A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF NORMAC
Norwich Model Arctic Council (NORMAC) is a simulation of the real-world Arctic Council . Established in 1996, the Arctic Council is devoted to advancing international cooperation and good governance across the circumpolar Arctic. Around its table sit not only the Arctic States—Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the USA—but also Arctic indigenous peoples organisations representing the Aleut, Athabaskans, Gwitch’in, Inuit, Saami and the many peoples of the Russian North.
Held at Norwich School in the cathedral city of Norwich in the UK, NORMAC is one of the few conferences of its kind in the world ever held at secondary-school level. Before becoming a teacher, NORMAC Director Dr Anthony Speca lived and worked in the Arctic as a senior policy official with the Government of Nunavut, one of Canada’s Arctic territories. He launched NORMAC to share his enthusiasm for the Arctic with pupils, and in the hope of inspiring them to learn more about this unique region and its peoples.
Whilst schools with experience of Model UN may find some aspects of the conference familiar, NORMAC offers an exciting new format of model diplomacy. The Arctic Council is unusual not only in promoting the active involvement of indigenous peoples alongside states, but also in making all decisions by consensus rather than majority vote. The Arctic Council is also well-known for collegiality and consensus-building even during times of tension between participants elsewhere in the world—valuable lessons for delegates to learn.
PARTICIPATING IN NORMAC
Participation in NORMAC is open to any secondary-school around the world. Schools are invited to send one or more delegations of three pupils each to play the role of representatives from one of the eight Arctic States or six Arctic indigenous peoples organisations. As with most other model diplomacy conferences, participants are usually aged 15 to 18, though some may be younger.
If demand is high, it is possible that schools will also be invited to send delegations to represent the 22 Arctic Council Observer countries and organisations. If the number of schools registering exceeds 14, schools will be limited to one delegation each from either an Arctic State or Arctic indigenous peoples organisation. Any additional delegations from the same school will then be from Arctic Council Observer countries or organisations.
NORMAC 2018 will be held over two days, from 23rd to 25th February, spanning a single weekend from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.
ISSUES FOR NORMAC 2018
At NORMAC 2017, pupils will consider a set of issues that are very much on the Arctic Council’s agenda today:
- Arctic wetlands and climate change
- Commercial fishing in the Arctic Ocean
- Educational opportunity for Arctic children
- The European Union as an Arctic Council Observer
Please see below for Research Briefs to help Delegates prepare to discuss these issues at the conference.
MATERIALS FOR DELEGATES
Delegate materials for NORMAC 2017 are available for download using the links below:.
Like Ministerial meetings of the real Arctic Council, every NORMAC conference ends with a declaration summarising the agreements reached. Past ‘Norwich Declarations’ are available for download below.
Please note that the following declarations represent the collective agreement of secondary-school student Delegates to NORMAC, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Polar Aspect or Norwich School.
It has been an honour to welcome the following distinguished guests as NORMAC Honorary Chairs and keynote speakers:
- Mr Matthew Willis, International Defence Relations, Global Affairs Canada (2016)
- Ms Christine Kelly, Polar Regions Department, Foreign & Commonwealth Office UK (2017)