There’s a Catch – Can Iceland Save Its Seals Without Hurting Its Fishermen?
Fishing has always been a pillar of Iceland’s economy. In recent decades, consolidation and tech improvements have transformed the industry so that today most commercial
In Focus: Where is Iceland’s Updated Constitution?
Between 2010 and 2012, Iceland “crowdsourced” a new constitution which was handed over to Parliament. A national referendum followed, where a majority voted for the document to be used as a foundation for constitutional reform. Yet it was never adopted. Fast forward nearly a decade: a group of activists is fighting for the “new constitution” […]
In Focus: How Iceland’s Experts Are Tackling COVID-19
Iceland’s first case of COVID-19 was confirmed on February 28 in an Icelandic man in his 40s returning from Italy. The number of cases rose steadily until April 5, after which it started dropping as rapidly as it had shot up. In a matter of weeks, the country had managed to contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus, […]
In Focus: Sale of State-Owned Banks
For years, Iceland’s government considered selling 25-50% of Íslandsbanki bank, currently fully owned by the State Treasury. Reducing state ownership of financial institutions was a turnaround in Iceland’s financial policy that had been in development for years. With memories of the banking collapse still strong in the minds of the public, many were opposed to […]
In Focus: Avalanche Barriers
On January 14, 2020, three large avalanches fell in quick succession in the Westfjords of Iceland. One avalanche fell in Súgandafjörður, directly across from Suðureyri, causing a tidal wave to strike the town that, ultimately, did little damage. The other two fell in Flateyri, causing more significant destruction. The timing of the avalanches was noteworthy. […]
In Focus: Municipal Mergers
It’s Monday morning. Katrín wakes up and gets her daughter ready for school. After dropping her off, she heads to the local library, where she does freelance work. On her way there, she notices the progress in the apartment housing being built across the street: she’s renting now but has put a down payment on an apartment there. During her lunch break, Katrín drives out of town for a walk at her favourite hiking spot. Since it was designated as a protected area several years ago, it’s been getting more popular. She works until 5.00pm. Her daughter participates in an after-school program until then. After picking her up, they head to the local pool for a bit of fun before dinner. One organisation has had a hand in every aspect of Katrín’s day, as well as her daughter’s: her local council.
In Focus: Proposed Highland National Park
The Icelandic highland is one of the largest uninhabited, uncultivated areas in Europe. Almost all of Iceland’s population lives near the coastline, owing both to the barrenness and the coldness of the highland, and to Iceland’s fishing-based economy. The government is now planning to designate the entirety of the Icelandic highland as a national park, which would make it one of the largest national parks in the world, covering 30% of the country. But not everyone is on board with the idea.
In Focus: Samherji Scandal
One of the biggest news stories to break last year alleged that one of Iceland’s largest seafood companies, Samherji, had bribed Namibian government officials to gain access to lucrative fishing grounds, while also taking advantage of international loopholes to avoid taxes. The story was reported collaboratively by Kveikur, Stundin Newspaper, and Al Jazeera Investigates, after months of investigations sparked by the confessions of whistleblower Jóhannes Stefánsson, a former project manager for Samherji in Namibia. The following report is based on their extensive research.
In Focus: No Smoke Without Fireworks
Reykjavík’s New Year’s Eve fireworks tradition results in much pollution, yet it’s also the primary source of funding for the country’s search and rescue teams.
In Focus: Iceland and the Arctic
Powerful countries are showing increased interest in the Arctic – and Iceland.
In Focus: Proposed Sugar Tax
In an effort to improve public health, the Icelandic government plans to impose a sugar tax of 20% on products such as candy, chocolate, and sweetened soft drinks.
In Focus: Asylum Seeker Deportations
The impending deportations of two Afghan families seeking asylum in Iceland have been heavily criticised in recent weeks. The families in question are the Sarwary and Safari families, who have been granted international protection status in Greece.