The annual Arctic Circle Assembly is the largest annual international gathering on the Arctic, attended by more than 2000 participants from 50 countries. The Assembly is held every October at the Harpa Conference Center and Concert Hall in Reykjavík, Iceland. This year it will be held on October 13-15, 2017.

IASC will actively participate to the Arctic Circle Assembly by leading two breakout sessions (date and location will be confirmed shortly): 

Arctic Science & Business / Industry Cooperation

As access to Arctic regions increases, we have seen a concurrent increase in interest of small businesses and large industry in potential opportunities to explore resource extraction, cold region technology, and infrastructure development. Scientific studies are often essential precursors to reduce risk associated with investments on the frontiers of new opportunities. Arctic science can facilitate business, but business can also facilitate science, whether through financing, data, or collaboration. This session will bring together industry representatives, financers, and researchers to explore new opportunities for development in and understanding of the northern high latitudes, and how these opportunities are enabled by and/or contribute to Arctic research. Panelists will highlight examples of how Arctic science has facilitated industry and how Arctic business has enabled Artic science. The idea being to showcase case studies and best practices to model behaviors and lessons learned to lay ground for future cooperation.

Speakers

• Kelly Drew, Professor, University of Alaska Fairbanks 'Translating mechanisms of hibernation in Arctic species for rural and remote emergency medicine shows how Arctic research can impact world health'
• Sara Longan, Executive Director, North Slope Science Initiative (NSSI), US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management 'Perspectives on integrating science into Arctic development planning and approvals'
• Tara Sweeney Arctic Economic Council Vice-Chair, Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Executive Vice President of External Affairs for Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Perspectives from industry in the Arctic and the broader voice of the AEC, which facilitates Arctic business-to-business activities and responsible economic development through the sharing of best practices, technological soluti ons, standards, and other information
• Andrea Tilche, Head, Climate Action and Earth Observation Unit, European Commission, 'The Business Case for Arctic Observations'
• Toril I. Røe Utvik, Manager Arctic Unit, Statoil, Academia-industry cooperation in Norwegian Arctic research (TBC)

Moderator: Larry Hinzman, Vice-President, International Arctic Science Committee Chair, IASC Action Group of Arctic Science & Business/Industry Cooperation Vice Chancellor for Research, the University of Alaska Fairbanks

“From IASC to the Arctic Council - connecting Arctic science with decision-making”

The session “From IASC to the Arctic Council - connecting Arctic science with decision-making” builds upon recent efforts of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) to enhance its capacity to provide advice on issues of science in the Arctic and the communication of scientific knowledge to policymakers. Invited speakers will discuss matters and challenges of connecting Arctic science with decision-making and of scientific cooperation in the region. Among others, they will cover case studies of non-Arctic countries involved in Arctic research, implementation of the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation signed by Arctic states in May 2017, the MOSAiC project and the role of science in work of the Arctic Council. Following short presentations by each speaker, the floor will be open to questions and comments from the audience to further inform IASC’s efforts in more effective provision of scientific knowledge and advice to policy-makers.

Speakers

• Dr. Volker Rachold, Head, German Arctic Office, Germany, ‘Collaboration between International Arctic Science Committee and the Arctic Council – from the past into the future’
• Lars-Otto Reiersen, Executive Secretary, Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) Arctic Council Working Group, ‘From scientific input to policy recommendations in assessing state of Arctic environment’
• Henry Burgess, Head, NERC Arctic Office, British Antarctic Survey, UK, ‘A non-Arctic country perspective on connecting Arctic science to decision-making: successes, challenges and hopes for the future’
• Dr. Allison A. Fong, MOSAiC Ecosystems Working Group Coordinator, Postdoctoral Scholar, Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Germany, “MOSAiC – forging international cooperation towards enhancing our understanding of regional and global consequences of Arctic climate change”
• Dr. Kelly Falkner, Director, Office of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation, US, ‘Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation – next steps and practical implications’

Moderator: Gosia Smieszek, Researcher, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland / Fellow, IASC

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In addition, IASC will attend and present at (date and location will be confirmed shortly): 

Observing and Responding to a Changing Arctic (Plenary Session)

Many areas of the Arctic are data-sparse, and in some parts the paucity of observations is compounded by the lack of universal access to data. These shortfalls hinder scientific progress, the development of value-added products and services, and the formulation of innovative strategies for managing social and environmental changes in the Arctic and beyond. (White House Science Ministerial final declaration). 
This plenary session will involve key international leaders who are actively working towards improving the following themes:

1. The science underpinning Arctic weather and climate prediction

2. Our understanding of the physical processes that affect ecosystems and conservation efforts in the region

3. Safety in the Arctic region

4. The support and development of an investment plan for climate and weather observation and prediction services

The session aims to build on the outcomes of the first White House Science Ministerial held in September 2016 and input to the dialogue of the second that will be hosted by the EU in 2018, in particular “Strengthening and Integrating Arctic Observations and Data Sharing.”

Observing the Arctic Council (Breakout Session) 
Organizer: West Nordic Council

The breakout session will focus on the following questions: What is the role of observers in the Arctic Council? How can they contribute to and influence the work of the Council? What should an inter-parliamentary organization like the West Nordic Council focus on in its efforts to contribute to and impact the work of the Arctic Council?

At the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Fairbanks on 11 May 2017 the West Nordic Council was granted observer status to the Arctic Council. The West Nordic Council is currently developing the strategic framework for its observership for 2018-2020. The main overall objective is to decrease the democratic deficit in the Arctic by making sure that the voice of the inhabitants of the region is heard and their rights protected.

The session gives an insight into the work, role and influence of observers to the Arctic Council, with contributions from four different observers; The Nordic Council of Ministers, the International Arctic Science Committee, the West Nordic Council and the Standing Committee of Arctic Parliamentarians. The Council hopes for a lively discussing that can provide valuable input into the work on the aforementioned strategic framework.