Eighth Polar Law Symposium

by Barbara Armstrong  |   

The Eighth Polar Law Symposium was held Sept. 23 to 24, 2015, at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Sept. 25 to 26, 2015, at the University of Alaska Anchorage. This was the first Polar Law Symposium to be held in the U.S. and it coincided with the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. Previous Polar Law Symposia have been hosted in Greenland (2011), Finland (2012), Iceland (2013), and Tasmania (2014). This year's conference theme is "The Science, Scholarship, and Practice of Polar Law: Strengthening Arctic Peoples and Places."

The conference sought to answer the following questions:

  • How can lawyers and other legal scholars interact with scientists and academics from other disciplines to the benefit of the Arctic?
  • What can lawyers and academics from all disciplines contribute to each other’s understanding of issues of common concern?
  • Can models of cooperation among scientists, scholars, and lawyers from other geographic areas be adapted for the Arctic?

Other major themes included:

  • Antarctic Science and Resources
  • The Changing Arctic Council
  • Human and Indigenous Rights — Education, Self-Determination, Food Security
  • Monitoring and Observing Networks: Natural and Social Science Fieldwork
  • Ocean and Polar Governance
  • Trade and Economy

This symposium was co-hosted by Alaska Pacific University, University of Alaska Anchorage, UAA Justice Center, UAA Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Washington School of Law, and Vermont Law School, in cooperation with the Arctic Law Section of the Alaska Bar Association.

Organizing Committee

The organizing committee for the symposium included the University of the Arctic, University of Akureyri (Iceland), the Polar Law Institute (Iceland), the Arctic Center | Arktinen Keskus (Finland), and University of Washington School of Law.