Arctic Governance in a Changing World

Wednesday 10 Apríl 12:00-13:00,  Oddi 101, University of Iceland

Seminar hosted by the Centre for Arctic Studies, University of Iceland and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the US Embassy in Iceland

Arctic Governance in a Changing World

Introduction and Welcome by Oscar Avila, Public Affairs Officer, US Embassy in Iceland

Mary Durfee, Ph.D.,is Professor Emerita of Government at Michigan Technological University. Author of Arctic Governance in a Changing World.

Threat Multipliers in the Arctic  

A key theme in Arctic Governance in a Changing World  is the impact of environmental change on all facets of life in the Arctic. The US Defense Department says environmental change is a threat multiplier.  For Arctic communities and individuals who do not have the resources of defense at hand, the challenges of daily life are made that much more daunting by environmental change.  Threats are multiplied at a human scale rather than a national one.  Put differently, environmental change in the Arctic has shifted the basis for planning from one based on risk to one based on uncertainty.  

Rachael Lorna Johnstone, S.J.D., is Professor of Law at the University of Akureyri

Sovereignty, Sovereign Rights and the Law of the Sea in a Changing World


While State boundaries are settled in the Arctic – aside from the tiny Hans Island – increasing recognition of Indigenous sovereignty complicates governance of the High North. While much has been written about the depth of Indigenous sovereignty (e.g., rights to mineral and hydrocarbon resources), there has to date been very limited attention paid to its breadth. This short presentation will inquire into potential indigenous claims to sovereign rights over maritime spaces, asking whether indigenous peoples can claim an exclusive economic zone or continental shelf. It investigates the intersection of indigenous rights and the law of the sea. 

Moderator: Margrét Cela, Project manager, Centre for Arctic Studies, University of Iceland