Salve Dahle, Chairman of the Steering committee of Arctic Frontiers
Willy Ørnebakk, Chair of Troms County Government
Benedicte Bjørnås, Youth Council, Troms County Goverment, Norway
Åsa Larsson-Blind, President of the Saami Council, Sweden
State of the Arctic - Connecting the many 'Arctics'
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?
Ine Eriksen Søreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway
Mikael Damberg, Minister for Enterprise and Innovation of Sweden
Antje Boetius, Director Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany
Jan Dusík, Principal Adviser, Strategic Engagement for the Arctic and Antarctic and Acting Director, Europe Office, UN Environment
Tero Vauraste, Chair of the Arctic Economic Council
Urmas Paet, Member of European Parliament, Committee for Foreign Affairs