Canada becomes third party to ratify commercial fishing regulation in the Central Arctic Ocean

The protection of biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction is an issue of immense importance for global conservation efforts. After all, around 61% of the world's oceans are areas which are not part of any state's 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which makes them in principle susceptible to uncontrolled commercial exploitation. The Arctic has seen …

Call for Papers – Edited book on Non-governmental actors in the polar regions

The role of non-governmental actors (NGA) in the polar regions has been discussed in different articles and books, but a comprehensive volume assessing their normative role for the lives of people, institutions and laws in both the Arctic and Antarctic has yet to be released. The planned volume Non-governmental Actors in the Polar Regions aims …

A thin Arctic statement, and a thick worrying report

The second week of May 2019 started with two important events: the release of a summary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services' (IPBES) Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services; and the Eleventh Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council (AC). These two events are crucial events for the advancement of our …

Guyana becomes first state to ratify Escazú Agreement!

The process towards respect towards and inclusion of local populations in the decision-making processes on environmental matters has taken another major leap forward: Guyana has ratified the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (Escazú Agreement; text of the Agreement in English here). …

A new feature on a Finnish news website… and a satirical utilisation of that feature

On 22 March 2019, the local Finnish news outlet Yle Lahti published a little feature about me. (original here). A few days later, a second local Finnish newspaper, Uusi Lahti, used this feature in a satirical cartoon in its printed version. This is a translation of the feature and a translation as well as context …

A new book!

Along with my wonderful co-editors Yulia Zaika and Ilan Kelman, our book Arctic Triumph: Northern Innovation and Persistence has finally seen the light of day. The book is a compilation of different 'stories' from the Arctic in which not the disaster narrative prevails, but which shows that also positive developments are taking place, despite the …

11.9% of Finland’s wildlife is threatened. What can we do as private citizens?

A recent estimate of the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) places 11.9% of all species endemic to Finland in the category of 'threatened' (IUCN Red List categories VU, EN, CR), which marks an increase of 1.4% since the last assessment carried out in 2009. The report - which at the time of writing is not available …

Death penalty for poachers in Kenya?

Recently, news broke (again) that Kenya was to introduce the death penalty for poachers (the same story ran already in May 2018). According to the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (WCMA), poaching means the "illegal hunting, illegal capturing and illegal harvesting of any wildlife." Kenya lists the African elephant (Loxodonta africana), the White rhino (Ceratotherium simum) …

Animal cultures and human cultures – tools for conservation

A study published yesterday in Science links animal learning patterns with conservation efforts. While knowledge on the cultural learning of whales, seals and other species is not new (see e.g. Whitehead & Rendell, 2014), a strategic link to conservation has not been established. The only exception here is the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), whose …

Commercial Sealers under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

On 17 December 2018 the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNROP). The document, which encompasses 28 articles, is a far-reaching human rights instruments, which combines well-established human rights standards with labour rights, environmental rights and, more specifically, women's rights. Additionally, …