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PCRC Third International Symposium “The Role of Non-Arctic States / Actors in the Arctic Legal Order-Making”

Kobe University Polar Cooperation Research Centre (PCRC) held its third international symposium “The Role of Non-Arctic States / Actors in the Arctic Legal Order-Making” on 7-9 December 2017. PCRC was established in order to promote research on Arctic international legal and policy issues in October 2015. PCRC held its kick-off symposium overviewing the present status of the Arctic legal order-making in December 2015 and the second symposium focusing on legal order-making in the Arctic Ocean in July 2016. The outcome of these two symposia will be published soon in a book from Toshindo in Japanese. Based on these research activities, the third symposium intended to highlight the role of non-Arctic States such as Japan and China in the Arctic legal order-making. The academia and practitioners invited by PCRC from Japan and abroad made presentations and participated actively in the discussion. A total of 77 participants attended the symposium.

The symposium comprised of four keynote speeches and six sessions. On the first day, the symposium commenced with the keynote speech made by Mr. Koji Sekimizu, Secretariat-General Emeritus of International Maritime Organization (IMO), on the significance of IMO’s Polar Code. The sessions on the global Arctic shipping governance and Central Arctic Ocean fisheries regime followed. The second day started with a keynote speech by Professor Dalee Sambo Dorough, the former Chair of the UN Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues, followed by a session focusing on the influence of non-Arctic activities on the Arctic indigenous and local communities. In the afternoon, an interdisciplinary collaborative research was introduced by international lawyers from Kobe PCRC and marine scientists from JAMSTEC on how to make Arctic marine observation more “policy relevant”. The final day started with two keynote speeches made by Ambassador Keiji Ide, Ambassador of Japan for Arctic Affairs, on the Japan’s Arctic policy and Professor Timo Koivurova, Director of the Arctic Centre of University of Lapland, on the role of non-Arctic actors in the Arctic governance. The symposium was concluded with the sessions focusing on the role of observers in the Arctic Council and the role of Asian states in the Arctic legal order-making. The PCRC symposia are renowned for its long and substantive discussion among the speakers and with the floor in order to deepen our understanding of the pressing legal and policy challenges facing the Arctic. This year’s symposium was no exception.

Many of the presentations at the symposium will be published in a book from Routlegde publisher. This symposium was particularly significant, first, in that PCRC’s research was able to substantively incorporate indigenous’ perspective through the participation of indigenous legal scholars. Second, PCRC was able to invite several early career scholars from Russia, China, Poland and other countries, so as to expand and build on the international research on the Arctic legal and policy issues.

Akiho Shibata and Osamu Inagaki
(Kobe University / Members of Theme 7)

Group photo of the speakers and discussants

Discussion during the Symposium