The Arctic has over the past decade become an area of increased political importance. From being a still stretch in international politics, the Arctic is now an exuberant expanse where almost every nation has a stated interest. This year, high-level politicians set to speak at Arctic Frontiers include the Republic of Korea’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, Singapore’s Foreign Minister Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Denmark’s Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen, Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini, Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende, and U.S. Special representative for the Arctic, Admiral Robert Papp.
The conference will discuss the balance between environmental concerns and industrial expansion in the Arctic. The first two days concern Policy, where high-level politicians will discuss stewardship, sustainability and economic growth in the Arctic. The Arctic Frontiers Business section will, for two days, organise networking sessions and keynote presentations on technological innovation and technology transfer in seafood and offshore industries. The Arctic Frontiers Science section will over three days gather world-leading researchers on environmental issues, Arctic stewardship, and technology needs in the Arctic.
Pronounced climate change and technological advances, the Arctic is high on the global agenda. The December climate negotiations in Paris will point to rapid changes in the Arctic. The U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council has taken an active role in the move towards One Arctic. The EU has included an Arctic dimension to its research and innovation framework, Horizon 2020. Russia is exerting increased presence in the Arctic and several Asian nations are also turning their attention towards the Arctic. The Arctic Frontiers conference gathers all these actors and continue to push the bounds on Arctic issues.
The 2016 Arctic Frontiers conference is a time for jubilees. The Arctic Council celebrates 20 years of international cooperation in the Arctic, and Arctic Frontiers is celebrating 10 years of facilitating an arena for discussions on Arctic affairs. Moreover, the Arctic Economic Council will commemorate its first two years of operation. It is time to take stock of the status of the Arctic agenda: where are we and where should we go?