Arctic development to top agenda at Arctic Futures Symposium 2013

Arctic development to top agenda at Arctic Futures Symposium 2013

Arctic development will top the agenda at next month’s Arctic Futures Symposium, which will see Arctic stakeholders discuss safe Arctic shipping, sustainable circumpolar communities, and research needed to inform policymaking.

Taking place on October 16th-17th, Brussels’ premier gathering on Arctic issues brings together stakeholders such as Arctic residents, researchers, industry representatives and politicians for frank and lively discussions on the issues facing the region.

Speakers include Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and Belgium’s deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders. Hannu Halinen, Finland’s  Ambassador to the Arctic Council, will discuss his country’s plan to lead the way towards a sustainable Arctic, while Konrad Steffen (Director, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research) will speak about the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet – and how it affects global sea levels.

President of the Canadian Climate Forum, Gordon McBean will address the need to close the divide between the scientific community and policymakers on climate issues, while Agneta Fransson of the Norwegian Polar Institute will look at Arctic Ocean acidification and its impacts on marine ecosystems.


Organised by the International Polar Foundation [1], the programme for the 2013 edition of Arctic Futures corresponds with Canada’s priorities during its chairmanship of the Arctic Council, which began following the Kiruna Ministerial in May of this year under the theme “development for the people of the North” [2].

Arctic Futures will address Arctic Council priorities during sessions focusing on the following topics:

  • The priorities and concerns of Arctic Council nations and other Arctic stakeholders
  • Natural and social science research on the Arctic's environment and communities to inform policymaking
  • The Arctic’s resources and the sustainable development of Northern economies
  • Trends and future scenarios for Arctic marine transport

 The Arctic Futures Symposium 2013 is an initiative of the International Polar Foundation. This year’s edition is organized in partnership with the Arctic NGO Forum, with the support of the EU Commission, the  European External Action Service, the EU Arctic Information Centre and The North Norway European Office.

Confirmed speakers

  • Alain Hubert (President, International Polar Foundation)
  • Maria Damanaki (European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
  • Didier Reynders (Belgian Deputy Prime Minister; Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs)
  • Else Berit Eikeland (Norwegian Ambassador to the Arctic Council)
  • Hannu Halinen (Finnish Ambassador to the Arctic Council)
  • Gustaf Lind (Swedish Ambassador to the Arctic Council)
  • Tómas Orri Ragnarsson (Counsellor on Arctic Affairs, Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs)
  • Kai Holst-Andersen (Greenlandic Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs)
  • Gunnar Wiegand (Director For Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional Cooperation and OSCE at the European External Action Service)
  • Michael Byers (Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia)
  • Wolfgang Wittke (Policy Officer, Research & Innovation Relations with the USA and Canada, DG Research and Innovation)
  • Peter Wadhams (Professor of Ocean Physics and Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge) - Making sense of future sea ice extent predictions
  • Gordon McBean (President, Canadian Climate Forum; Professor of Geography, University of Western Ontario) – Bridging the divide between the scientific community and policymakers on climate issues
  • Konrad Steffen (Director, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research) - The melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet - how does it affect global sea level?
  • Agneta Fransson (Research scientist and ocean acidification expert, Norwegian Polar Institute) - Arctic Ocean acidification and its impacts on marine ecosystems
  • Seeta Sistla (NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellow,Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine) - Arctic permafrost and carbon cycling: implications for future carbon budget and climate scenarios
  • Peter Harrison (Professor, Director of the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University; Chair of the IPY 2012 “From Knowledge to Action” conference)
  • Harriet Kuhlein (Professor Emerita of Human Nutrition, McGill University; Founding Director, Centre for Indigenous Peoples Nutrition and Environment) - Access to traditional country foods in Northern Canada
  • Liisa Holmberg (Rector, Sami Education Institute) - Challenges of educating Northern residents who live traditional lifestyles
  • Anders Oskal (Director, International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry) - Reconciling land-use conflicts facing reindeer herding communities with economic development in the Arctic
  • Reggie Joule (Mayor, Alaska's Northwest Arctic Borough) - Current and future development projects for Alaska's Northwest Arctic Borough
  • Vera Metcalf (Director, Eskimo Walrus Commission) - The effects of increased shipping activity on marine life and concerns for Northern communities
  • Antoine Kedzierski (Policy officer, Transport & Environment) - Impacts of air pollution from marine transport in the Arctic
  • Sandra Rita Allnutt (Senior Technical Officer, Marine Technology Section, Maritime Safety Division, International Maritime Organization) - Where things stand with the Polar Code 


[1] The Brussels based International Polar Foundation supports polar scientific research for the advancement of knowledge, the promotion of informed action on climate change, and the development of a sustainable society.
[2] Canada’s Arctic Council Chairmanship 2013-2015

Registration and venue:

Arctic Futures will take place at Bouche-à-Oreille, Rue Félix Hap 11, B-1040 Brussels on 16-17 October 2013.

To register, please visit Prior registration for the symposium is mandatory. Registrations must be received no later than Monday 13 October.
For queries please contact or +32 2 543 06 98

Press contact:
Dave Walsh
+32 493 140 966