International Polar Foundation Symposium Identifies Key Needs for the Arctic

The International Polar Foundation has released a final report from the Arctic Futures Symposium 2011 held in Brussels, Belgium. Arctic Futures is an annual event that brings together European Union (EU) and foreign policymakers, scientists, industry representatives, indigenous peoples, and academics to discuss key issues facing those living and working in the arctic region. Speakers at the 2011 symposium shared perspectives from Arctic Council nations and gave presentations on science and cooperation in the Arctic, predicting climate impacts on the Arctic, natural resource exploitation in the Arctic, the economy of the North and indigenous perspectives.

International Polar FoundationDr. Sebastian Gerland (left) Sea Ice Research scientist at the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) and Jean-Pascale van Ypersele, Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Professor of Climatology and Environmental Sciences at the Univesrité catholique de Louvain (UCL) address the Arctic Futures Symposium 2011. Photo courtesy: Joseph Cheek, International Polar Foundation.

Key concerns identified in the final report are the need for enhanced search and rescue capabilities and environmental protection measures in the Arctic. Proceedings of the annual conference, released in March, also report the desire of arctic states to proceed using currently established mechanisms and forums for arctic governance without additional treaties, and that the EU plans to continue in a constructive and dynamic role for the region. Other needs highlighted in the report include the need for continued cooperation and dialogue among arctic states, indigenous inhabitants, and other stakeholders in the region, and the importance of supporting long-term multidisciplinary scientific research projects, including Earth observation and remote sensing.

The Arctic Futures Symposium is an initiative of the International Polar Foundation in partnership with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation to provide a platform for dialogue amongst stakeholders in the region. Speakers in 2011 included HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, and senior officials of the EU and Arctic Council. The Arctic Futures Symposium 2012 is scheduled for 4-5 October and will again be held in Brussels

The full report from the Arctic Futures 2011 proceedings can be downloaded from the International Polar Foundation’s website:
http://www.polarfoundation.org/documents/arctic_futures_symposium_2011_f....

For more information about the International Polar Foundation and Arctic Futures Symposium 2012, please see: http://www.polarfoundation.org/ or contact Joseph Cheek (joseph [dot] cheek [at] polarfoundation [dot] org).