Jaakko Simonen, Mikko Moilanen, Jemina Kotila, Joona Lohtander, Lars Westin, Anders Hersinger, Stein Østbye, Tapio Riepponen & Rauli Svento

The COVID-19 pandemic has been first and foremost a health crisis, but it has also had severe negative impacts on the global economy. It has shaken regional economies, especially labour markets, over the last two years. Arctic regions are no exception. The aim of this article is to analyse the regional economic impacts, as well as the recovery processes, of the COVID- 19 pandemic in Arctic 5 cities in Northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway (Oulu and Rovaniemi in Finland, Luleå and Umeå in Sweden and Tromsø in Norway).

In many countries, including Finland, Sweden and Norway, governments decreed various types of lockdown policies to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to such policies, the pandemic has had an asymmetrical impact not only on individuals but also on communities and regions. This has given new urgency to a place-based approach to regional development, mitigating territorial inequalities. Our goal is to study how hard the Arctic 5 cities have been hit by the COVID-19 shock and how well they have been able to absorb, adapt to and recover from the crisis. The research question thus focuses on the resilience of the regions.

In this study, we focus on the analysis of public statistics concerning the development of labour markets. We also analyse changes in human behaviour during the pandemic using the information provided by Google Mobility data. These mobility data and labour market indicators are used to measure regional economic and social resilience. Our research shows that, for example, regional socioeconomic structures have played an important role in how well the regions have been able to withstand the pandemic and recover from it. Differences in national containment regulations have also affected this development. These cross-border comparisons provide information on how well different measures in different regions across national borders have functioned and what impacts they have had on regional economies, especially on labour markets and people’s mobility.

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Marya Rozanova-Smith, Andrey N. Petrov & Charlene Aqpik Apok

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on Arctic communities. However, women have faced disproportionate negative impacts across key domains of gender equality. These include impacts in the political/public administration, economic, social, civic, and personal spheres. Most importantly, it is likely that the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened gender inequality for years to come.

As the potential COVID-19-driven gender inequality continues to unfold in the Arctic, it is critical to capture, measure, and assimilate available data and conduct just-in-time analysis to inform action to address COVID-19 pandemic gender impacts and gendered consequences. The existing gender analysis frameworks for the COVID-19 pandemic on gender impacts and gendered policy responses mainly focus on indicators at the national level. To narrow this knowledge gap, this paper presents the preliminary results of the science-driven academic exercise conducted by a diverse group of experts. It introduces a system of indicators organized within a framework that allows the analysis of available data at the regional and local levels.

The designed COVID-19 Gender Impacts and Policy Responses Indicators (COVID - GIPRI) Framework aims to provide a systematic way of analyzing the COVID-19 pandemic's gender impacts in conjunction with government and community responses across key gender equality domains. It will also evaluate their effectiveness over time. The COVID - GIPRI framework has primarily drawn on Western concepts of gender, and we recognize appropriate modifications are needed to incorporate Indigenous definitions to the greatest extent possible. The focus on Arctic women, rather than all genders, is conditioned by the lack of gender-specific data across the Arctic. However, the system of indicators developed by this project could be applied to other gender groups, in addition to women, should such data become available.

The COVID-19 Gender Impacts Index, which is develop using the COVID – GIPRI framework, can be used to inform decision-making, and program planning to accurately assess, improve, and monitor gender-oriented policies and practices.

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Satu-Maarit Korte, Minna Körkkö, Gregor Maxwell, Mhairi C. Beaton, Pigga Keskitalo, Miia Hast, Outi Kyrö-Ämmälä & Sanna Mommo

This article is based on a study that considers future teachers’ digital competencies in the Arctic education context with special attention to the necessary cultural and contextual dimensions of teachers’ work. This study explored the professional competencies teachers require when teaching diverse and multicultural pupils in the Circumpolar North drawing on the multiple affordances offered by the digital world. Previous research draws attention to specific teaching and teacher competencies required for rural schools in the Circumpolar North considering the unique assets and characteristics of rural places in this region. This study presents a model of Digital Competence for Future Teachers (DCFT) that illustrates the competencies required by teachers in rural schools in the Arctic. Within the proposed model, four types of digital knowledge-based competencies necessary for holistic education were identified: techno-cultural, intercultural, self-cultural, and micro-cultural. The model was created through a process of analysis of existing models of teachers’ digital competencies: MAP-, TPACK- and PEAT-models which are then reflected on the findings of an earlier international comparative multiple-case study by the same authors examining the sudden change to remote online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Cultural Competence for Equity and Inclusion (CCEI) framework. Although the presented study focused on the Circumpolar North, the findings have implications for teacher education and policy production more widely in national and international educational environments.

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Hitomi Kimura

The Arctic Region faces higher risks of infectious viruses contained under the melting permafrost or deep ocean sediments due to the faster temperature rise. These infectious viruses might be transmitted by the surrounding animals, such as reindeer and seals, as hosts or vectors to the Arctic Indigenous Peoples, who are involved in livelihoods dependent on ecosystems such as hunting, fishing and livestock farming, and live in remote areas and have limited access to the health system. For better handling of climate-sensitive zoonotic diseases, more comprehensive support is crucial by the Arctic Council or relevant sovereign countries. It is necessary to identify and monitor areas of high risk, such as old burial sites or virus research institutes, and strengthen the monitoring of animal trading around Indigenous Peoples. Other actions include effective management of the Arctic tundra and wetlands through more systematic participation or involvement of Indigenous Peoples with their traditional ecological lifestyle and knowledge to live in harmony with nature, and resiliency efforts to recover from the pandemic in a formal decision-making process to develop adaptation plans. Wider recognition and application of WHO’s One Health approach, Human Rights- Based Approach to climate change such as right to health or right to a clean environment, or Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are also effective in collaboration with health-related organizations. In addition, more holistic and multifaceted approaches are necessary by combining all the indirect, but relevant aspects of international environmental law such as the Paris Agreement, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the CITES, the Ramsar Convention, and relevant domestic laws.

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