When the Arctic Council Chairmanship passed from the United States to Finland in May of 2017, the Arctic Council also welcomed new Chairs for several of the six Working Groups. In the interview below, get to know Marianne Kroglund of Norway, the new Chair of Working Group AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme).
What is your background, and how is that you came to be the Chair of AMAP?
I am a biologist by training, and spent the first years of my career researching the biological effects of acidification. Later, I started working in the Norwegian Ministry for Environment, mainly engaged in international policy work related to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, the UN Environment Programme, and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Ten years ago, I got the opportunity to work on the development of integrated management plans for areas of the Norwegian Sea, compiling information about the environmental conditions, causes, and impacts of environmental pressures -- a process that required cooperation between the authorities, scientists, and stakeholders. I've been part of the Norwegian delegation to PAME, and in more recent years I have had the opportunity to lead Norway's delegation to AMAP. Norway has not chaired AMAP before, so when the opportunity arose for Norway to assume the Chair of AMAP, I jumped at it.
Have you spent much time in the Arctic? If so, what’s the most memorable experience that you’ve had during that time?
Compared to many others working within the Arctic Council family, I have limited field experience in the far North. Still, through my engagement in PAME and AMAP, I've had the opportunity to travel to spectacularly beautiful places, and experience the unique nature, peoples and cultures in the Arctic. A particularly memorable moment for me (even though it happened indoors), was during the AMAP conference in Reston earlier this spring, where the conference participants spontaneously stood up to applaud Lars-Otto Reiersen, AMAPs outgoing executive secretary – it was a really nice recognition of Lars-Otto's vital role in the Arctic story. I have to admit it brought tears to my eyes.
What is it about the work that takes place in AMAP that most inspires or excites you?
That is a really difficult question. The breadth of environmental issues dealt with by AMAP is indeed inspiring. The dedication of the scientists and the AMAP secretariat is remarkable, as is the fact that the increasing understanding of Arctic issues enables us to catch the attention of our politicians. AMAP’s new scientific assessment of climate change in the Arctic concludes that the Arctic is now shifting — rapidly and in unexpected ways — into a new state. If current trends continue, they will have profound and accelerated impacts on ecosystems, human health and safety, industries, and economies in the Arctic and around the world. This and other messages from AMAP were heard and noted by the Ministers of the Arctic States in Fairbanks, Alaska – which is of course very inspiring for our future work.
When you were considering the position of Chair, what – in general – made the idea appealing to you? What made this role attractive?
When asked to take on the position of Chair, my first thought was that it provides a tremendous opportunity to work with a range of people who all have a common interest in the future of the Arctic, including the other Working Group Chairs. Another aspect was that science alone does not solve the Arctic challenges – we need to translate our science and bring it to meeting places for a variety of actors engaged in Arctic issues. The Arctic Council provides such meeting places, and gives us an opportunity to positively impact the Arctic and its future.
Resources and references (Click any link below)
Arctic Council backgrounder
Finnish Chairmanship information
Images for media use
The Arctic Council on Facebook
The Arctic Council on Twitter
The Arctic Council Working Groups: ACAP, AMAP, CAFF, EPPR, PAME and SDWG.