GRID Polar Division News

Nordic Policy Seminar on Arctic Development and Environmental Challenges

Photo: Per Lunden
December 1996
Based on efforts to promote co-operation on Arctic issues by parliamentarians, government officials and experts, the seminar focused on decision-making processes and the resulting priority needs for information to formulate future policies which will have impact in the Arctic.
Special emphasis was given to the role of the parliamentarians in the decision-making process and their information needs.

The concluding discussions highlighted several areas of concern when addressing information needs for development and environment in the Arctic:

  • efficient mechanisms are needed to bridge the gap between local and national socio-economic interests and environmental decision-making processes
  • nuclear waste and nuclear security is one of the major issues of Russian ecological problems in the Arctic
  • There is an enormous amount of data and information available, however this is often not in a usable form for decision-making processes
  • Information and data collected is often not maintained or updated to allow temporal trends to be identified.

It was the general opinion that an interdisciplinary approach should be sought when assimilating and disseminating information worthy of recognition as a basis for sound decision-making. The provision of good quality information is essential. It was agreed that there is a real need to communicate information in an efficient and understandable way. It was emphasised that there is much information available and that efforts should be expanded in order to identify ways to synthesise information into usable forms through appropriate media.

The Nordic Policy Seminar provided a forum, not before attained, where fields of expertise in the Arctic interacted with government officials and parliamentarians involved in promoting a sustainable development in this region. The seminar brought attention to and identified the Arctic region as crucial in implementing a better understanding of global environmental threats and trends.

The seminar focused in particular on parliamentarians’ involvement in the Arctic decision-making process including their information needs.

Information channels to be utilised were defined, as well as the most relevant recipients of such information. This will be documented in the seminar report.

Keynote speakers

Lars Emil Johansen| Andrei Kozyrev| Willy Østreng
Wednesday 18 Dec 1996