The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) 2017 International Conference on Arctic Science: Bridging Knowledge to Action took place in Reston, Virginia, United States, from April 25-27. The conference brought together a diverse and international group of experts ranging from scientists to decision-makers to explore pathways for enhancing usability of scientific and other forms of knowledge to support policy and practice in the Arctic. The conference highlighted major AMAP assessments and the release of the latest AMAP assessment reports: Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) and Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic (AACA) regional reports.
Another major highlight was the April 24 pre-conference workshop on "Scientific Assessments: Process, Dissemination and Impact" organized by the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) and International Arctic Science Committee (IASC). This one-day workshop engaged researchers in a conversation on scientific assessments with an international group of scientists and communication experts in government and academia through interactive panels and presentations. Workshop outcomes also contributed to a discussion during plenary sessions on a call for action held on the last day of the conference.
Contributions from the APECS/IASC/AMAP workshop echoed major themes that emerged throughout the conference, with usability of scientific assessment for policy and decision support being most prominent. In particular, participants noted that the well-established usability challenge of balancing credibility, saliency, and legitimately of information for a wide range of stakeholders with diverse values and priorities is compounded in the Arctic by amplified system changes and limited monitoring and research capacity compared with what is generally found in the lower latitudes. Ways forward focused on methods for stakeholder engagement during the assessment process such as co-production of products to enhance usability while building capacity for process/product use such as joint producer-user partnerships and training opportunities. The need to span disciplinary and researcher-stakeholder boundaries and the role of institutions in designing and facilitating such interactions was a related consistent conference theme. The need for such "boundary organizations" to enhance assessment usability discussed in the early career workshop was the main recommended call for action promoted at the end of the conference.