People and the Arctic Extractive Industries: UArctic thematic network
As much of future oil and gas development will happen in the Arctic, the links between the circumpolar North and the rest of our planet will further increase as well as the public impact of industrial development, not least on companies as well as states' reputations and most significantly on the populations which live in the Arctic. It is known that economic activity and business development play a crucial role in ensuring welfare and employment in the North. Petroleum and other extractive industries can contribute to increasing capital, and employment opportunities in the Arctic. However, Arctic inhabitants have also repeatedly highlighted the problematic impacts of industrial activity on their territories, which can lead to economic, social, cultural, linguistic, religious and environmental problems particularly among indigenous northerners.
In order to maximise the benefits and minimize the negative consequences of Arctic extractive industrial development a more concerted focus on the social, cultural, environmental and economic impacts from the local to the global level are needed. This includes building competence and the necessary skill-sets needed to support best practices on all sides.
The thematic network, People and the Arctic Extractive Industries, is therefore the basis for a pan-Arctic PhD programme in Arctic Extractive Industries. The PhD programme both contributes to new research as well as post-graduate training in a new yet increasing important field. The programme also creates a systematic means for generating new research (both theoretical and practical) in the field of Arctic Extractive Industries.
The following fields are the focus of this programme:
- Extractive Industry (EI) and geopolitics
- EI and international relations
- EI development principles, standards and laws: hard law, soft law, customary law, economic, social, environmental bottom lines, guidelines
- EI and social impact assessments for local communities – aboriginal and non aboriginal
- EI development principles and interests in different states and regions
- EI practice from the circumpolar down to the local level
- EI social impacts on the ground and impact assessments in ANY field from religion to glaciology and oceanography
The collaborating institutionshave established under the umbrella of the University of the Arctic a Pan-Arctic PhD programme in Arctic Extractive Industries coordinated by the Arctic Centre University of Lapland to train highly qualified researchers on Arctic Extractive Industries in the actual north where the development is taking place. Upon completion of the programme the students will contribute, with original research, to the viability of Arctic extractive industrial development. The expertise generated by PhD's completed in this field will be invaluable for all interested parties in Arctic and Sub-Arctic resource development (including companies, NGO's, state administrators, indigenous and local people's associations).
The knowledge created in this field will speak to the growing requests in recent years by companies, states, administrations, consultancies, indigenous peoples, NGO’s and other actors for further knowledge about the backgrounds, principles, current state, as well as past and present practice of Arctic extractive industries development. Furthermore, the need to better understand the impacts of such development for local residents, as well as their responses to it is imperative.