Traditional boots on ice

Virtual Arctic Resilience Forum launches in October

21 September 2020
The second Arctic Resilience Forum will be held online as a series of ten weekly webinars launching on October 7, 2020.

Each session touches on a specific aspect of Arctic resilience, ranging from food security and Indigenous youth leadership, to gender, energy and connectivity. The forum seeks to actively engage participants in conversations about how to build resilience of Arctic communities and ecosystems. It offers the opportunity to discuss concrete best practices and experiences from the Council and the broader community of circumpolar experts and knowledge holders. The Arctic Resilience Forum aims to continue to strengthen cooperation on resilience work.

The Arctic Resilience Forum 2020 is hosted by the Icelandic Chairmanship of the Arctic Council and co-organized by the Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group and the Arctic Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. It is the second forum organized since the Council’s Arctic Resilience Action Framework (ARAF) was endorsed at the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Fairbanks, USA in May 2017.

The ARAF provides the Council with a common frame for building and supporting resilience in the Arctic region and for coordinating regional resilience actions. The biennial fora are a means to take stock of Arctic resilience and to foster implementation and investments that enhance resilience and climate adaptation actions in the region.

The first Arctic Resilience Forum, hosted by the Finnish Chairmanship and supported by the Arctic Council Secretariat, was held in Rovaniemi, Finland in September of 2018. Convening over 100 Arctic leaders, the it helped build a broader understanding of the importance of resilience, particularly for northern communities, and how to implement and gain financial support for resilience actions in the region.

The coronavirus pandemic reinforces the importance of understanding and supporting resilience in the Arctic. The longer-term impacts of the pandemic for the Arctic and the globe remain uncertain; however, the experiences of Arctic communities over the last several months highlight the Arctic’s unique circumstances. Furthermore, the pandemic demonstrates the unique strengths and vulnerabilities and reinforces the case for a holistic approach to understanding and building resilience.

What is resilience?

Resilience means the capacity of communities and systems to recover and restore themselves from various kinds of crises and disturbances. The Arctic region is changing rapidly, and the speed of ongoing change makes adaptation extremely challenging. Governments, indigenous peoples, local communities, researchers, and businesses must work together to build resilience to the social-ecological changes that are underway.

Schedule and registration

The Arctic Resilience Forum will be convened every Wednesday from 11:30am – 1:00pm (EST) over a series of ten weeks, beginning October 7, 2020. The online series seeks to engage a broad audience in conversations about how to build the resilience of Arctic communities and ecosystems across a variety of focus areas, including:


October 7: Indigenous Youth Leadership
October 14: Food Security
October 21: Renewable Energy
October 28: Human Health and Pandemics
November 11: Broadband Connectivity
November 18: Gender
November 25: Socio-Ecological Resilience
December 9: Infrastructure
December 16: Respecting Traditional Indigenous Knowledge Systems


Register here to get updates for the whole Arctic Resilience Forum series. Individual session pages will open up with registration for specific events approximately one week in advance. Russian language translation will be available for all session.