The impact and consequences of climate change in the Arctic are becoming more and more catastrophic, posing a great threat to human survival and development. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a stark warning about the dangers of climate change in the Arctic in its latest sixth climate assessment report. The issue of Arctic climate change has become a common concern of both Arctic and non-Arctic countries. How to implement Arctic climate governance to solve climate change has become an important Arctic governance issue related to the future of mankind.
The Indigenous Ainu who once lived in northern Japan and the Russian Far East now live primarily in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture. Over the years, many Ainu hid their Indigenous identity both from Japanese society and in some cases their own children (see e.g., NHK News, 2023). To this day, many with Ainu ancestry are unaware of their indigeneity. Despite the existence of linguistic resources such as language courses and radio stations, there are now only two native Ainu speakers in the world(Endangered Languages Project, n.d.). The Ainu language is a language isolate (that is, it has no known genealogical link with any other language) and can be divided into Hokkaido, Sakhalin and Kuril Ainu, the latter two of which are now extinct (Dal Corso, 2022: 3). Yet, language revitalisation is associated with a heightened sense of self-worth and community; ‘it is no surprise that people who have access to their language have improved mental health, lower suicide rates, and lower rates of substance abuse than do comparison groups in similar communities who do not use their language’ (Grenoble, 2021: 17-19).
The ongoing geopolitical confrontation over Russia’s war in Ukraine led to the severing of constructive diplomatic communication on many issues of multilateral relevance. The Arctic, long considered a model of international collaboration, has not avoided the consequences; on a number of pressing topics, including security, science, and the environment, there is little cooperation remaining between the West and Russia. The lack of an adequate forum for addressing the urgent threats facing the Arctic led the Switzerland-based Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) to launch a discreet dialogue process (the ‘High North Talks’) to address some of these gaps. These talks convene experts from the states most invested in the Arctic, with a view to developing creative solutions and conveying them to decision-makers for consideration. One area of attention is scientific collaboration, which has largely ceased since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Regardless of the geopolitical fallout from the war, it is imperative that an accommodation be found to jointly address the most pressing of the Arctic’s challenges, which are long-term and global in nature, and in some cases irreversible if they are left unattended.
Egill Thor Nielsson
The China-Nordic Research Center (CNARC) was established at an event hosted by the Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) in Shanghai on the 10ᵗʰ of December 2013. CNARC has ten founding Member Institutes, four Chinese and six Nordic, which all have capacities to influence and coordinate Arctic research. They include polar institutes, research centres, research funders, universities and think tanks. The purpose of CNARC is to provide a platform for academic cooperation to increase awareness, understanding and knowledge of the Arctic and its global impacts, as well as to promote cooperation for sustainable development of the Nordic Arctic and coherent development of China in a global context. With a primary focus on three research themes: 1) Arctic climate change and its impacts, 2) Arctic resources, shipping and economic cooperation, and 3) Arctic policy-making and legislation.1