Mon 22 Jan 2018
08:50 - 09:00
09:00 - 10:30
Session format: 5-minute introductions followed by discussion
The Arctic is attracting considerable international attention. This attention which continues to grow. Several non-Arctic states have declared their interest in the Arctic, and are underscoring this with concrete actions. Despite the Arctic Council calling for the Arctic to be a region of peace, stability, and constructive cooperation, and although there are very few unresolved jurisdictional issues in the region, the image of the Arctic as a future geopolitical hotspot is widespread.
In the face of global climate change, the Arctic is also a ‘canary’ in our planetary ‘coal mine’. Protecting the Arctic environment has therefore become a key priority. The Arctic is also home to four million people, including indigenous peoples. Their livelihoods and cultures depend upon economic development in the region. Furthermore, the Arctic is a very diverse region in a number of respects. Thus, challenges and responses will vary depending on which of the many ‘Arctics’ you are addressing.
What is being done to ensure that the Arctic's natural resources are managed sustainably, based on the best available scientific knowledge and for the benefit of future generations? Do we have the necessary financial mechanisms in place to ensure that industry and infrastructure are developed and that economic gains are fairly distributed? How can we better connect the different Arctic regions - through communication, competence/knowledge transfer and exchange, and innovative approaches to social development?
11:00 - 12:30
Session format: 5-minute introductions followed by discussion
Human activities, accidents at sea, pollution, and environmental degradation demand constant awareness and knowledge-based cooperation in the Arctic. Simultaneously, communication and connectivity, such as via satellites and broadband Internet access, and other innovations, such as telemedicine, offer great opportunities. Smart solutions are needed for the sustainable development of remote Arctic settlements. Innovative infrastructure projects could open up Arctic economies, with new actors taking on important roles in driving development. New sailing routes in this fragile environment require green shipping practices and a conscious balance between economic benefit, safety, and sustainability.
With such perspectives: how can we encourage an innovative, yet responsible way forward for the economic development of Arctic communities? In which sectors are new technological solutions most urgently required? How can new technologies produce greener Arctic societies? How can Arctic communities tap into global innovations to produce local solutions?
13:30 - 14:30
Session format: debate
All life on earth depends on the health of our oceans, which cover two-thirds of our planet and most of the Arctic. The UN Sustainable Development Goal 14, reaffirmed in the Arctic Council’s 2017 Fairbanks declaration, provides us with a common roadmap to healthy and productive oceans, including the Arctic Ocean. The Law of the Sea constitutes the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources. The EUs Our Ocean Commitments aim to foster a sustainable, blue economy and ensure the safety of our seas.
A ‘blue economy’ offers food, energy, water, jobs, and income. Globally, pollution, overfishing, rising sea levels, ocean warming and acidity, and extreme weather events are serious threats to the sustainability of the blue economy. Furthermore, 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted every year, putting unnecessary and avoidable pressure on the environment, including the oceans.
So, how can we improve the global environmental performance of existing ocean-based industries while developing future-oriented businesses with a smaller environmental footprint? How can we erase the artificial contradiction between conservation and use, which ought to be two sides of the same coin? What are the tools we have at our disposal? Is there sufficient political leadership?
The Arctic Ocean is among the cleanest and best managed oceans in the world. Still, the Arctic is affected by global problems, such as micro plastics. Can cooperation in the Arctic serve as a ‘best practice’ case for ocean management?
Tue 23 Jan 2018
09:00 - 10:30
Session format: 5 minute introductions followed by discussion
Scientific knowledge is fundamental to the functioning and development of modern societies. Furthermore, science has been central to the work of the Arctic Council since its inception over twenty years ago, balancing national interests and common interests in the Arctic. However, the role of science in decision-making is increasingly being questioned, especially with regard to our globally-interconnected civilisation, as reflected by the international discourse on climate change and the ‘science marches’ around the world.
In 2017 the ‘Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation’ was signed by all of the Arctic foreign ministers on the margins of the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks. The next Arctic Science Ministerial Meeting will take place in Berlin in October 2018. These processes will engage diplomatic consideration about the changing circumstances of the Arctic, which itself is part of a growing global dialogue about science and technology advice in policymaking.
How do we understand and extract lessons from Arctic science in this global context? How can we produce shared knowledge that is international, interdisciplinary and inclusive? How can science be applied to achieve Arctic sustainability, including from a business perspective? Is the science community conscious enough about its responsibility in order to translate science to policy makers, business leaders and the public?
11:00 - 12:00
Session format: panel debate
Greater connectivity, industrial and business activities, can enhance investments and improve living standards in northern societies. Representatives of indigenous peoples have long been decisive actors in the international relations of the Arctic, not least as Permanent Participants in the Arctic Council. Adaptation to the effects of climate change, to the impacts of big industry and foreign investment on local development, and to urbanisation also need to be considered when building resilient Arctic societies.
What is it then that matters most to people in the various parts of the Arctic? What does resilience look like in a rapidly changing Arctic? How can resilience help Arctic communities respond to change? How can innovations in education, culture, economic development and modern technology be used to connect and strengthen the resilience and viability of Arctic communities? What role is there for national governments, the international community, big business, and foreign investors to support local authorities and people to ensure Arctic societies are sustainable and resilient?
The Arctic region is changing rapidly and we are witnessing major alterations affecting environment, climate, demography, industry and governance. New areas and opportunities are opening up and Arctic Frontiers Policy discusses the political frameworks needed to utilise these opportunities in a responsible way. This part of Arctic Frontiers draw together politicians, scientists and business leaders for joint efforts in working out a sustainable future for the Arctic. Arctic Frontiers Policy is simultaneously translated into Russian and English and broadcast live via the Arctic Frontiers webpage.
In a world of increasing turmoil the Arctic is still a place for collaboration and peaceful communication. In maintaining peaceful relations across borders in the north the encompassing science collaboration has been particular important. The vast ocean that represents the bulk of the arctic area carries large potentials, but also threats. As increasingly larger parts of it will be utilized, how do we communicate and conduct search and rescue. And more importantly, how do we secure productive and healthy oceans. Sustainable development of the ocean is of particular importance in this matter. Sustainable business development is also key in securing resilient arctic societies. Connecting these societies together and closer to the rest of the world’s ideas, knowledge, technology and capital is an issue of special importance at Arctic Frontiers Policy in 2018.
In 2018 the Arctic Frontiers Policy program will have five main sessions with the following tentative working titles: State of the Arctic, Technology and connectivity, Resilient Arctic societies and business development, Healthy and productive oceans, Industry and environment.
Ole Øvretveit email (47) 770 256 29