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Security Challenges and Opportunities

Security Challenges and Opportunities

30 October 2013 to 31 October 2013
Shaping Arctic Change through Conscious Choices

From 30 to 31 October 2013, a workshop entitled "Shaping Arctic Change through Conscious Choices" took place at the Abisko Scientific Research Station in Northern Sweden, ca. 200km north of the Polar Circle. Together with Shiloh Fetzek (International Institute for Strategic Studies - IISS, London) Golo Bartsch, Associate of the Ecologic Institute and PhD candidate at Bielefeld University, chaired one of the workshop's panels dealing with security issues, and contributed parts of his own research on security policy in the High North to the event.

More than 30 international participants, from various fields such as science, politics, and environmental protection, discussed the complex challenges and opportunities resulting from Arctic climate change within three panels "Security Challenges and Opportunities", "Critical Thresholds, Resilience and Adaptive Capacity", and "Governing the Arctic – From Science to Governance".

The "Security" Panel clearly came to the result that an imagination of "Arctic Security", shaped only by the traditional understanding of "National Security", is not sufficient in order to understand the full variety of risks the thawing Arctic bears today. Instead, combining at least some bits of this largely military-oriented understanding with several elements of "Human Security" opened up a path for a much better scientific understanding of Arctic security, and helped to connect the panel with the other two.

The workshop's results were drafted in a joint paper, which is due to finalization and publication in the coming weeks. For their efforts, the attendees were rewarded with an impressive Aurora Borealis (polar light) on the Lapland skies in the night of 30 October 2013.

The workshop was organized by the Fulbright Commission and sponsored by the U.S. Embassy Stockholm, the U.S. State Department, the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Stockholm Environment Institute and WWF Sweden. Tom Healy, Chairman of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, Mark Brzezinski, US ambassador to Sweden, and Gustav Lind, Swedish Arctic ambassador, were present and gave welcome keynotes, advice and support.