Government Publishes First-Ever Joint Policy on Land Reclamation and Reforestation

Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Svandís Svavarsdóttir has released the Icelandic government’s first-ever joint policy on land reclamation and reforestation. This per a press release on the government’s website on Friday.

The plans for land reclamation and reforestation look ahead to 2031, but the primary action plan covers 2022-2026 and will shape the government’s priorities in these areas for the coming years. The action plan calls for research on the impacts of land reclamation, reforestation, and the restoration of biodiversity in the wetlands, as well as the creation of new quality criteria for reforestation land selection, and an evaluation of carbon balancing for emissions accounting. Another primary objective aims to restore the ecosystems of disturbed lands, wetlands, and both natural and newly cultivated forests.

In her capacity as Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Svandís Svavarsdóttir’s focus is on the protection, proliferation, and integrity of Iceland’s ecosystems, reads the press release. She also seeks to promote nature-based solutions in climate matters, as well as solutions that are in line with international agreements, support sustainable land use, increase knowledge, cooperation, and public health, and promote sustainable development in rural Iceland.

“I place a lot of emphasis on food production that’s based on sustainable development, whether that’s at land or at sea,” remarked Svandís. “With this plan, land reclamation and reforestation both contribute to sustainable development of communities all around the country. There will be employment opportunities in richer natural resources and development will be built on a sustainable foundation.”

See Also: New Report Examines Food Self-Sufficiency in Five Nordic Island Societies

The policy has been prepared in accordance with recent laws on land reclamation, forests, and reforestation and outlines the government’s vision for the future in these areas, as well as its core values and attendant priorities. The policy is also guided by developments at the international level and Iceland’s international agreements with the United Nations and other global organizations.

It has been in the works since 2019, when project boards were appointed with the task of formulating proposals for both a land reclamation and a national forestry plan. The two boards presented their proposals at an open forum in spring 2021, after which, the proposals were submitted to the Ministry along with an environmental assessment and a summary of the main comments received. The full policies, both the long-term 2031 plan and the 2022-2026 action plan, are available on the government website.

Pussy Riot to Perform at National Theatre

The Russian protest and performance art group Pussy Riot will perform at Iceland’s National Theatre in November, RÚV reports.

Theatre director Magnús Geir Þórðarson said the piece will be part play, part art exhibition, and part concert, and is being staged in conjunction with the group’s first retrospective, which will also open in November at Reykjavík’s Kling & Bang exhibition space.

“This is, of course, a remarkable group that we all know and have followed in the media in recent years. This is a band and a performance art group, a political force, that came here in the spring and worked at the National Theatre to prepare a show that they’ve been touring around Europe this summer and which has been very well-received, with great reviews,” said Magnús Geir.

Co-founder disguised herself as a food courier to escape house arrest

Staunch critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin and feminists who have called for the liberation and equality of women and the LGBTQIA+ community, the members of Pussy Riot have endured significant political persecution. Three of the founding members served jail time for performing their “Punk Prayer” in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, in protest of the Russian Orthodox Church’s close ties to Putin.

Placed under house arrest, co-founder Maria (Masha) Alyokhina disguised herself as a food courier and fled both her home and the country in May of this year. Having had her passport confiscated and been placed on Russia’s “Wanted” list, Alyokhina initially had trouble crossing the Russian border, but Deutsche Welle reports that with the help of Icelandic performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson, she was “able to obtain European documents, allowing her to enter Lithuania.”

Ragnar has been an effusive supporter of the group and their work. “Pussy Riot’s performances are, without a doubt, some of the most important political art works of the 21st century,” he said. “If ever there were artists who gave everything for their art, it’s these badasses. The exhibition is centered around Masha’s story and her description of the hell that is Putin’s Russia.”