Constructive ideas to meet new challenges in the Arctic

The workshop "Space and the Arctic"  took place at World Trade Centre in Stockholm, 20 -21 October and attracted speakers and participants, mainly international scientists, civil servants and decision makers from all over the world. About 120 participants participated from mainly northern Europe, Russia, Canada and USA. The workshop, which was an activity under auspices of the Swedish Presidency to the European Union, was organised along three main strands; climate change and environment, transport safety and security and sustainable exploitation. Needs and challenges of working and living in the rapidly changing Arctic due to climate change were identified and how space-based services they could help were explored.
The recent EC Communication on “EU and the Arctic” formed a basis for the discussion. Ongoing European projects, like My Ocean and Polar View were described and lessons learned from regional examples, such as the Baltic, were highlighted as examples that could be further investigated for Arctic applications and methods. The warmer climate is leading to higher human activity in the Arctic, especially related to oil and gas exploitation, changing fishing patterns and new shipping routes, which create risks to the vulnerable environment.

During the workshop, it became evident that there is a significant space infrastructure deficit in the Arctic. Neither there is no international agreement that makes space-based information obligatory to use, despite the fact that such data is recognised as very useful.  The participants investigated different ways that space based infrastructure could facilitate communication, environmental monitoring (GMES contribution), early warning, navigation (Galileo contribution) and vessel tracking in the region in order to ensure sustainable development.

The participants approved a set of recommendations and conclusions.

Click here to find and download the conclusions at the ESA website.

Last updated: 17 November 2009