Ambassador Stefán Skjaldarson, Chair of the Sustainable Development Working Group

Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson
Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials

Overview

The Arctic Resilience Forum will be convened every Wednesday from 11:30am – 1:00pm (Eastern Time) over a series of ten weeks, beginning October 7, 2020.  The online series will engage the broadest audience possible in conversations about how to build the resilience of Arctic communities and ecosystems across a variety of focus areas, including: 

October 7: Indigenous Youth Leadership

October 14: Food Security

October 21: Renewable Energy

October 28: Human Health and Pandemics

November 11: Broadband Connectivity

November 18: Gender

November 25: Socio-Ecological Resilience

December 2: Financing Resilience 

December 9: Infrastructure

December 16: Working Together in the Arctic: Indigenous and Western Knowledge Systems

Register here to get updates about the entire Arctic Resilience Forum series.

Individual session pages will open up with registration for specific events approximately one-week in advance so stay tuned for updates.

*Russian language translation will be available as requested.

Sessions

The ARF online series will engage the broadest audience possible in conversations about how to build the resilience of Arctic communities and ecosystems across a variety of focus areas, including:

October 28: Human Health and Pandemics (Registration Now Open!) 

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a stress-test for resilience across the Arctic, particularly for the health and wellbeing of Northerners. The results of this test have been uneven – for example the Arctic’s remoteness has been a benefit in some areas, but it has hindered readiness and response in others. Around the region we’ve heard stories of both resilience and vulnerability, but throughout it all the unique strengths of the North show through. 

This session will focus on what we’ve learned so far and how resilience can best be supported going forward. We will explore how the pandemic has demonstrated the strength and resilience of some communities, discuss some of the ways that Indigenous and western knowledge systems have interacted in the face of crisis, and describe some longstanding vulnerabilities exposed by the pandemic. The session will feature videos-from-the-field, a panel of experts and knowledge holders, and Q&A from the audience.


Registration Details Coming Soon:

November 11: Broadband Connectivity

November 18: Gender

November 25: Socio-Ecological Resilience

December 2: Financing Resilience 

December 9: Infrastructure

December 16: Working Together in the Arctic: Indigenous and Western Knowledge Systems

 


Past Sessions

October 7: Indigenous Youth Leadership 

A powerful new generation is emerging in the Arctic. A generation that is strong and full of new ideas, a generation that is ready to tackle issues head on. Indigenous youth are the future of arctic communities, and many are already making their voices heard. The Indigenous Youth Leadership session will explore the challenges that Indigenous youth face, and what crises are affecting them.

The session will discuss how Indigenous youth are stepping into leadership roles, and how they can be enabled to capture new opportunities for their communities. The session will examine some of the existing efforts to empower young people to take on leadership roles.


October 14: Food Security 

Achieving food security has been a varying challenge across diverse Arctic communities, but Covid-19 has laid bare particular challenges associated with supply chain disruption and access to food and conveyed the urgency of addressing these issues within a larger resilience framework.

Through brief presentations and discussion this session will highlight the unique challenges and opportunities for producing and ensuring access to high-quality, culturally relevant food for Arctic communities, as well as examine innovative case studies. Specific topics to be featured include Aleut perspectives, Russia’s new Food Security Doctrine, Iceland’s use of geothermal energy in food production, local food system resilience in Finnish Lapland, innovative research at Northern (Arctic) Federal University in Arkhangelsk on bio-monitoring and agroforestry, and more.
 


October 21: Renewable Energy

Clean and secure energy is essential for resilient Arctic communities and intrinsically tied to issues such as health, climate, and food. The Icelandic Chairmanship of the Arctic Council therefore has made energy a priority and work is ongoing to promote the responsible and sustainable management, use, and development of energy – even in remote communities. 

This session will highlight how energy is being transformative across the Arctic and consider questions such as: What does transition away from diesel look like? What tools are available to support transition? What is the role of policy and how are Indigenous communities leading the way? 

About the Arctic Resilience Forum

Resilience means the capacity of communities and systems to recover and restore themselves from various kinds of crises and disturbances. The Arctic region is changing rapidly, and the speed of ongoing change makes adaptation extremely challenging. Governments, indigenous peoples, local communities, researchers, and businesses must work together to build resilience to the social-ecological changes that are underway.

In May, 2017, the Foreign Ministers of the Arctic Council adopted the Arctic Resilience Action Framework (ARAF) to organize regional resilience actions. The ARAF provides the Council with a common frame for building and supporting resilience in the Arctic region.

Arctic leaders encouraged the Arctic Council to host a Forum every two years to take stock of Arctic Resilience and foster implementation and investments that enhance resilience and climate adaptation actions in the region.

The first Arctic Resilience Forum, hosted by the Finnish Chairmanship and supported by the Arctic Council Secretariat, was held in Rovaniemi, Finland in September of 2018. Convening over 100 Arctic leaders, the first Forum helped build a broader understanding of the importance of resilience, particularly for northern communities, and how to implement and gain financial support for resilience actions in the region. Participants expressed eagerness to convene once again, in two years, to engage more directly in resilience progress, accelerate resilience actions, and build out the Arctic resilience community of practice.

The Corona-Virus pandemic reinforces the importance of understanding and supporting resilience in the Arctic. The longer-term impacts of the pandemic for the Arctic and the globe remain uncertain; however, the experiences of Arctic communities over the last several months highlight the Arctic’s unique circumstances. Furthermore, the pandemic highlights the unique strengths and vulnerabilities and reinforces the case for a holistic approach to understanding and building resilience. 

In this context, the Icelandic Chairmanship will host the Arctic Council’s second biannual Arctic Resilience Forum. The ARF seeks to actively engage participants in conversations about how to build the resilience of Arctic communities and ecosystems. It offers the opportunity to discuss concrete best practices and experiences from the Council and the broader community of circumpolar experts and knowledge holders. The Arctic Resilience Forum aims to continue to strengthen cooperation on resilience work.

Do you have great ideas for the future of your Arctic community? Join the conversation and make your voice heard!

Join our #Youth4ArcticResilience social media campaign: Share your questions, comments and ideas about any of the topics being discussed during the Arctic Resilience Forum 2020. Have your voices heard by circumpolar governments, experts, knowledge holders, and policy makers. Provide their input, ideas, and perspectives.

Event Organizers

Arctic Council

Iceland's Chairmanship Arctic Council

Belfer Center Arctic Initiative