Home Institution

George Washington University

Publication Date

Spring 2008

Program Name

Switzerland: International Studies, Organizations, and Social Justice


The issues facing the Arctic region today are of relatively new importance on the agendas of environmentalists, lawyers, and national governments. Global warming is affecting the polar regions at a faster pace than the rest of the world, and is drastically changing the ecosystem and viability of the indigenous groups who depend on the environment of the tundra. The forced adaptation of the natives has lead to convictions of human rights and debates over the accountability of the world to affected communities. The retreat of Arctic sea-ice also exposes another area of controversy; the claims to the resources and passageways that are becoming increasingly accessible. The beginnings of an international race to claim sea territory has lead to interpretations of the law of the sea. The lack of jurisdiction over a substantial oil reserve in the Arctic Ocean is the core of the debate today, and area of economical value to oil corporations. The changes in the Arctic environment and subsequent effects on the people have implications on global economies, politics, cultures, and ecosystems. Thus, an interdisciplinary approach to future development and regulation of the Arctic is required to meet various interests and to insure regional and global sustainability.


Natural Resources Management and Policy


Article Location