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Some international agreements and declarations have been specifically designed for addressing issues concerning the Arctic, while several others apply globally but are particularly relevant in the region. Analysis of these both hard and soft law instruments  along with other disciplines, is a key for understanding Arctic Governance and Cooperation, as outlined by the Polar Law Institute.

The concept of Polar law and the idea of a programme of legal education with some of the core subjects of what can be defined as Polar law was already being discussed when the first steps were taken towards a full blown legal education at the University of Akureyri (UNAK) around the turn of the millennium. When the first group of students finished their BA-degree in 2006, the concept of Polar law was developed and given a central place in the research objectives and teaching of the Faculty. The Faculty held a preparatory conference in 2007 with many international experts, including Professor Nigel Bankes who, in 2010, would be only the third scholar ever to be awarded an honorary doctorate from UNAK. The masters programme in Polar law was launched in 2008. This was taking place at same time as domestic and international interest in the Arctic increased heavily. The Polar law initiatives at UNAK were amongst dozens connected to the Fourth International Polar Year (2007-08).

Binding International Agreements:

International non-binding Declarations:

Regional Agreements Signed under the Auspices of the Arctic Council:

Binding Regional Agreements:

Non-binding Regional Declarations:

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