2023 Briefing Notes
Giuseppe Amatulli & Jamie Jenkins
Introduction: The idea behind the Arctic Academy for Sustainability
The Arctic Academy for Sustainability: Creating Environmentally and Socially Responsible Sustainable Energy and Resource Development in the Arctic is a multi-year project (2022-2025) funded by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. Spanning over the European and Canadian Arctic, the Academy has four main university partners: Copenhagen Business School (Denmark), University of Helsinki (Finland), UNBC - University of Northern British Columbia (Canada), and Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada). Originally, Tyumen State University (Russian Federation) was a partner institution; however, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and the resulting inability to cooperate with Russian institutions, Memorial University has taken its place to ensure the smooth unfolding of the yearly academies in terms of logistic and administrative support.
Arctic governance is structurally a complex mechanism, but fundamentally it is a political field that distributes social resources through some policy-option procedures. Expert communities have always played the role of innovators and guides in social development and human progress. Arctic affairs are a combination of global and local public affairs. The knowledge-based authority of experts has helped them to gain great influence in the Arctic international governance agenda. This influence is not only reflected in their contribution of knowledge but also in their role to form the rules in governance systems. The theme of the International Polar Year IPY Montreal Conference in 2012 is "from knowledge to action," which shows that expert communities are not satisfied with only publishing scientific facts and knowledge but are willing to take more active actions and inputs in influencing policy shaping and making. This article focuses on the power sources, mobilization capabilities, and institutional contributions of the expert communities in participating in the political process of global governance.
What role does in-person interaction play in the networks of Arctic governance? As virtual rather than personal interaction is gaining ground in many fields, we need to examine the value of in-person communication in Arctic networks. Especially in the Arctic, a region which inhabitants live across twenty-four time zones, the organization of interaction matters greatly. It is vitally important for the Arctic that regional networks cultivate collaboration, professional trust, and a certain esprit de corps: we thus need to consider what practices foster these qualities.
This briefing note makes a two-pronged argument about Arctic networks. First, I suggest that these networks are strengthened by the accent on in-person interaction at key networking events. Second, I foreground a transprofessional field of knowledge— the networks that bridge scientific, diplomatic, business, and civil society realms—as the medium of Arctic expertise. Arctic networks are necessarily transnational and transprofessional configurations, and that is their strength. My underlying claim is about the social lives of transnational governance. To the degree that Arctic networks have retained resilience, it is in part due to value placed on in-person contact and transprofessional connections in the Arctic. There is a lesson here for international governance more broadly.
About 25 years ago, a colleague of mine who well knew ‘Action research’ claimed that my method is first to act, i.e., organize a workshop/seminar with the interplay between science and politics, and then, later, to examine and analyze the process. As to be proved (Q.E.D.), I do analyze here something that I have been doing for the last 30 years or so.
From the end of the 1980s to the early-2000s, there was an inspiring sense that we were in a “New North” in terms of ideas and innovations, cooperative initiatives for disarmament, peace, and sustainability, innovative political and academic arrangements by Indigenous peoples, regional governments and scientific society, as well as a certain idealism of a raise of an influence of civil societies and NGOs (TAPRI 1991; AHDR 2004; Heininen 2023a). As a result, new forums and networks for open discussions between different stakeholders and knowledge-building - locally, regionally, nationally, internationally – were established. All this was much motivated and accelerated by the thaw and stability-building between the Eastern bloc and the Western one, which indicated the end of the Cold War period in the Arctic region.
Alexandra Middleton, Andrey Mineev, Paul Arthur Berkman, Anton Vasiliev, Halldór Jóhannsson, Ekaterina Uryupova, & Lassi Heininen
Scientific cooperation in the Arctic has witnessed an uninterrupted period of nearly 30 years of peace and mutual understanding among diverse actors, states, and international bodies. The situation changed dramatically post-February 2022, which resulted in the suspension of the work of the Arctic Council and many other fora and organizations working on the pan-Arctic scale. The pause of work of the Arctic Council can be regarded as the most significant one as it facilitated the exchange of knowledge and scientific collaboration, and included Arctic Indigenous Peoples as Permanent Participants, meaning that the Indigenous Peoples had a direct channel of communication and knowledge exchange among themselves and all other Arctic stakeholders.
Formal resumption of the Arctic Council under the Norwegian Chairship since Summer-Fall 2023 presents a tiny light of hope. Yet, by the time of writing it is still unclear how the Councils’ practical work at the project level is going to proceed.
Zhanna Anshukova & Tom Gabriel Royer
The unique event of the Calotte Academy is known for being the longest-running Arctic symposium travelling around the region. The attendees, predominantly PhD candidates, explore the Arctic by bus to acquire a first-hand experience of its appearance, texture, and — occasionally — odour. Its primary objective is to connect researchers with the Arctic and bring together experts from around the world. The programme excels in prioritising open and meaningful conversations, including talking to local people and learning about the real issues of the region.
The Calotte Academy 2023 took place from the 11th to the 18th of June. It started in Rovaniemi and passed through Kiruna, Kautokeino, Alta, Kirkenes, and Inari. The theme for this year was “Non-state Actors and Circumpolar Regionalization”. Throughout the journey, over 30 traveling participants gave their presentations and engaged with guest lecturers at each stop, resulting in a total of 48 presentations. Additionally, daily excursions, both major and minor, were arranged. Unfortunately, the Academy had no opportunity to include a stop in Russia. However, Russian researchers participated in an online session.