Smart and resilient Arctic societies

Panel discussion, from the left: Trevor Bell, Founder/Director, SmartICE, Canada, Prof. Dr. James D. Ford Professor & Priestley Chair in Climate Adaptation Priestley International Centre for Climate University of Leeds, United Kingdom, Ola Elvestuen, Minister of Climate and Environment of Norway, host Stephen Sackur, Sam Tam, Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Social and Family Development, Singapore, Frances A. Ulmer, Chair of the US Arctic Research Commission, Christian Hauglie-Hansen, Director General, Norwegian Space Centre. Photo: Solveig Reichert

Session III about smart and resilient Arctic societies focused on how to adapt to changes in societies and become resilient through adaptation to these changes. Changes, however, occur throughout all parts of society: economically, demographic, education, business and industry as well as the environment and personal health. The event, plenary session with introductory remarks by key speakers and a panel discussion afterwards and the possibility for questions from the audience, covered far and wide many themes and topics, though one recurrent: these changes are a great opportunity for Arctic societies.

As a student new to the field of Arctic policy, this was comforting to hear, as changes mean openness by the Arctic society towards new ways to do things and welcoming new people with new ideas. All through the general atmosphere was open-minded, a few views represented a them-us, inside Arctic-outside Arctic, north-south, centre-periphery dichotomy, which I found surprising. Should the Arctic societies rely only on ‘’homegrown’’ or is development, adaptation and resilience found in ideas from the outside world? Challenging was also what another Young Ambassador in the audience addressed: resilience through smart technology is not always the solution, especially when talking sustainability. Is population growth a long term sustainable goal for Arctic communities? The improved infrastructure in order to become resilient is maybe not so good for a sustainable environment. One important point I take with me is the importance of, to listen to the multiple Arctics out there. The most important resource in the north are the people living there – here. The smartness, that Arctic societies inevitably will need to develop towards, needs to benefit in the north: co- is the important beginning to focus on, if Arctic societies want to become resilient.

By Solveig Reichert, Masters, Lund University





DISCLAIMER: These posts are contributions from participants in Arctic Frontiers Young Ambassadors program and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arctic Frontiers.

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