Database on Arctic Doctoral and Post-doctoral Projects on Law


Database on Arctic Doctoral and Post-doctoral Projects on Law


ProjectThe role of law in the resilience of coastal Arctic socio-ecological systems

Scientific studies on coastal socio-ecological systems in the Arctic suggest, that climate change already has a significant impact, with the potential of a strong increase in the future as global warming progresses. While previous research has almost exclusively focused on governance of these systems, studies also do suggest that law plays a role in resilience processes. Hunting quota set by law, for example, can become inadequate as species move northwards and ecosystems change.
Based on the definition of resilience as the capacity to “adapt, resist and transform”, with a focus on adaptation and transformation, my research investigates whether the legal framework that governs socio-ecological interactions is provides room for socio-ecological systems resilience. By taking three case studies (Communities in Greenland, Alaska and Canada that undertake cetacean subsistence hunting) as an example, I evaluate whether the current legal system allows for climate resilience building and maintenance. Although there has been some development in the past decade to evaluate law from a resilience perspective, the scholarship is quite limited, and even more so in the Arctic. Hence, a first element of the research is the creation of an evaluative framework based on an extensive literature review of socio-ecological systems literature and the legal scholarship that does exist with relation to resilience. Then, the project turns towards the evaluation of the legal components of the system that are related to resilience building (e.g. hunting regulations under the ICRW, State obligations under the UNFCCC as well as biodiversity protection laws, such as postulated by the UNCLOS, CBD and CITES) with the aim to map out barriers and conducive factors in resilience-building.

Keywordssocio-ecological resilience, climate resilience, Arctic law, biodiversity protection, oceans law, bowhead whales, human rights
RegionsArctic region
Start year2021
End year2024
ContactJohanna Sophie Buerkert
PositionPhD Fellow
OrganizationUniversity of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law
DepartmentCentre for International Law and Governance

Beatriz Martinez Romera (supervisor)

Added14.12.2022 11.46.07