On April 14, 2010, a new academic journal was launched. As its name suggests, Arctic Review on Law and Politics was established to provide a forum for discussing and challenging questions of a legal and political character in an Arctic context. The journal was initiated by a group of researchers at the University of Tromsø, Norway, now UiT The Arctic University of Norway.
In the first issue, Editor-in-chief Øyvind Ravna stated that the aim of the journal was to “provide new insights and a deeper understanding of fundamental issues related to the Arctic and the High North, and thus become a forum for academic discussion on sustainable development in the North.”
More than ten years have passed since this aim was set, and the journal is now in its 11th volume. It has adapted to changes over the past decade, having successfully transitioned from a printed, subscription-based format to open access publication with a broader scope. The focus is the same, however, presenting articles on topics related to the Circumpolar Northern societies, including papers addressing essential questions concerning indigenous peoples’ rights, fishery issues, environmental questions, law of the sea and other topics related to Arctic law and politics.
By doing so, the journal addresses topics of great importance to a strategic goal of UiT The Artic university of Norway: developing the High North. Central to UiT’s strategic plan is to be at the international forefront of research in energy, climate, society and environment in the Arctic. We believe that understanding what happens in the Arctic is key to understanding global climate change. Developing knowledge on the causes and effects of changes in climate and environment, the social, economic and legal adaptations to these changes, and the opportunities and challenges for indigenous people due to the changes, is of crucial importance. UiT aims to promote attractive communities in the north, improving people’s quality of life. To do so, developing knowledge about the foundation for a functional welfare state, despite changes and potential conflicts in the High North, and based on collaboration, is important.
To participate in developing the High North in the ways envisioned in UiTs strategic plan, research concerning and challenging questions of a legal and political character in an Arctic context must be encouraged, and researchers at UiT and elsewhere need reputable, high-quality journals in which to publish and present their research. Arctic Review on Law and Politics has, for the past 10 years, promoted and encouraged this kind of research, and supplemented other journals and platforms, with its specific Arctic approach.
Looking back, many interesting questions and topics have been raised and discussed in the journal. Recurrent among them has been the relationship between Russia and Norway – cooperation, conflicts, similarities and interconnections – regarding, for instance, petroleum strategies, conflicts at sea, maritime and fishing cooperation, or the Sami parliament model. The journal has presented important research concerning the law of the sea, dealing with ocean management, Arctic marine biodiversity, Barents Sea fisheries and unstable coastlines. Mining has been discussed from many perspectives and related to different parts of the world. Important questions concerning fisheries in the north have been highlighted, especially regarding cooperation and conflicts between states, and in costal Sami areas in the light of Sami traditional livelihoods. An array of environmental and human rights issues have been raised. Additionally, the journal represents an important forum for academic discourse on law and politics related to indigenous peoples. Legal protection of Sami traditional livelihoods, the right to learn their mother tongues in school, sovereignty over natural resources and the “State Duty to Consult” in land and resource decisions are among the essential issues discussed.
There is no doubt that in the past ten years Arctic Review on Law and Politics has provided a solid and extensive platform for researchers from all around the world, raising, expounding and arguing topics of a legal and political character in the context of the Arctic and the High North. As Dean of the Faculty of Law at UiT, I am proud to say this journal has its “home” at our faculty. The journal is a major contributor to fulfilling the faculty’s vision and strategic goals, especially our aim to be at the international forefront of research concerning law of the sea, environmental law, and Sami and other indigenous peoples’ rights.
I would like to congratulate the journal’s founding editor–in-chief, Professor Øyvind Ravna, the rest of the editors and the editorial team, and the publisher Cappelen Damm, on all the work done and achievements to date. We at the Faculty of Law look forward to following the future journey and the journal’s further development. Ten excellent years have past, and the best is still ahead.
Congratulations and good luck with all the years, volumes and articles to come!