On February 23 SAO Chair Gustaf Lind attended the World Oceans Summit in Singapore to speak on the panel titled The Arctic - beacon of hope? Russian SAO Anton Vasiliev also participated in the panel.
Ambassador Lind spoke about how current interest for the Arctic is high with regards to science, business, and tourism. Because of this the media often portray the Arctic as a new conflict zone, with competition for natural resources and transport routes. Lind commented that this is not the reality and that the current political atmosphere in the Arctic is quiet and pragmatic.
"There are no lack of challenges in the Arctic. My plea is that the focus must be on real issues, not imaginary ones." says Lind.
Lind detailed some of the challenges facing the Arctic; such as protecting the environment, improving decision-making, and starting a dialogue with the business community on corporate social responsibility. Lind believes that The Arctic Council has a unique position to work on these issues since it is a hub for regional cooperation in the Arctic and also promotes close cooperation between scientists and policy makers as well as including indigenous group representatives at all levels.
"The Arctic Council is changing from a decision shaping forum into firmer cooperation that has begun taking binding decisions." says Lind.
From left to right: Robert Blaauw, Shell International , Joshua Reichert, Pew Environment Group , Lisa Speer, Natural Resource Defense Council, Anton Vasiliev, Russian SAO, Gustaf Lind, SAO Chair