Sustainable Arctic in the context of environmental and socio-economic changes

Brussels, 25 March 2019, 13-18
Venue: Martin’s Hotel EU Brussels, Bvrd Charlemagne 80

REGISTRATION CLOSED: Due to reaching the maximum number of participants (60), the registration for the seminar is now closed.
If you wish to sign up for our event, please write directly to euapa(at) 

The background paper presenting relevant outputs from previous seminars and relevant EU responses to Arctic challenges can be downloaded from here:


Programme in PDF
Panellists' Bios in PDF

12:00 Registration and self-service coffee
Seminar moderator: Adam Stepien, Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland

13:00 Welcoming words
- Terkel Petersen, European External Action Service
- Timo Koivurova, Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, Finland

13:10 Opening keynote
- Michael Byers, University of British Columbia, Canada, “Arctic development: A vision for a sustainable future”

13:40 Session 1: Transition in the Arctic: inclusive mitigation and transformation towards low-carbon economy
- Laura Sokka, VTT, Finland, “Impacts of climate change mitigation and adaptation policies on the European Arctic”
- Aqqaluk Lynge, Consultant and author, Greenland, "With no government initiatives in sight, Inuit want action"
- Ásthildur Sturludóttir, Mayor of Akureyri, Iceland, “Every little thing matters in the big context”
- Leena Vuotovesi, Micropolis, Finland, “Profitable low-carbon economy – the case of Ii”
- Stephen Hart, European Investment Bank, "Supporting Transition"

15:00 Coffee break

15:20 Session 2: Sustainable green and blue growth in the Arctic?  
- Gunn-Britt Retter, Sámi Council, Norway, “Do rapid Arctic changes make us color blind – where are the red lines?”
- Paul Holthus, World Ocean Council, USA, “Engaging Ocean Industries in Arctic Blue Growth”
- Ragnhild Whitaker, NOFIMA, Norway, “Sustainable exploitation of arctic resources”
- Agnes Mols Mortensen, TARI, Faroe Islands, “Seaweed as a component in sustainable marine production”
- Pavel Petrov, Karelian Research Centre (KRC) – Russian Academy of Science, “KRC activities in the Arctic”
- Johannes Lith, Regional Council of Lapland, Finland, “Structured funding cooperation in the Arctic: enabling green and blue growth”

16:40 Coffee break

17:00 Session 3: Digital solutions to navigate Arctic change
- Nicolai Mohr Balle, Gjaldstovan, Faroe Islands, "The Importance of Managing and Controlling National Digitalisation efforts and infrastructure for small and isolated Communities"
- Lars Eriksson, Region Västerbotten, Sweden, “The need for collaboration through a common digital agenda”
- Terje Brinck Løyning, Maritime Forum, Norway, "Digital technology: will it help you in an emergency situation?"

18:00 Closing words
- Marie-Anne Coninsx, Ambassador, European External Action Service
- Terkel Petersen, European External Action Service
- Timo Koivurova, Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, Finland

18:20 Light cocktail reception


Session 1: Transition in the Arctic: inclusive mitigation and transformation towards low-carbon economy.

The Arctic region is considered a symbol of global climate change, as the Arctic warms two-to-three times faster than the global average. Arctic communities are among the earliest to feel the impacts of the warming planet and are among those expected to face especially difficult challenges in the future. At the same time, climate policies related to energy, transport, transition to low-carbon economy, can have disproportional implications for Arctic regions, compared to southern urban centres. These regions are characterized by remoteness, sparse population, and high dependence on extractive industries. Many locations rely on fossil fuels for transport, energy and heating, often above national average. What are the best strategies to facilitate just transition for Arctic societies without adversely affecting national climate ambitions? How to balance Arctic regions’ responsibility for global climate with the socio-economic sustainability of Arctic communities? The session will discuss what investments would be needed to support just transition and mitigation actions in the Arctic? The cases of renewable energy projects and successfully implemented sustainable solutions will be highlighted. The session will also touch upon the concerns of Arctic communities related to the implementation of climate policies in sparsely populated Arctic regions. 

Session 2: Sustainable green and blue growth in the Arctic?  

Policymakers and private sector see green and blue growth as key strategies towards developing Arctic regions, while at the same time promoting sustainability. How to define what is truly sustainable, and which activities and initiatives genuinely constitute examples of and contribute to green and blue growth? Moreover, Arctic resource extraction could, in principle, contribute to global sustainability and green growth, supporting low-carbon transition via renewable energy production and minerals necessary for the proliferation of green technologies. However, any resource extraction will have impacts on Arctic cultures, livelihoods and biodiversity. The session will bring together local and global perspectives on green and blue growth and will discuss the ways how sustainability is defined in different contexts. 

Session 3: Digital solutions to navigate Arctic change

Arctic regions are characterized by remoteness, sparse population, harsh climate and long distances. While not without challenges and with major difference between locations, the connectivity is gradually improving across the Arctic and in particular in the European Arctic. Digitalization permeates every aspect of life in the North and every business sector. What are the digital solutions that support Arctic peoples, communities, governments and businesses to manage environmental and socio-economic changes? What possibilities are there in the near future?


You may consult the Joint Communication on an integrated EU policy for the Arctic (2016)

The Dialogue Seminar is being organised under the EU Arctic Policy Assessment project, which is financed by the European Union. It is co-convened by the European External Action Service and the European Commission (Service for Foreign Policy Instruments) with the support of the contractor, Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland (Finland) together with project partners (Alfred-Wegener-Institute, Germany and Arctic Portal, Iceland).



The seminar venue is  Martin’s Hotel EU Brussels at Bvrd Charlemagne 80. The hotel is located in the vicinity of the European Commission’s Berlaymont building.

Get directions

The public transport access is via metro (Schuman station, lines 1 and 5), train (station Bruxelles-Schuman) and buses, including buses 12 and 21 from the Brussels Airport. Many trains operate directly between the airport and the Bruxelles-Schuman railway station. Other airport trains operate via the station Bruxelles-Central, from which metro lines 1 and 5 will take you to the Schuman station.


If you have any questions, please contact us at EUAPA(at)