Harrison Ford highlighted the role of indigenous communities in protecting nature

The world’s biggest biodiversity summit since the start of the pandemic has opened in the French port city of Marseille with a warning from Emmanuel Macron that “there is no vaccine for a sick planet”.

Speaking at the opening of the IUCN World Conservation Congress, the president echoed warnings from leading scientists that humanity must solve ongoing crises with climate and nature together or solve neither, urging the world to catch up on preventing the loss of biodiversity.

“There is no vaccine for a sick planet,” Macron said, detailing the urgent tasks of phasing out pesticide use, ending plastic pollution and eradicating raw materials linked to deforestation of rainforests from supply chains around the world.

The Hollywood actor and environmentalist Harrison Ford, speaking on behalf of Conservation International, paid tribute to the role of young environmentalists in protecting nature and battling the climate crisis.

Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford highlighted the role of indigenous communities in protecting nature. Photograph: Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA

“Reinforcements are on the way,” Ford said. “They’re sitting in lecture halls now, venturing into the field for the very first time, writing their thesis, they’re leading marches, organising communities, are learning to turn passionate into progress and potential into power. But they’re not here yet. In a few years, they will be here.”

Ford, a passionate campaigner for the protection of the Amazon, highlighted the role of indigenous communities in protecting nature.

In a parallel event, indigenous groups, academics and campaigners from 18 countries gathered in the port city for a “counter conference” called Our Land Our Nature.

Delegates want to highlight the way in which indigenous people are negatively impacted in the name of international ambitions to create space for wildlife.

A key challenge is the policy target of protecting 30% of the planet by 2030, which campaigners say could violate many indigenous people’s rights.

“I think we need to rethink the definition of protected areas, those that exist, and we need to look for a more sophisticated model of biodiversity and conservation,” said Dr Mordecai Ogada, director of Conservation Solutions Afrika. “We need to break down the narrative into much smaller and more complex pieces.”

Hundreds of protesters, including representatives from Survival International, Extinction Rebellion, Rainforest Foundation and Minority Rights Group gathered at the Porte d’Aix, which marks the old entry point to Marseille, and marched to the city’s harbour in the pouring rain. The demonstration concluded with speeches, small theatrical displays and chants.


Come sail away: Bering Strait Festival to open border with Russia in 2022

Next year, our international border with Russia, just to the west of Alaska, will open for the Bering Strait Festival.

The seven-day event is a multi-year effort to bring together residents of the high north from both sides of the strait, some of whom are relatives, and to honor their shared culture. It will include a cultural summit, an Indigenous peoples’ forum, traditional sports competitions and then a 43-mile boat crossing from Uelen in Russia’s Chukotsky District to Wales on Alaska’s Seward Peninsula.

The festival’s head U.S. coordinator in Alaska, Mille Porsild, who is also an Iditarod veteran, says the hope is that the border will open every year for these seven days.

For the first crossing — set for the first week of August 2022 — Porsild says people and boats of all kinds are welcome, but there will be an important frontrunner.
— Прочесть на www.alaskapublic.org/2021/08/30/come-sail-away-bering-strait-festival-to-open-border-with-russia-in-2022/

Barents Observer takes case against Russian censorship to European Court of Human Rights

“Independent cross-border journalism isn’t a crime, it builds on core democratic rights for freedom of the media,” says Thomas Nilsen.

The editor in February 2019 saw his independent online newspaper being blocked in Russia following a crack-down by Roskomnadzor, the Russian media regulating authority. It was a major blow to the small northern media that since its launch in 2002 has published in both English and Russian.

The blocking followed the publishing of an article about Dan Eriksson – an indigenous Sámi man who managed to accept his homosexual orientation and overcome psychological crisis. Roskomnazor argues that the story “propagates suicide.”

The repressive decision was in July 2019 appealed in court. After a loss, a new appeal was filed and subsequently rejected by the Moscow City Court in January 2020. In June 2021, the case was ultimately rejected by the Russian Supreme Court.

The case “Barents Observer vs Roskomnadzor” has been supported by Memorial, the Anti-Discrimination Center based in the Netherlands. It is lawyer Maksim Olenichev that is following up the case.

The “Barents Observer vs Roskomnadzor” is now taken to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

“After all opportunities to achieve justice in Russia were exhausted, in August 2021, the complaint to the European Court of Human Rights was filed,” ADC Memorial says in a statement.

— Прочесть на thebarentsobserver.com/en/2021/09/barents-observer-takes-case-against-russian-censorship-european-court-human-rights

The first indigenous rights defender was recognized as a «private person — foreign agent» in Russia

The Russian Ministry of Justice recognized Stepan Petrov, a chair of the non-governmental human rights organization «Yakutia — Our Opinion,» as a foreign agent, TASS reports.

Stepan Petrov

Stepan Petrov was included into the list of the «foreign agents» personally as a private person along with several prominent Russian journalists: the chief editor of the «Important stories» (Vaznnyie istorii) Roman Anin, journalists — Roman Shleinov, Olesya Shmagun, Dmitry Velikovsky, Alesya Marokhovskaya, and Irina Dolinina.

By the same order, the Ministry of Justice also included into the list of «foreign agents» the only independent from state all-Russia TV-channel «The Rain» (Dozhd) and the registered in Latvia «Istories fonds» which specialized on investigative journalism.

Stepan Petrov was the leader of the NGO «Yakutia — Our Opinion,» and he is widely known in Yakutia for his active human rights and anti-criminal work. He regularly appeals to the media with requests to publish his materials and often writes letters to law enforcement agencies, in which he points to the facts of corruption. Earlier this year, the NGO he led was liquidated in the course of numerous state inspections.

Besides his anti-corruption activity on the regional level, Stepan Petrov is also known as the initiator of appeals to the UN concerning violations of indigenous peoples’ rights. For example, he appealed to the UN in 2018 with a request to «increase pressure» on the Russian Federation to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In 2020 he sent another appeal to several UN human rights treaty bodies «in support of the civil society of Russia» and the request to support «the leading Russian human rights organizations «For human rights» and «The Center for the support of indigenous peoples of the North.» Unfortunately, both organizations, led by prominent Russian human rights defenders Lev Ponomarev and Rodion Sulyandziga, were self-liquidated lately.

Lev Ponomarev, Executive Director of the all-Russian Movement for Human Rights, and Rodion Sulyandziga, Director of the Center for the support of indigenous peoples of the North. 13 November 2019, Moscow

According to the Russian law on foreign agents, private persons — foreign agents must, at least once every six months, submit a report on their activities, including information on the purpose of spending money and using other property received from foreign sources. They are also required to indicate the status of a foreign agent, including when applying to government agencies, local governments, public associations, educational organizations.

In addition, there is a ban on serving in public service and local governments for private persons included in the register of foreign agents. They are also forced to mark anything they write or share online (or in the mass media) with a loud, inescapable notification that they have «foreign agent» status in Russia. Finally, the law also demands that these individuals create formal legal entities in order to report their earnings and spending to the government. Failure to comply with these requirements provides for administrative and criminal liability.

This is how journalist at «Radio Svoboda» Lyudmila Savitskaya, who was recognized as a «foreign agent,» earlier described her new social status: «Lyudmila Savitskaya says the state’s designation has completely erased her private life. «Now Comrade Major and the Justice Ministry know literally everything about me, right down to the brand of tampons I use,» she told Meduza. Even Savitskaya’s mother has been affected: she now needs special paperwork from her bank to prove that the money she sends to her daughter is meant for medications «and not for the next Joe Biden campaign.»

Dmitry Berezhkov, Indigenous Russia chief editor.

Arctic Council — Tackling waste pollution in the Arctic with community empowerment

The project goal was to improve the ecological situation in the Murmansk region – an important area for the Sámi people. The Sámi community in the Russian Federation identified a need to develop and implement a project to clean-up waste in the Murmansk region in the areas where the Sámi people live and practice their traditional lifestyle.

An important element of the clean-up project was that it used a community-based approach. Including local Sámi people was crucial for the project to be successful. Only with their involvement the project team was able to identify priority sites for the clean-up.
— Прочесть на arctic-council.org/en/news/tackling-waste-pollution-in-the-arctic-with-community-empowerment/

Scientists name reasons of poverty in Arctic regions of Russia, Canada, US — TASS

YAKUTSK, August 20. /TASS/. The poverty among the Arctic communities in Russia, the US and Canada may be explained by the high birth rates, big numbers of dependents and high rates of everyday expenses, Daryana Maximova of the North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU) and the Academy of Sciences’ Institute of the US and Canada told TASS.

A team of experts from NEFU jointly with scientists from Canada’s University of Manitoba and the US University of Alaska compared sources of revenues and studied poverty in traditional communities, living in the north of Russia, the US and Canada. The studies were financed by a grant of 1.3 million rubles ($17,500) from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research.

«We have analyzed how poor people in Yakutia, Manitoba and Alaska live,» Maximova said. «Using the national statistics and analytical data, we compared poverty conditions the said regions. Among the reasons could be high birth rates, big numbers of retirees and dependents, high levels of everyday expenses, insufficient budget payments to raise the incomes of the poor and many others.»

The scientific results may be used for recommendations on how to harmonize relations between investors and locals in the Arctic, how to have improve the social responsibility of corporates during major mining or infrastructure projects in traditional territories of the North’s communities, the Russian expert said. Additionally, the results may be useful in making more efficient the social benefits for the people living in the North.

The studies show that the poverty level is not related directly to the regional sectors. The scientists pointed to the importance of corporate social policies. «A certain role in a rather low poverty rate in Alaska is played by the natural resource rent payments from mining companies, which could form the basis for experiments to introduce unconditional basic income for indigenous communities of the North,» the scientist said.

— Прочесть на tass.com/economy/1328153

Norwegian Oil Fund’s new eco standards add pressure on Arctic extractors

The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, also called the Oil Fund, is stepping up its attention to the environment. A new expectation document on biodiversity and ecosystems warns companies that environmental protection will be instrumental for the Fund’s future investments.

The document calls on companies to assess their direct and indirect impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems when developing policies, and take a precautionary approach wherever there is a risk of significant biodiversity and ecosystem impact. Furthermore, the Fund says companies should disclose material impacts of activities, products and services on biodiversity and ecosystems, and disclose the co-ordinates and footprint of their main operations.

“An increasing loss of species and deterioration of ecosystems can affect companies’ ability to create value for investors in the long term,” says CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management Nicolai Tangen. “Companies must therefore understand their dependency on and impact on nature, and handle both substantial challenges and opportunities through more sustainable use of ecosystems”, he underlines.

According to the Fund’s Chief Governance and Compliance Officer Carine Smith Ihenacho, protection of biodiversity and ecosystems is of key importance for the global economy. “Therefore, it is important for the fund to work proactively with these topics as a part of our work with responsible investment,” she says.
— Прочесть на thebarentsobserver.com/en/industry-and-energy/2021/08/norwegian-oil-funds-new-eco-standard-adds-pressure-arctic-extractors

D. Berezhkov. A fundamental gap in the understanding of reality between Norilsk Nickel and indigenous peoples

For the Norilsk Nickel leadership, indigenous peoples are legal objects — “consumers” (according to Elena Shumilova) — those with whom it is necessary to «to struggle for» (according toSvetlana Ivchenko) the «free, prior and informed consent,” and even then, only because some unknown international standards require it. 

It’s like with small children in kindergarten. Yes, sometimes you have to ask whether Vasya or Petya wants to eat and whether they need to go to the toilet. But more serious issues such as when breakfast will be served or when new curtains for the kindergarten’s sleeping room will be delivered are not discussed with the children by teachers. Why should children know about such serious things? After all, this is the business of those «who analyze all of this.»

In her speech, senator Shumilova argued with clearly good intentions. She wanted to help and cared that such roundtable discussions must provide some benefits for the “consumers” as well, but at the same time, she naively revealed the main secret and the main message of the Russian state and business in relation to indigenous peoples.

This reminded me of something that happened to me personally several years ago. In days of old, when Dmitry Kobylkin had just replaced Yury Neelov in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, some Moscow guys were working on creating a new strategy for the development of the Yamal region. And I had become friends with some of them along before — just personally without professional relations. They learned that I also come from the indigenous peoples’ environment and that I work in Raipon, so they invited me to a couple of meetings in Moscow and then invited me to visit Salekhard where they organized a final discussion on Okrug’s development strategy.

Read more:

The city of Norilsk. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Russian firm Nornickel’s support programme for indigenous people is quickly becoming a model for other mining companies to follow

Photo: Nornickel

Russian mineral giant Nornickel, the world’s largest producer of palladium and high-quality nickel and a major producer of platinum, cobalt and copper, has announced plans to allocate an additional 100 million roubles (1.15 million euros) to support indigenous people living across the Taimyr Peninsula in the Russian Arctic.

The new funding was announced by Nikolay Utkin, senior vice president and director of Nornickel’s Polar Division, during a meeting of the Coordination Council of Taimyr’s indigenous minorities, which took place on the eve of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. 

The money comes in addition to funding a five-year programme designed to protect original habitats and to support the traditional activities of the indigenous minorities of the region. 

Implementation of the programme has been driven by an agreement signed in 2020 with three organisations representing over 90 per cent of the indigenous population of the Russian North and most of the indigenous population of the Taimyr Peninsula. 

The programme includes 42 projects designed to support traditional activities of indigenous peoples of Taimyr, including housing projects, medical projects, as well as educational, cultural and sports projects. As part of the programme, a total of two billion roubles will be allocated for these purposes. 

“The programme has already delivered results,” says Utkin. “The first shipments of construction materials for settlements have arrived, and exploration of pastures for the development of reindeer herding has begun in the Avam tundra. With our support, young residents of Taimyr were able for the first time to complete a year of training at the Norilsk State Industrial Institute.” 

He adds that young people in need in Taimyr settlements have also received the keys to flats and household appliances, and that an additional 100 million roubles will be allocated to similar projects as early as this year. 

“I am sure that next year we will continue complementing this programme in order to provide direct assistance to communities, hunters and fishermen,” he says. 

Grigory Dyukarev, the chairman of the Association of Indigenous Minorities of Taimyr, Krasnoyarsk Territory, adds: “What is surprising is how promptly Nornickel responds to the needs of indigenous people. 

“Two months ago, our compatriots made their requests, and today we have found out that they have been fulfilled, while an additional 100 million roubles has been allocated for these purposes. We can see that the company is responding to our requests.” 

He adds that the programme has been generating genuine interest among representatives of indigenous people from other regions. 

“The existing partnership has become possible due to Nornickel’s understanding of the role of indigenous peoples in the territories of its operations and the importance of interaction with them.”

Nornickel has experienced first-hand how complex it is to tackle corporate social responsibility commitments from different angles at once. 

Committed to providing support to local communities, Nornickel is fast erasing memories of ecological damage to the Artic ecosystem. 

Earlier this year, 28 different projects and campaigns in the Russian Arctic received grant funding from Nornickel to create a culture of environmental protection, develop infrastructure, and expand educational projects. 

Representatives of indigenous peoples’ organisations from across the Taimyr Peninsula in the Russian Arctic also received grant funding for the creation of sports clubs, hobby organisations, a small zoo, drone training and other needs. 

The degree of complexity raised by relationship between mining companies and indigenous people has long posed a significant challenge to companies operating in the north-eastern part of Russia, but on current form, Nornickel is providing a model for others to follow. 

Valery Vengo, a deputy of the Legislative Assembly of Krasnoyarsk Territory, says that the firm’s support programme for the indigenous minorities of the north is a remarkable example of a public-private partnership. 

“There are 35 regions in Russia populated by indigenous peoples. Of these, only three regions have signed similar agreements. Taimyr is one of these territories. Nornickel has been cooperating with the indigenous minorities of the north for more than 30 years. The experience of such partnership is an excellent example which should be replicated on Russian and international platforms, wherever it is appropriate.”

Additional financial support offers new hope to indigenous people in Russia’s Taimyr Peninsula

Lavrov compared the life of bears in Russia and that of Indians in the United States

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov compared the life of bears in Russia to the life of indigenous peoples in the United States. The diplomat made a comical statement at a meeting with young art and culture workers on the Tavrida art cluster site, writes RIA News …

Lavrov spoke of the bear as the world symbol of Russia. According to him, it creates a positive impression of the country along with other standard associations – vodka and balalaika.

“It is much better that these symbols of Russia evoke positive emotions and smiles than the associations that the Indians, symbol of the United States, evoke in many people,” said the minister, explaining that bears in Russia live better than American Indians. in reserves. , because bears can “walk all over the country.”

Earlier at the same event, the minister commented on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s reluctance to officially recognize Crimea as Russian territory. Lavrov stressed that the peninsula, as part of Russia, is part of the State of the Union together with Belarus, this follows from Russian legislation.


Karelian petroglyphs listed as World Heritage Site

Artur Parfenchikov, the head of the Republic of Karelia, has just announced that the petroglyphs of Lake Onega and the White Sea have acquired the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The petroglyphs received the UNESCO World Heritage Site status on July 28th at the 44th UNESCO World Heritage Committee session chaired by China. During the conference, which spanned from July 16th to the July 31st, 2021, the committee had unanimously decided to grant Russia’s petroglyphs a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Karelian petroglyphs thus became the 31st Russian site on the list.

The Onega petroglyphs are in the Pudozh region. Photo: Press service of the Head of the Republic of Karelia

Other famous Russian UNESCO World Heritage Sites include the natural heritage site Lake Baikal and the cultural heritage sites of Moscow Kremlin and the Red Square. 

The sites by the White Sea and Lake Onega contain approximately 4,500 petroglyphs and are amongst the largest in Europe. The petroglyphs have been carved into rocks during the Neolithic period about six or seven thousand years ago and give observers a sight into the Neolithic culture of Fennoscandia. 

The 4,500 petroglyphs are located in 33 distinct sites in split into overarching areas 300 kilometers apart from one another. 

22 of the carving sites, which feature about 1,200 figurines, are located on the eastern bank of Lake Onega in the district of Pudozhsky. The remainder 11 sites are scattered on the islands of the Vyg River located at the White Sea in the District of Belomorsky and are composed of 3,411 petroglyph figures. The petroglyphs in both areas date as far back as to the third and fourth millennium BC. 

However, the art subject differentiates in the two different areas. At lake Onega, the petroglyphs mostly represent various types of birds, animals, half-human-half-animal mythical creatures, cosmic symbols, and geometric shapes. While the petroglyphs at the White Sea mostly depict carvings of hunting, fishing, and sailing scenes, as well as animal and human footprints. 

UNESCO has reported that the petroglyphs are thought to be associated with sacred sites including burial grounds as well as typical settlement sites. 

On the 28th of July, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that the event emphasizes Russia’s presence as a vital cultural center on the global arena. 


Mejlis: Restoration of rights of indigenous peoples of Ukraine is key tool for Crimea de-occupation

“Restoration of the rights of indigenous peoples in Crimea covers human rights violations, education, humanitarian law, environment, and collective rights. It is a key tool for the de-occupation of Crimea as there is a tendency in the world to restore the rights of indigenous peoples. The indigenous people factor is crucial for achieving 6 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,” Eskender Bariyev, member of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, Head of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, said at the constituent forum of the Crimea Platform Expert Network on August 6, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.

According to him, the main purpose of the Crimea Platform expert group, which includes the Mejlis members, representatives of indigenous peoples, experts, political scientists, historians, culturologists, and lawyers, is to promote the restoration of rights of indigenous peoples of Ukraine, including the right to self-determination. territory and resources, as well as the preservation and development of political, economic, and socio-cultural systems and institutions.

Mejlis: Restoration of rights of indigenous peoples of Ukraine is key tool for Crimea de-occupation

Climate change: The Arctic reindeer herder whose livelihood is threatened by warmer winters

«The world is being widely computerised and it is very difficult to live in this world, especially for the young people», Kemlil sighs. «They can’t live without technology. We need to try to adapt to this modern world, match it step for step.»

For all the nuances of the shifts in climate and how those play out on the tundra, it is this which seems to worry him most, the eternal question of how to make the young stay.

«From times immemorial our forefathers were breeding reindeer and we try to keep this industry going to make sure it doesn’t disappear in our modern world. The young ones are not quite willing but we do our best.»
— Прочесть на news.sky.com/story/climate-change-its-getting-harder-the-reindeer-herder-whose-livelihood-is-threatened-by-warmer-winters-12363133

Arctic Council — Arctic Peoples

Engaging Indigenous Peoples and local communities

Indigenous Peoples have lived in the Arctic for centuries. They have learned to adapt to a changing environment over time, and thus hold a fundamental knowledge base of the lands and waters of their homelands. The Arctic Council and its Working Groups acknowledge that the inclusion of traditional knowledge and local knowledge is vital for exploring solutions to emerging issues in the Arctic, and to provide the best available knowledge as a basis for decision-making. The active participation of the Permanent Participants is one of the key features of the Arctic Council.

— Прочесть на arctic-council.org/en/explore/topics/arctic-peoples/

The Contours of India’s Arctic Policy

he Arctic has recently assumed considerable strategic significance as it has been underlined by the policies of major powers. The interests and concerns of the Arctic states are vast and varied. India, being an observer in the Arctic Council, has legitimate interests in the region and has created its own Arctic policy. India’s Arctic policy, notified as a draft document in early January 2021, continues along the lines of the country’s science diplomacy.

India’s Arctic Policy (IAP) was notified as a draft document in early January 2021, and the draft policy is in line with India’s fast expanding scientific-technological (‘SciTech’ power) status which has both national and international dimensions. As per the global ranking, India currently occupies the third position in scientific and technical manpower in the world. Its Research and Development (R&D) expenditure and Science and Technology(S&T) publications also rose significantly. With the surge in S&T publications, India is globally at the third position.1)

IAP has been drafted in a strategic milieu of big powers (like China) having invested with great ambition in the Arctic region. China’s ‘Polar Silk Road’ is essentially a part of its robust ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI) which seeks to reinforce its geopolitical and geoeconomic posture in the region. India has stepped in at the right time with its ‘sustainable engagement’ diplomacy and ‘SciTech’ power in the Arctic.

There are not many institutions involved in polar studies in India. The Goa-based NCPOR, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, focuses on polar studies and research. While the Ministry of External Affairs looks after the engagements with the Arctic Council, other ministries such as the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Ministry of Science and Technology, and Ministry of Space are involved in polar research.

The IAP is enunciated with five major areas of engagements—(i) Science and research; (ii) Economic and human development cooperation; (iii). Transportation and connectivity; (iv) Governance and international cooperation; and (v) National capacity building. It is clear that the IAP, apart from underlining the significance of science and research, sees the Arctic region as a potential area of engagement in diverse areas of human development and commercial activities. The document says: “India seeks to engage in economic development in a manner that is sustainable and is of value to the Arctic residents, especially indigenous communities. The Arctic offers viable opportunities in different sectors where Indian enterprises can be involved, become part of international commerce, promote traditional indigenous knowledge, businesses and best practices.”

IAP sees the Arctic as “the largest unexplored prospective area for hydrocarbons remaining on earth” besides its vast reserves of mineral deposits. It also keeps in perspective India’s investment in Russia which amounts to $15 billion in oil and gas projects. Hence India seeks to explore “similar opportunities in other Arctic nations as well”.7)

The draft policy document is also confident of utilising India’s expertise in the digital economy for facilitating establishment of data centres for commerce in the region. It further explores “opportunities for investment in Arctic infrastructure in areas such as offshore exploration/mining, ports, railways and airports.” This inevitably calls for encouraging participation by Indian public and private sector firms with an expertise in these sectors. India’s chambers of industry and commerce will be encouraged to enhance private investment in the Arctic and explore the public-private-partnership model. The draft policy also indicated that Indian companies will be encouraged to obtain membership of the Arctic Economic Council.

Another area where India has leverage in the Arctic region is human development. The document says: “Specialized cultures of the Arctic’s indigenous inhabitants are being inexorably impacted by climate change as well as economic development and improved connectivity. This is similar to the socio-ecological-economic predicament of the Himalayan peoples. The disruption of unique ecosystems and erosion of traditional knowledge are common to both. India has substantial expertise in addressing such issues and is uniquely placed to make a positive contribution in assisting the Arctic’s indigenous communities cope with similar challenges”.8)

India expects that ice free conditions in the Arctic would soon result in the “opening of new shipping routes and thereby lowering costs and reshaping global trade. Traffic, especially through the Northern Sea Route, is rising exponentially and is projected to quadruple by 2025.” The draft policy also seeks to “explore the possibility of linking the International North South Transport Corridor with the Unified Deep-Water System and its further extension to the Arctic.” India expects that “the North-South connectivity will result in lowering shipping costs and overall development of the hinterland and of indigenous communities more than East-West connectivity.”

India is well aware of the fact that the Arctic governance is very crucial in the geopolitical milieu and the region itself is “governed by numerous national domestic laws, bilateral agreements, global treaties and conventions and customary laws for the indigenous peoples.” Hence the Arctic states’ “respective sovereign jurisdictions as well as areas beyond national jurisdiction” need to be reckoned within the framework of international and national regulations.

India put together the IAP at a crucial time of global and regional power realignments, even in the midst of the pandemic. It was in 2018 that China declared itself a ‘Near Arctic State’ and brought out a white paper outlining its plans for the region. Though China does not have territorial sovereignty and related sovereign rights in the Arctic, it has been eager to establish a foothold in the region with its self-professed identity as a ‘near-Arctic state.’ The strategic significance of China’s Arctic Policy (2018) outlined through its white paper cannot be glossed over. It underscores that the Arctic is a region having “global implications and international impacts.” Referring to the Arctic situation, the white paper says that the geopolitical scenario “goes beyond its original inter-Arctic States or regional nature, having a vital bearing on the interests of States outside the region and the interests of the international community as a whole, as well as on the survival, the development, and the shared future for mankind”.9) China has also gone to the extent of conceding, perhaps for the first time, that its interests in the Arctic region cannot be limited to ‘scientific research’ but would move to an array of commercial activities. This obviously becomes a part of its project to build a ‘Polar Silk Road’ that links China with Europe through the Arctic and fits in with the new ‘blue ocean passages’ extending from Beijing’s Maritime Silk Road (MSR), put in place in 2013.10) A document by the European Parliament Think Tank (EPTT) says that “China’s Arctic policy suggests a strong desire to push for the internationalisation of the Arctic’s regional governance system. The white paper is not a strategy document, and is more interesting for what it omits, such as the national security dimension that is a major driver of China’s Arctic ambitions”.11) By calling itself as a “responsible major country,” China, however, tries to dispel concerns of the Arctic or non-Arctic states—about the extent of its geopolitical ambitions in the region—by emphasising Beijing’s “commitment to international law and cooperation and balancing economic interests with environmental protection” as EPTT pointed out.

The Contours of India’s Arctic Policy

For use in electric cars and thermonuclear weapons, Rosatom plans for lithium mining on the Kola Peninsula

The world’s hunger for lithium-ion batteries is sky-rocketing as the car industry rapidly changes from combustion engines to electric powertrains. A carbon-free future will additionally require huge amounts of batteries to store wind and solar power on the grid.

Data collected by Bloomberg shows how demand for lithium-ion batteries will surge from roughly 526 gigawatt hours in 2020 a predicted 9,300 gigawatt hours by 2030. To meet the demand, annual production of lithium carbonate should be boosted from today’s 520,000 metric tons existing mining capacity up to 2,8 million metric tons by 2028, a study by Rystad Energy suggests.

The study warns of the risk of a significant supply deficit from 2026-2027 unless new minings are started.

It is Atomredmedzoloto (ARMZ), the mining subsidiary of state nuclear power company Rosatom, that plans to start producing lithium compounds on both the Kola Peninsula and in Irkutsk region in Siberia, newspaper Kommersant reports on Thursday.

Investments in the Russian lithium mining projects are estimated at over 50 billion rubles (€570 million), ARMZ Business Development Director Russian Dimukhamedov told Kommersant.

Dimukhamedov said he counts on government support measures like tax benefits, removal of administrative restrictions and assistance to attract long-term project financing.

ARMZ does not identify where on the Kola Peninsula such lithium mining is planned, but a well-known geological area with huge amounts of rich spodumene pegmatites of lithium is the Kolmozero deposit, halfway between the Khibiy mountain plateau and the coast to the Barents Sea.

For use in electric cars and thermonuclear weapons, Rosatom plans for lithium mining on the Kola Peninsula

Russia, the United States, and Churning Arctic Geopolitics | The Arctic Institute

Examining Arctic geopolitics within the framework of big power rivalry, it is plausible to say, as a Carnegie Endowment paper underlined, that Moscow’s ambitious programs in the Arctic amount to a renewal of its Cold War posture, which was “centred around long-standing missions of protecting the sanctuaries of its ballistic missile submarine fleet and operations in the North Atlantic in the event of a war in Europe.” But the paper warns that “the Russian military is resuming these missions with fewer resources and facing a more formidable array of adversary capabilities than during the Cold War”.16) This might again make room for suspicion if the task before Moscow is to recoup economically capable partners like China in its Arctic geopolitical objectives. China—which is palpably worried about the Indo-Pacific strategy of the U.S. and its partners in a wider region—is all set to bolster its ‘Belt-Road Initiative,’ and the ‘Polar Silk Road’ is perceptibly Beijing’s dream project in the coming years. Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council is therefore seen as a major challenge for other Arctic States like the U.S., Canada, and Norway with China emerging as an important stakeholder, if not a major rival, in the region.

Russia, the United States, and Churning Arctic Geopolitics | The Arctic Institute

Estonian Website Says Russia Blocking Its Content About Mari, Finno-Ugric Peoples

An Estonian-based website about the Mari and Finno-Ugric peoples says it has been blocked by Russia’s telecommunications watchdog for its content on a scholar who lit himself on fire to protest a government move to cancel mandatory Udmurt language classes.

MariUver said on its Facebook page on July 7 that Roskomnadzor had blocked its website because Mari activists «honored» Albert Razin, saying postings contained information about how to commit suicide.

«Why doesn’t Roskomnadzor block others as well?» the website asked, noting that reports on some media websites publish information on people who have self-immolated.

The website Idel Realities (Idel.Realii), a regional news outlet of RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir Service, has also been blocked at times because of stories on Razin, MariUver said.

Estonian Website Says Russia Blocking Its Content About Mari, Finno-Ugric Peoples

The Hoax That Nuclear Power Is Green

(This is a MUST-SEE, if only for former NRC Chairman Gregory Jaszko’s statement!!!!! Dr. Mark Jacobsen gives facts about the much higher carbon emissions from nuclear than from wind and solar.)

More On «The Hoax That Nuclear Power Is Green»

«This ‘Enviro Close-Up with Karl Grossman’ demolishes the hoax that nuclear power is green. The program features actor Alec Baldwin who has long challenged nuclear power; former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Gregory Jaczko who declares that nuclear power ‘is not the right way forward’ and not ‘a solution to climate change;’ Joseph Mangano, executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project, who tells of releases to the environment by nuclear power; attorney Susan H. Shapiro now in court taking on the $7.6 billion New York State bail-out of nuclear plants based on the no-emissions claim—a bail-out being imitated by other states; Dr. Mark Cooper of the Vermont School of Law who says continuing with nuclear power ‘will delay the transition to a clean energy future’; New York State Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee who blasts the $7.6 billion bail-out; and Dr. Mark Z. Jacobson, energy analyst at Stanford University who emphasizes how ‘nuclear is not zero carbon at all.’ The program was filmed at a New York City conference organized by the Radiation and Public Health Project.»

#nucnews #energy


Arctic Council — As millions of acres burn in the Arctic, creating a common language around wildfire management is key

Edward Alexander: Part of EPPR’s Circumpolar Wildland Fire project is to learn how other Indigenous Permanent Participants in the Arctic Council have managed fires and taken steps to suppress fires in a way that is useful for them as a people.

One example is that Gwich’in burn grass during early springtime in the North, when the meadows have thawed but there is still snow around the timber line. This was traditionally important because it increased the biodiversity of plant species growing in that area, fertilized the soil so that plants were more nutritious and increased the land’s carrying capacity of animals. There would be an increase in rabbits, and moose would have two or three calves instead of just one. It is also a carbon-neutral practice to burn the land during that specific time due to the low amount of carbohydrates on the soil. It is important to understand that if that same fire was lit just a month later, it could be extraordinarily destructive and destroy the rich structures of those plants, interfere with migrating animals and more.

It is important to gather information like this to understand how people have worked with fire in the past to better manage what we have going forward. It is not enough to talk about management regimes without talking about Indigenous management and techniques that have been successful in the North for thousands of years.
— Прочесть на arctic-council.org/en/news/creating-a-common-language-around-wildfire-management/