An Overview of National and International Environmental Laws pertaining to Arctic States and the Work of the Arctic Council

Hayley-Bo Dorrian-Bak

Citation: Hayley-Bo Dorrian-Bak, An Overview of National and International Environmental Laws pertaining to Arctic States and the Work of the Arctic Council, Global Affairs Review, Vol. 2, No. 2, Fall/Winter 2021.

doi: 10.51330/gar.0020224

ISSN: 2660-6968

date: December 28th, 2021

Abstract:

The latest International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published in August 2021 demonstrated that the Arctic region drastically feels the impacts of climate change. Several laws and policies contribute to the governance of the reduction of emissions which impact the Arctic polar region. This work will analyse the inclusion of language relating to the Arctic region in several key Arctic countries’ climate policies and in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted in requirement of being parties to the Paris Agreement. Arctic policies of these same countries will then be analysed to determine the degree to which they stipulate action relating to the Arctic environment. Finally, the several research projects and initiatives conducted by the Arctic Council’s two working groups, the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) and the Arctic Contaminants Action Programme (ACAP), will be overviewed to demonstrate their contributions to the best available science and practice in the region. This paper will look into how, and to what extent, the research of the Arctic Council working groups can be considered a mechanism of soft law in Arctic environmental governance. Consideration will also be given to how this relates to soft law governance stemming from the Law of the Sea (LOSC).