IPY 2012 conference in Montreal: NordForsk discusses major international cooperation on the arctic

10.05.2012
It was the big issues that were on the agenda when more than 2,000 representatives from research/academia, administration, industry and Arctic societies came together at the IPY conference in Montreal, Canada. Focus was on the environmental, social and financial challenges in the polar areas. The name of the conference, “From Knowledge to Action,” indicates a desire for research to lead to concrete action. And it was the willingness to act that was the centre of attention when NordForsk entered into dialogue with Russia, Canada and the U.S.A. on what could be a historic cooperation on the Arctic challenges.

A broader perspective on Arctic research

In connection with the conference, NordForsk invited resources from those countries with research interests in the Arctic areas to discuss cooperation (the Nordic countries, Russia, U.S.A. and Canada). NordForsk's director Gunnel Gustavsson presented the idea of a common Arctic 8-net, an international version of Noria-net. How can the countries' research resources unite to face the environmental and social challenges in the Arctic? The proposal received broad support, and there was agreement that it would be beneficial to study this further in the preparatory work. A proposal for further progress of the project will be presented to NordForsk's board meeting in early June.

Participants were of the opinion that an important objective of the introductory work on Arctic 8-net would be to carry out a situation analysis of the research efforts that already exist in the area. Among other things, there was great interest in exploiting the work that is carried out by the Belmont Forum (The Council of Principals for IGFA). This is a high-level group comprising the world's largest financiers within research into climate change.  A success criteria is that the new programme brings something substantial and relevant to the established cooperation. Participants agreed that research should be multidisciplinary.

New knowledge that can provide development and progress

NordForsk has several Centers of Excellence that shed light on adaptation to climate change. Director of NordForsk, Gunnel Gustafsson, emphasizes how important continued focus on the Arctic will be.

- Focus on research on the Arctic is important for several reasons. Arctic research has major consequences for all areas of the earth and affects everyone. Here the issue is to produce new knowledge that can contribute to solve problems and lead to development and progress. Here we will have the opportunity to fulfil the vision with IPY, to translate ‘knowledge to action’, Gustafsson concludes.

Text: Marius Hagen
Hovedfoto: norden.org

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