Arctic Leadership

By Peter Neill, Director, World Ocean Observatory (Huffington Post)

Angus King, the United States Senator from Maine and co-chair of the Senate Arctic Caucus, recently spoke to the Arctic Circle Assembly in Iceland about the qualities of leadership, defined by the great Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton as follows:

Vision, perseverance, teamwork, empathy, trust, flexibility, understanding, communication, optimism, and character.

To lead well required those characteristics combined. Senator King was using this frame as a context for the United States as it assumed the Chairmanship in April of the Arctic Council, the international governing body, and its agenda for the next two years.


By Louis P. Bergeron, Second Line of Defense

In the coming decades, the Bering Strait will emerge as a key global maritime choke point due to its strategic location.

The strait will link the dynamic Pacific Ocean economies with the economies in the North Atlantic Ocean using the increasingly ice-free Arctic Ocean as an economical transit medium, initially via the Northern Sea Route (NSR) over Russia.

The NSR passage saves commercial shippers thousands of miles of transit time and fuel on journeys between East Asia and Northern Europe.

Out of the Arctic, into experienced hands

By Brian Pehora, Arctic Journal

Justin Trudeau, elected as Canada’s prime minister on October 19, ran a campaign that promised a change in the way the country was governed. In entrusting Stéphane Dion with the responsibility for representing Ottawa on the Arctic Council, the change represents a return to tradition.

Mr Dion was appointed foreign minister on November 4, one of a total of 30 ministers. Under the previous government, Arctic duties were split: Leona Aglukkaq, an Inuk from Nunavut, and the environment minister, managed Arctic Council responsibilities while foreign affairs relating to the region remained in the hands of the Foreign Ministry.

Arctic Council looks to Alaska citizen science network


A tribal citizen science network that got its start in Alaska is being touted as a model for tracking climate change in the Arctic. The eight-nation Arctic Council plans to expand the Local Environmental Observer Network to other Arctic nations.

Alaska’s 120 or so Local Environmental Observers document the rare, unusual or unprecedented.  A brown bear foraging for food in January in Port Heiden, lightning during a snowstorm in Nome, erosion, flooding, droughts, invasive plants and animal die-offs – anything that could affect food or water security or community health.

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Iceland, Singapore ‘have much in common’

By Lim Yan Liang, The Straits Times

Iceland stands in the Northern Atlantic and is blessed with an abundance of natural resources while Singapore, sitting halfway across the globe in South-east Asia at the crossroads of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, can rely only on its people.

But the stark geographical difference between the two island nations belies the many common characteristics they share, especially their views on many issues, President Tony Tan Keng Yam said at a state banquet for visiting Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson.

6 things to know about the Arctic Circle Singapore Forum

By Lee Min Kok, The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – Iceland President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson’s maiden visit to the Republic also coincides with the first Arctic Circle Singapore Forum, which met on Thursday  (Nov 12) at the Marina Mandarin.

Among the topics discussed during the forum: governance of sea routes in the icy northern region, the future of Arctic infrastructure and ocean science and research.

But what exactly does sunny Singapore – located 137km above the Equator and more than 7,000km away from the northernmost part of the world – have in common with the bitterly cold Arctic?

Militarizing the Arctic: Is Canada Ready for a Literal Cold War with Russia?

Over the past decade, Moscow has been projecting its power, and boldly testing the cohesion and determination of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union (EU), and their closest allies in many different regions either considered unstable or contested for their strategic value. Some of these clashes took place immediately after the Soviet Union dissolved while others occurred during the turn of the century and closer to (even up to) the present day. Violent political and ethnic conflict has occurred in the former Soviet republics but also well beyond the borders of the Russian Federation as it exists today. Not all of those conflicts have proven decisive; many remain in stalemate or are simply “frozen.” A non-exhaustive list of those conflicts includes: Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Crimea, Novorossiya, and Syria.

‘Potential already there’ for global race to exploit Arctic resources – Kerry

The global race for the Arctic’s riches is already in progress and attracting military interests, according to US State Secretary John Kerry, who says Washington is keeping a close eye on China and Russia and adapting its “national security” strategy.

“Our future national security strategy is going to be affected also by what’s going on in the Arctic. The melting of the polar cap is opening sea lanes that never before existed,” Kerry said in a speech at Old Dominion University.

“The potential there is already there for a global race to exploit the resources of the region,” Kerry stated.

Iceland’s President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson on three-day state visit to S’pore from Wednesday

By Walter Sim, The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – Iceland’s President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson will be in Singapore for a three-day State visit from Wednesday to Friday.

The visit – a first by an Icelandic President here – is at the invitation of President Tony Tan Keng Yam, whom he will call on after an official welcome ceremony at the Istana on Wednesday .

Mr Grimsson will also meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and be hosted to a state banquet by Dr Tan and his wife Mrs Mary Tan.

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Connecticut has a role in the Arctic’s future


October 30 was a historic day for the environment, for international relations and for Connecticut. Representatives from the eight nations bordering the Arctic — the U.S., Russia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden — gathered in New London that day to create the Arctic Coast Guard Forum. Representatives from those nations spent several days beforehand working out the details of the agreement at the United States Coast Guard Academy Center for Arctic Study and Policy.

Read full article.