A conference organized by the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law (NIEM) of the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland and collaborators which aims to bring together experts from both regions and explore Arctic and Third Pole topics from an inter-polar perspective.
The Arctic and the Third Pole-Himalayan region both contain important elements of the cryosphere, areas of the world that are defined by the near-permanent presence of water in a frozen state. However, as temperatures in both regions are currently warming at several times the global average, these areas are rapidly thawing, and several elements of the cryosphere are said to be tipping points in the global climate system. This will have major impacts on local communities and ecosystem, and also lead to larger-scale changes: the melting of the Himalayan glaciers will have significant regional effects related to the provision of water to a quarter of humanity, and the warming of the Arctic will lead to the large-scale release of methane from thawing permafrost, and the melting of the Greenland ice sheet could lead to several meters of sea level rise. The interlinked aspect of the cryosphere thaw and climate change has been evidenced as crucial in promoting polar science. However, the Arctic and Third Pole are almost always considered separately, demonstrating very little knowledge about the commonalities, links, and differences between both regions, especially concerning (geo-) political, socio-cultural, environmental and legal dynamics of effects of and responses to these changes.
To remedy this deficiency, the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law (NIEM) of the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, in collaboration with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the UArctic Chair in Arctic Legal Research and Education, and the UArctic Law Thematic Network, is organising an Inter-Polar Conference in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 6-9 September 2023. This Conference is meant to be an initial starting point for a durable network that will bring together experts from both regions and explore Arctic and Third Pole topics from an inter-polar perspective. We hope that this shift can not only help understand the climate change-driven effects on the two Poles but also help prepare scholars and stakeholders in both regions to develop an in-depth understanding of sustainability in a changing climatic and geopolitical landscape. This Conference's focus will be inter- and cross-disciplinary, underlining broad areas of social and legal sciences. But there will also be ample room for scholars to bring knowledge from natural and life science disciplines.
More information on the conference website.