, 2016

    Major Research Results from AY 2016

    Akiho Shibata and Raita Maiko, "An Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation: Only for the Eight Arctic States and Their Scientists?", Yearbook of Polar Law, Vol.8 (2017). This paper makes a critical analysis to the Agreement on Enhancing International Scientific Cooperation in the Arctic, based on the Oslo Draft of February 2015. It finds that non-Arctic States and their scientists, who have substantial interests under international law and the Arctic scientific community, do not benefit from the improved legal environment for Arctic science under the Agreement.

    List of publications in AY 2016AY 2016 (April 2016 to March 2017)

    July 28-29, 2016

    2nd international symposium organized by the PCRC "The Future Design of the Arctic Ocean Legal Order"

    Leading experts in Polar Law gathered at Kobe University on Jul 27-28 to discuss the future design of the Arctic Ocean Legal Order. Japan’s Ambassador in Charge of Arctic Affairs, Kazuko Shiraishi, gave the keynote address for the Centre’s second international symposium on Japan’s Arctic Policy and it’s challenges. With the topic of the symposium specifically on the future design of the Arctic Ocean legal order, the perspective from several of the Arctic ocean coastal states were represented including Russia, the US, Norway and Canada. Following Ambassador Shiraishi, JSPS invited fellow to the PCRC, Alexander Sergunin, presented on the Russian approaches to an emerging Arctic Ocean Legal Order. Paul Berkman, Director of the Arctic Futures Initiative (AFI) , discussed the growing global relevance of the Arctic Ocean and the concept of building common interests in the region amidst competing national agendas, and focusing on the need to balance governance with assets. Rounding out the first session on Actors in the Arctic Ocean Legal Order-Making, Fujio Ohnishi, Assistant Professor at the College of International Relations at Nihon University, discussed his perspective on the new US led mode in the Arctic of “compartmentalized multilateralism” which Ohnishi characterized as a more pan-Arctic and inclusive leadership style in the Arctic.

    Session two focused on the Forums for the Arctic Ocean Legal Order-Making. Brian Israel, Legal Adviser for the U.S. Department of State, discussed his perspective on both the form and function in the future of Arctic marine cooperation by drawing on his experience as Co-Chair of the Arctic Council’s Task Force on Arctic Marine Cooperation . Speaking from his experience as the Director-General at the Japanese National Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries and his current role as Head of Delegation to the A5+5 Meeting on the High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean, Joji Morishita discussed a topic of great interest to all attendees: the development of new fisheries management in the Arctic high seas. Morishita pointed out a rare development in global fisheries management happening in the Central Arctic Ocean where environmental protection measures and scientific research are preceding the development of commercial fisheries. Following Morishita, Tore Henriksen, a GSICS visiting professor from the University of Tromsø, took on the large task of covering institutional approaches to future governance of the Arctic Ocean. Henriksen drew attention to the need for more integrated and holistic approaches to governance by bridging sectors and jurisdictions through adopting an ecosystem management mindset to Arctic governance. Kamrul Hossain, Associate Professor from the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, discussed indigenous peoples and norm-making in the development of the Arctic legal regime. Hossain pointed out how the unique role of indigenous people as equal stakeholders in the consensus-based decision-making process of the Arctic Council has elevated the Arctic as an example of how indigenous people are increasing in influence in the international law-making process.

    Session three touched on the theme of Regionalism within Universalism. Opening the session, Viatcheslav Gavrilov, Professor from Far Eastern Federal University in Russia, discussed the need for a mix of Political and Legal instruments congruent with universal and regional regulation goals required to face the challenges of the future Arctic. Fresh from the most recent meeting on Arctic scientific cooperation held shortly before this symposium, PCRC director Akiho Shibata discussed preliminary details of the new treaty now under negotiation from the Arctic Council’s Scientific Cooperation Task Force . Shibata revealed optimism for the level of inclusiveness and good will expressed in the new treaty, including consideration for non-Arctic Observer States to the Arctic Council such as Japan. A specific goal of the PCRC under the guiding mandate of the Arctic Challenge for Sustainably Project (ArCS) is to foster understanding between the natural science and social science researchers. Takashi Kikuchi, Deputy Director for the Institute of Arctic Climate and Environment Research (IACE), JAMSTEC, provided much needed perspective from the natural sciences by describing the technology used for Arctic scientific observation as well as the challenges and opportunities for international scientific collaboration in the Arctic Ocean.

    The final main session of the symposium focused on Ecosystem Approaches. Betsy Baker, Professor at the Vermont School of Law in the United States, discussed a “Neighborhood Approach” to Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) in the Arctic. Baker drew attention to the concept of how a larger network of interrelated ecosystems can act as an Arctic-wide cooperation mechanism with co-benefits for the Arctic region. Following Baker, Suzanne Lalonde, Professor from the University of Montreal in Canada, discussed the challenges facing a Pan-Arctic Network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Based on her preliminary research on the topic, Lalonde advocated for action not just the establishment, but the development and ongoing management of Arctic MPAs. Lalonde’s research presented the group with a general discussion over the need to better define the various roles of MPAs as they are often misunderstood to the detriment of their use and effectiveness. To finish the fourth session, brief presentations were given by Assistant Professor of the PCRC, Osamu Inagaki, regarding the inter-Institutional collaboration between the ICES and the Arctic Council for ecosystem assessment in the central Arctic Ocean Ecosystem; and Associate Professor from Hokkaido University, Orio Yamamura, who discussed Japan’s research in the Arctic Ocean.

    The final portion of the symposium focused on the future of research and development. Co-chair of the IIASA Arctic Futures Initiative, Hannu Halinen, provided perspective from AFI for a holistic and global approach to more integrated Arctic future. The final speaker, Atsumu Ohmura, Chair of the ArCS Council and Professor emeritus from the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, gave the group a sobering picture of the climate crisis affecting the Arctic region, and concluded by stressing the need for further integration and understanding between the fields of natural and social sciences in order to addresses the urgent global climate crisis in the Arctic and beyond.

    July 13, 2016

    Professor Sergunin's  Seminar "Arctic Cooperation: Challenges and Opportunities"

    On July 13, the PCRC convened an international seminar by Professor Alexander Sergunin, Visiting Professor of GSICS, entitled "Arctic Cooperation: Challenges and Opportunity." In the presentation, Professor Sergunin examined the negative impacts of the Ukranian Crisis on the Arctic cooperation including the activities of the Arctic council and the potential areas for future Arctic Cooperation. He also mentioned the possible strategies to achieve such cooperation. After this insightful presentation, the participants of the seminar actively engaged in discussion with Professor Sergunin.  

  • AY 2015 (April 2015〜March 2016)
  • December 18-19, 2015

    International Symposium on Emerging Arctic Legal Orders in Science, Environment and the Ocean

    After Ambassador Halinen’s insightful overview of the significance and challenges of the Arctic Council in the Arctic legal-order making, the speakers and participants in the panel discussion came to share a view that the Arctic Council is now the only inter-governmental forum specifically dealing with Arctic issues but there are certain limits to what the Arctic Council can do, like Arctic high seas fisheries. It is also noted that Arctic Council members have different attitudes as to how non-Arctic States should be engaged in the work of the Arctic Council depending on the types of the meetings.

    As to Professor Johnstone’s presentation touching on the soft normative instrument such as the black carbon & methane framework allowing non-Arctic States’ participation, a view was expressed that China’s involvement might become a key to its success. Professor VanderZwaag’s presentation focused on the possible future legal order on the Arctic Ocean fisheries initiated by the five Arctic coastal States, in comparison with the still hazy prospects of the Ocean-related legal order-making in one of the task force of the Arctic Council (TFAMC), whereas a scientist, Professor Hirawake, questioned the current commercial interest in the Arctic fisheries. An interesting insight was that there might be a possibility of establishing an Arctic Ocean Council, similar to the Arctic Economic Council. Director Shibata in his presentation argued that one of the emerging legal precepts that can be found in the negotiation of the agreement is that scientists and their scientific activities should be treated equally irrespective of their nationalities, while the closed nature of the agreement remains a challenge. Professor Nishimoto in his presentation observed that the polar code may serve an important role as “a reference point” in interpreting Article 234 of the UNCLOS.

    In the concluding panel discussion, the invited speakers generally supported the themes and approach of the Centre’s proposed Arctic legal order studies, while suggesting a few additional insights, such as considering the role of indigenous peoples in such order-making. During the conference reception, the speakers and participants continued the discussion in a more casual atmosphere, with Kobe beef and Fugu (blows fish) BBQ.

    October 19-29, 2015

    Visit by Director Shibata to World’s Leading Arctic Legal Research Institutions

    Director Shibata visited the Faculty of Law at the University of Akureyri and the Polar Law Institute (PLI) , Iceland and discussed possible collaboration in research and education. Director Shibata also gave a seminar to Faculty's students and researchers on a new agreement on Arctic scientific cooperation.

    Director Shibata then visited Arctic Centre at University of Lapland, Finland, and discussed in detail with its Director, Professor Timo Koivurova, possible collaboration in research and education. As a result, PCRC has been approved to become a partner organization of the Arctic Law Thematic Network under the University of the Arctic (UArctic). One doctoral student at the Centre showed concrete interest in coming to PCRC as JSPS fellow from 2017.

    Director Shibata’s final destination was Jebsen Centre for the Law of the Sea , the Arctic University of Norway, and agreed to invite its Director, Professor Tore Henriksen, as GSICS visiting professor for 2016 Spring semester. Director Shibata also gave a seminar (photo) on a controversial issue of ICJ’s Whaling in the Antarctic case and its aftermath.