2020 Polar Law Symposium The Rule of Law in the Polar Regions

2020 Polar Law Symposium
The Rule of Law in the Polar Regions

23-25 November 2020
Kobe University Rokkodai Campus

Call for abstracts extended !

Abstracts: Submission due is extended until 20 April 2020 deadline 31 March 2020
Early-career/indigenous scholars travel assistance requests: 20 April 2020 deadline 31 March 2020

Considering the stressful time we are all going through now and increasing uncertainties caused by COVID-19, the Convenor of the Kobe Polar Law Symposium have decided to extend the call for abstracts until 20 April 2020 as a first measure to address the current situation. Again, we encourage all interested to submit your abstracts as well as your requests for travel assistance within this new timeframe. During this timeframe, you can also revise your previously uploaded abstracts, replace them with new ones, and/or submit additional abstracts as many times as you wish.

Important Announcement (27 March 2020)
In close consultation with the Advisory Committee, the local organizing committee has started to consider a backup plan for a possible postponement of the Kobe symposium, but at this moment in time, the presentations in the next symposium and/or the papers for the next Yearbook of Polar Law will most likely be based on the abstracts being submitted now. Also, knowing the number of expected participants either in-person or online based on the number of abstracts will greatly assist us in our future planning of the Kobe symposium.

The Convenor would like to assure you that we will be as transparent and speedy as possible to provide all necessary information so that you can make most appropriate decisions regarding your future course of action regarding the symposium and the Yearbook.

Please carefully read the call paper and model abstract format, by downloading it.

Please submit your abstracts/panel proposals through the dedicated submission portal: JTB website.

The Planning Committee encourages a focused discussion in each panel on a common theme with a distinctively bi-polar perspective. The Committee will also accept broad topics and methodologies under such common themes. For the first time in its 13-year history, the 2020 Polar Law Symposium is held in a non-Arctic or non-Antarctic gateway country. Therefore, the “mid-latitude” perspective in all discussions is very much welcomed. When submitting an abstract, please choose a panel the objective of which best fits the theme of your abstract. You can find the description of each panel on the call paper downloadable from the link below.

Proposals for new panels are encouraged. In this case, the proposal should clearly indicate the title of the proposed panel, at least four (4) presentations within the panel with the titles and concise abstracts for each of them, as well as the names of the presenters (all in 700 words limit). The Planning Committee reserves its right to request further information and/or abstracts before making its decision.

From those accepted abstracts/panel proposals, Kobe PCRC will offer full or partial travel assistance to selected early-career scholars and indigenous participants. For selection purposes, early-career scholars and indigenous participants seeking for travel assistance from Kobe PCRC are encouraged to submit a longer version nearing the maximum limit (700 words) so that they can provide the main argument of your proposed presentation.

Travel assistance for the 2020 Polar Law Symposium for the above-mentioned participants is available under the following criteria/conditions:
-Early-career scholars and researchers: all students and those researchers within 5 years past their PhD, and/or
-Indigenous polar experts and researchers and Indigenous knowledge holders of all backgrounds and career stages
 (such as ones represented by the Arctic Council Permanent Participants)

For both categories, active participation in the Symposium is required by submitting abstracts by the deadline of 20 April 2020 and such abstracts being accepted by the Planning Committee. Please note that the travel assistance may only cover part of your travel costs. The tickets and accommodation will be reserved and purchased by the travel agency designated by the local organizing committee, so please do not make the reservation and/or purchase by yourselves. Further instructions and conditions will be duly sent to the selected recipients.

For a panel proposal, only one lead presenter needs to “pre-register” and enter the details of the abstract. However, for travel assistance, each individual presenter needs to provide supporting evidence for her/his status. So, in case of panel proposal with early-career/indigenous scholar(s) eligible for and seeking travel assistance, in addition to the abstract submitted by the lead presenter, those early-career/indigenous scholar(s) must also “pre-register”, upload the same panel proposal, and provide the early-career/indigenous information directly onto the abstract submission portal.

Please use the model abstract format, by downloading it from here.

Please submit your abstracts/panel proposals through the dedicated submission portal: JTB website

Expected Registration Fees:
Regular early bird registration: JPY 12,000.-
Student early bird registration: JPY 5,000.-
Early bird registration is expected to start from 1 June 2020.
No payment is required when submitting the abstracts.

Polar Law Symposium comes to Kobe, Japan!

Polar Cooperation Research Centre (PCRC) of Kobe University is proud to join the Polar Law Institute (University of Akureyri, Iceland), the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law – Arctic Centre (University of Lapland, Finland), the University of the Arctic and its Arctic Law Thematic Network (Finland) to host the 2020 Polar Law Symposium. This will be the first time the event is being held in Asia in its 13-year history.

Academics, students, indigenous representatives and practitioners from around the world will attend and participate in this event, which will discuss on the implications and challenges faced by both the Arctic and the Antarctic for international law and policy. 2020 PLS Kobe is under the main theme of “The Rule of Law in the Polar Regions” with distinctively bi-polar and “mid-latitude” perspectives. The symposium will focus on the following themes (with additional proposals) and be discussion oriented:

  • International rule of law in polar regions
  • Policy-law-science nexus in polar regions
  • Protecting marine and terrestrial polar environments
  • Humans and human security in polar regions
  • Resources and industries in polar regions
  • The law of the sea and the polar regions
Presentation file for 2020 PLS Kobe
(shown at 12th Polar Law Symposium at Hobart on 4 December 2019).
Flyer of PLS Kobe

Important dates

5 December 2019 2020 PLS Kobe website open
5 December 2019 Call for abstracts open
31 March 2020 20 April 2020 Deadline for abstracts and requests for travel assistance
30 May 2020 Notification of results on abstracts and travel assistance requests
1 June 2020 Registration starts
31 August 2020 Early bird registration/presenters registration ends

Program Overview

23 November (Monday, holiday)

Opening ceremony
Plenary session:“The Rule of Law in the Polar Regions”
Parallel panels
Welcome reception at Sakura Restaurant, Kobe University main campus

24 November (Tuesday)

Special Session:“ASM-3 Outcome: Its legal and policy implications”
Plenary Session:“Policy-Law-Science Nexus in Polar Regions”
Parallel Panels
Conference dinner at Shushinkan, Sake brewery restaurant in Nada area

25 November (Wednesday)

Plenary session [TBD]
11:00–12:30; 14:00–17:30
Parallel Panels

Opening Addresses, 23 November [confirmed]
Hiroshi Takeda, President, Kobe University
Takuji Nakamura, Director-General, National Institute of Polar Research, Japan

Keynote Speakers [confirmed]
Plenary session, 23 November: “The Rule of Law in the Polar Regions”
Masataka Okano, Director-General, International Legal Affairs Bureau, MOFA, Japan
Special Session, 24 November: “ASM-3 Outcome: Its legal and policy implications”
Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson, Chair of Senior Arctic Officials Meetings, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Iceland

*Please note the following Arctic related events are planned.
Arctic Circle Japan Forum: 20 and 23 November in Tokyo
Third Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM-3): 21-22 November in Tokyo

Venue and Access

IDEMITSU SAZO Memorial Rokkodai Auditorium, Kobe University Rokkodai Campus
Address: 2-1, Rokkodai-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe, 657-8501, JAPAN

Accommodation and Travel Information

When the registration is opened in June 2020, the organizing committee will recommend a few convenient hotels in Kobe to attend the symposium. For invited speakers to be determined later and selected early-career/indigenous scholars with travel assistance, the organizer will arrange the accommodation and directly pay to the hotel.

Hosts & Sponsors



Convenor of the 2020 PLS Kobe:
Akiho Shibata, Director, Kobe PCRC

Advisory Committee:
Gudmundur Alfredsson (University of Akureyri, Iceland)
Timo Koivurova (University of Lapland, Finland)
Julia Jabour (University of Tasmania, Australia)

Planning Committee:
Akiho Shibata, Chair (Kobe PCRC)
Hiroyuki Enomoto (Arctic Environmental Research Center, National Institute of Polar Research, Japan)
Kentaro Nishimoto (School of Law, Tohoku University, Japan)
Nikolas Sellheim (Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, University of Helsinki, Finland)
Indi Hodgson-Johnston (Institute of Marine & Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Australia)
Zia Madani (Kobe PCRC from September 2020)

Local Organising Committee:
Akiho Shibata, Chair (Kobe PCRC)
Yohei Okada (Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies (GSICS), Kobe University)
Osamu Inagaki (Researcher, Polar Cooperation Research Centre, Kobe University)
Sakiko Hataya (Ph.D student, GSICS, Kobe University)
Fajar Ajie Setiawan (Ph.D. student, GSICS, Kobe University)

Guest Editors for Yearbook of Polar Law Vol.13:
Indi Hodgson-Johnston
Nikolas Sellheim
Akiho Shibata

Wakako Masuda (Polaris Secretaries Office Co., Ltd.)
Rika Ishikura (Travel Lab. Partners LLC)


For inquiries regarding the symposium generally and for abstract submission,
please send an e-mail to:2020_pls_kobe@2020polarlawsymposium.org