Between July and August 2017 this nine-part webinar series brought together Arctic experts, professionals and students. The webinar series covered a wide range of topics including the regional impacts of climate change on the Arctic, local challenges such as land-use, energy generation and distribution and food security as well as circumpolar interactions in the Arctic Council and the need for a vision for the Arctic.
Webinar 1: Development on Ice: Drivers and Impacts of Arctic Transportation Infrastructure
Mia Bennett's presentation addressed the global and local drivers and impacts of major transportation infrastructure projects in a climate-impacted Arctic by drawing on case studies in Canada and Russia.
Webinar 2: Part I: Arctic Ecosystem Services; Part II: Alaska, Arctic and Sustainable Development
Part I: Understanding Ecosystem Services and a Changing Climate for Sustainable Decision-Making in the Arctic
Emily McKenzie jointly with Katherine Wyatt presented case examples where information on nature and its benefits to people has been used to improve decision-making, and explore the potential for such approaches, indicators and tools to benefit the Arctic.
Part II: Alaska, Arctic and Sustainable Development
Nils Andreassen's presentation covered Alaska's approach to sustainable development from a couple different perspectives, a review of current activities of the Institute of the North within the Arctic Council, and thoughts about the Finnish Chairmanship's approach to the Sustainable Development Goals. Alaska's Arctic Policy and Implementation Plan are instructive in this, as are prior strategic planning sessions that have been organized within the state related to Arctic issues. The Institute of the North is involved in a number of Arctic Council projects, can report out on recent outcomes and plans related to currently managed projects. Finally, the SDGs give us all an opportunity to evaluate sustainable development in an Arctic context, using globally-agreed to metrics.
Webinar 3: Environmental Impact Assessment for the Arctic
In the first brief presentation, Dr. Sonja Bickford from the University of Nebraska Kearney, USA gave an overview of the University of Lapland Arctic Centre's "Testing improvement processes of Finnish environmental impact assessments and the modes for application in arctic regions of Finland and Russia" (Arctic EIA) project. The presentation covered the goals and background for the project, as well as examples of the project’s results. One of the aims of the research project was to help stakeholders, such as companies, benefit from its findings of benchmarking EIA practices in the Arctic countries – during the presentation examples from US and Sweden were discussed.
The second half of the presentation begun with the introduction of the Finnish led Arctic Council project focusing on 'Arctic EIA', which is intended to span the current Finnish chairmanship of the Arctic Council (2017-2019). The project is supported by the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) and is officially entitled Arctic EIA: Good Practice Recommendations for Environmental Impact Assessment and Public Participation in the Arctic. The project is based, in part, on the Tekes project discussed during the first half of the presentation, and also on a subsequent book on the same topic that will be briefly highlighted. The presentation wrap up with a comparison of two very different EIA systems – Finland and Canada (Province of Alberta and Yukon Territory) – followed by examples of best practices in each of those countries.
Webinar 4: Microgrids and long-term Arctic vision
Piper Foster Wilder: Funding and Operating Renewable-diesel Infrastructure in the Arctic; Private Sector Opportunities
Piper spoke about 60Hertz Microgrids, her company, and what gaps they have discovered in the market, and their approach to filling them. This allows for discussion of the larger need in the Arctic Infrastructure market broadly and barriers/possibilities for public private partnerships. In brief, their approach is to raise a capital fund, aggregate projects to achieve economies of scale, and to deploy an Operations and Maintenance network for remote operators that is supported by their software, Pinga.
Alexander Shestakov: The Arctic needs a long-term vision
Webinar 5: Arctic anthropology and sustainable Greenland
Dr. Anna Kerttula de Echave, PhD, presented her research findings in Arctic Social Sciences.
Inuuteq Holm Olsen: Demystifying Greenland's approach to issues like economic development, climate change issues, the Arctic's geopolitical significance, resource extraction and other pertinent issues is very much linked to its political development and its long term process of self-determination.
Webinar 6: Food Security and Sustainable Fisheries in the Arctic
Stephan Schott's webinar discussed a knowledge co-production process that documents and discusses current harvesting areas and seasons, cultural practices, the costs of harvesting, newly generated biological and genetic information, and the challenges for food security. We will discuss the consideration of options for sustainable commercial and subsistence fishery development in this knowledge co-production process.
Webinar 7: Arctic in literature, Russian Arctic and Bering Strait
Renée Hulan: Indigenous people and the High North in media and literature
Matt Melino: Maritime Futures: The Arctic and the Bering Strait Region
Environmental changes and the pursuit of economic opportunity are changing the dynamics of international Arctic shipping – both destinational and trans-shipment. Once considered dangerous and non-commercial, Arctic shipping routes such as the Northern Sea Route and the Bering Strait are increasingly scrutinized as potential economical alternatives to some of the world’s most popular maritime passages.
Alec Luhn: A journalist's view on the Russian Arctic
Webinar 8: The Arctic Council and Indigenous Land Use Planning
Heather Exner-Pirot: The Arctic Council
Jocelyn Joe-Strack: Indigenous Land Use Planning – Leading Self-Determination and Reconciliation
Dän K'e, 'Our Way'. From Self-Government to Self-Determination: Insight and Impact of Developing the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation's Settlement Land Use Plan.
Webinar 9: Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
10th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: global trends and challenges.
Alexey Tsykarev's presentation showcased the work of UN indigenous specific mechanisms, in particular the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as global tools to achieve sustainable development and dignity for indigenous communities worldwide. It elaborated on the global trends and lessons learned as we move towards full implementation of the UN Declaration. Specific UN studies and experts’ advice was mentioned along with some useful information how they can be utilized in advocacy and practical work. More specifically, this presentation focused on some specific issues of a critical importance for indigenous peoples, including climate change, assimilation of languages, access to proper healthcare and principle of free, prior and informed consent.