On 13 October 2014, the first in a series of discussions covering different aspects of Arctic science and policy during the Canadian chairmanship of the Arctic Council was held at the Embassy of Canada. Ecologic Institute plays an active role in organizing the series in partnership with the Embassy of Canada, Berlin, International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), Alfred-Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), and Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS).
The discussion, The Arctic Council: Geopolitical aspects and the human dimension, invited David Sproule, Canadian Ambassador to Norway with responsibility for the Canadian International Centre for the Arctic Region (CICAR), and Klaus Zillikens, Head of the Northern Europe Division of the German Federal Foreign Office, to share their knowledge with policymakers, academics, civil society members and the media. David Sproule discussed Canada’s role in the Arctic Council and as its current Chair, highlighting major accomplishments of Canada’s Chairmanship as well as ways to further improve the Council as a whole. Klaus Zillikens provided the German perspective by describing the country’s role in Arctic issues and its motivations for being an Observer State.
Most notably, the important accomplishment of establishing the Arctic Economic Council as the Arctic continues to develop was discussed along with the role of Permanent Participants and Observers in the Arctic Council and how participation should be shaped in the future. Additionally, the discussion delved into recent developments in the Canada-EU relationship in Arctic affairs and the significance of this relationship moving forward.
The next discussions will focus on protection of Arctic marine ecosystems (hosted by Ecologic Institute in early 2015), reconciling economic development, rising emissions and the engagement of stakeholders, and the transition from science to policy.