The Institute of the North is currently hosting a workshop on Arctic transportation infrastructure in Reykjavík. The focus of the workshop is response capacity and sustainable development in the Arctic.
Increased capacity to respond by sea and air is considered necessary in light of increased shipping traffic in Arctic waters.
The Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group approved a project to assess transportation infrastructure which seeks to evaluate infrastructure, including ports, airports and response capability, by looking at maritime and aviation assets in the Arctic.
Arctic ports and airports serve as an important gateway to support search and rescue, resource extraction and development activities, pollution prevention and environmental safety, and community health and safety.
The United States is leading the project, with Iceland a cooperating party and Canada providing support.
Specialists from all Arctic states will take part in the project including specialists from Iceland in the fields of aviation, maritime affairs, port authorities, the Coast Guard and government ministries, as stated in a press release from the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
The results of the conference and the data which the states provide will be further discussed at the Arctic Council ministerial meeting in Kiruna, Sweden, next year.
In mid-October, representatives from the Arctic states held the fifth round of negotiations on a legally binding agreement on preparedness and response in the event of a marine oil spill in the Arctic in Reykjavík.
The workshop runs through December 6.
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