Due to global warming, the Arctic is another region where the international community faces pressing challenges. While the melting of the ice crust is enabling access to new resources and opening new trading routes, the territorial and international law issues that accompany these developments have the potential to spark conflict. The possible threat this situation poses to the environment must also be given due attention.
Germany does not border the Arctic Ocean. Nevertheless, the Federal Government has a strong interest in promoting structures in the Arctic Region that are based on international law, aim for sustainable and peaceful management of the region's resources and preserve the ecosystem.
That is why the Federal Foreign Office, together with the Foreign Ministries of Denmark and Norway, is hosting an international conference titled "New chances and new responsibilities in the Arctic Region" from 11 - 13 March 2009.
Günter Gloser, Minister of State for Europe, will open the conference on the evening of 11 March with Joe Borg, EU Commissioner responsible for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs. Issues of environmental policy, business and international law will be discussed in three high-level expert forums.
The conference builds on a national workshop on the Arctic Region that took place at the Federal Foreign Office in March 2008. It is supported by the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg.
As part of the conference, Minister of State Günter Gloser and EU Commissioner Borg will open a new exhibition titled "An Arctic Expedition – Research for the Future in the Far North" on the evening of 11 March in the atrium of the Federal Foreign Office. The exhibition features German research activities in the Arctic. It was put together in cooperation with the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources and will be on display in the atrium of the Federal Foreign Office from 12 March to 21 April 2009.