2014 – Humans in the Arctic

The 8th Arctic Frontiers conference Humans in the Arctic will address two main themes: I) Health, Society and Environment, and II) Offshore Maritime Challenges.

Theme I explores how living conditions for humans inhabiting the Arctic are being influenced by changing climate, migration and industrial and business development. What will the cumulative effect of these changes be on human health, wellbeing and working conditions, and what will the effect be at a societal level?

Theme II addresses the fact that increasing business and recreation activities in the Arctic will require a strong maritime sector. Arctic Frontiers calls for discussion on how the main challenges connected to offshore and shipping activities can be met, including the need for a more extensive search and rescue system.

Health, society and environment

The environment of the Arctic is changing, and this affects the conditions for humans living in the Arctic for better and for worse. Climate change will lead to less ice and permafrost and thus, increased tourism, fishing, petroleum activities and mining. These activities in the High North will give opportunities and impact socio-economy, demography and traditional lifestyle as well as increase contamination and disturb the natural environment. The cumulative impact may affect life, wellbeing, culture and ultimately the health of people living in the region. Healthy adaption to the changes must be planned. The latest advances in technology and innovative communication are potentially very effective tools with which to reduce risk related to living and working in the Arctic and also maximize the benefits, thus ensuring sustainable development. How can this be done? Arctic Frontiers 2014 will address the scientific challenges ahead.

Maritime operational challenges

The growth in offshore petroleum activities in the Arctic and the renewed interest in cargo transport north of the American and Eurasian continents require improved or new logistic and transport solutions, better guidance to ships and an extended emergency response service including Search and Rescue (SAR). This is also the case for increasing tourism and fishery activities in the Arctic. A wide range of challenges are facing the operations due to the extreme distances, climatic and weather conditions, as well as winter darkness. Low temperatures, summer fog, long distances to shore-based resources require a robust communication infrastructure, new warning systems, survival kits, lifesaving equipment, rescue units and operating procedures. The aim of the conference is to discuss these arctic challenges, and to present innovative and viable solutions in order to reduce risk, build resilience and secure commercial operations.

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