April 8, 2022 Press Release

ArCS II International Law Research Program Briefing Paper Series No.7 “Ocean Acidification in the Arctic – Scientific and Governance Responses” is an outcome of inter-program initiatives, with engagement of early-career scholars

Briefing Paper SeriesArCS II International Law Research Program has published its 7th volume of Briefing Paper Series (BPS) “Ocean Acidification in the Arctic – Scientific and Governance Responses”. This fact sheet is an outcome of inter-program initiatives involving Research Programs on Ocean and International Law, and examines the latest scientific research and governance responses to the problem of ocean acidification in the Arctic. It is based on the academic presentations by Prof. Tim Stephens (University of Sydney, Australia), an international lawyer, and Dr. Naomi Harada (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology), chaired by Prof. Shibata, at the opening keynote session of the 14th Polar Law Symposium convened on 21-23 November 2021 at Kobe University in hybrid format.

This fact sheet explains the international efforts to monitor and assess ocean acidification scientifically in the Arctic as well as governance responses to the problem at global, regional and national levels. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), one of the working groups of the Arctic Council, is leading the scientific monitoring efforts at regional revel. At national level, the Arctic countries such as the United States, Canada and Norway as well as non-Arctic countries like Japan also engage in the scientific observations of ocean acidification. With these efforts, ocean acidification represents an emerging field of scientific research, however significant uncertainty remains surrounding the scientific understanding of ocean acidification and its potential impact on marine environment. As to the governance responses, at the regional level, the Arctic Council acknowledges ocean acidification as a threat to the regional marine and coastal environment and promotes integration of Indigenous knowledge in research and governance. At the national level, Norway, Canada and Iceland have referred to or implemented policies specifically addressing this issue of ocean acidification. However, the fact sheet identifies a weakness at the global level in addressing the issue specifically. For example, Climate COP26 in 2021 treated the ocean acidification problem only as a peripheral issue within broader climate change discussions. It concludes that more explicit and specific efforts are needed to effectively address ocean acidification globally to tackle the Arctic-specific problems.

Capacity-building of early-career scholars is an important objective of ArCS II. Since the Polar Law Symposium has been instrumental in promoting polar legal and policy research by early-career scholars, ArCS II International Law Program has been utilizing the Symposium as an effective means to involve Japanese young researchers in such studies as well as to recruit promising scholars worldwide to engage in ArCS II related activities. This fact sheet is one of such successful outcomes in engaging promising early-career scholars from abroad. This fact sheet is co-authored by Jen Evans, a Ph.D. student in international relations at University of Denver, USA, who was recruited as one of the 14 PLS fellows. As a fellow, she assisted the organization of the Symposium as an online assistant for the Session Chair and took notes of the Session based on which she drafted this fact sheet incorporating some of her own additional research as well. This entire process was supervised by Prof. Shibata.



PhD candidate at the Josef Korbel School for International Studies, University of Denver, USA; and a Research Associate at The Arctic Institute in Washington, D.C. Jen was a 14th Polar Law Symposium fellow.


Professor of International Law and Director, Polar Cooperation Research Centre (PCRC), Kobe University, Japan.

<Relevant Information>
ArCS II International Law Research Program Briefing Paper Series
<https://www.research.kobe-u.ac.jp/gsics-pcrc/arctic/press_release/briefing_papers.html >