Recorded event: The Future of Arctic Science and Science Diplomacy#

The AE-Bergen Hub organized a side event at the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø February 3rd, titled “The Future of Arctic Science and Science Diplomacy”. The backdrop is the freezing of science diplomacy efforts during the sanctions in the wake of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine.

The project on Science Diplomacy in the Arctic is commissioned by the Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub, and will include a report to be published later in the year. Political scientist Ole Øvretveit is preparing the report, and also planned the Arctic Frontiers conference side event with the Hub.

Watch the video:#

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  • It is important to make clear that this event is not seeking to criticize the western governments for sanctioning in principle. Aggressive states going to war should be penalized anywhere, not least here in our neighborhood.
  • Still, there have been strong voices questioning the sanctions against science collaboration and the procedures for making these decisions, like the International Science Council, calling for more involvement from the scientific community in the processes leading to the political decisions. Then again, there are also those calling for stronger sanctions, Øvretveit said in his introduction.

The Future of Arctic Science and Science Diplomacy is the topic of a side event organized by Academia Europaea partners during the Arctic Frontiers conference 2023.

Organizing institution(s):#

Introductory remarks: #

  • Ole Øvretveit, Manager of Arctic Science diplomacy project, Academia Europaea
  • Dag Rune Olsen MAE, Rector, University of Tromsø
  • Lise Øvreås MAE, President of The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
  • Ole Arve Misund, Executive Director, Norwegian Polar Institute
  • Nicole Biebow, Chair of The European Polar Board/Alfred Wegner Institute (digital)

Panel debate – Chair: Ole Øvretveit#

  • Eystein Jansen MAE, Vice President, European Research Council
  • Mike Sfraga, Chair, US Arctic Research Commission
  • Clara Ganslandt, Special Envoy for Arctic Matters to the EU
  • Petteri Vuorimäki, Finland’s Ambassador for Arctic Affairs
  • Lars Kullerud, President, UArctic

Session description:#

War, pandemic, climate change, biodiversity loss, energy crisis and geopolitical tensions are now part of our everyday life, especially for people living in or near the Arctic. Scientific and evidence-based state-to-state cooperation have historically been intertwined and of high importance in the Arctic, and even in periods when relationships have been strained, collaboration and dialogue has remained operative in this region.

This tight connection between science and diplomacy has traditionally helped reduce geopolitical tensions and facilitated international resource management. However, after Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, the Russo-western relationship has entered an ice-cold face. Due to the war and international sanctions, science, science-based decisions, and science diplomacy suffers severely. Without access to Russian scientists and territory, scientific data become incomplete, creating additional crisis. Reduced international Arctic science collaboration may have severe consequences for climate research and other important scientific topics like social science and ocean ecosystems. The event will highlight and debate following questions:

  • What is the status of Arctic Science diplomacy and collaboration?
  • What are the effects of war on scientific collaborations in the north?
  • What are the effects of the war on volume and value of arctic science?
  • What avenues can we foresee for Arctic Science and science diplomacy?

Visit the Bergen Knowledge Hub's website for further information.#

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