Be one of the first to learn about the latest reports, assessments and activities from the Council’s Working Groups on the topics of climate change, Arctic shipping, human health and innovation in Arctic communities

The Arctic Council under the leadership of its six Working Groups and its Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane will organize a series of four briefings leading up to the Ministerial meeting. These briefings will feature sneak peeks and highlights from the experts themselves on new reports, assessments and other materials that will publish after the Ministerial meeting on 20 May.

The four briefings will explore how the Arctic Council contributes to a better understanding of Arctic change, including actions it takes to address the challenges facing Arctic ecosystems and biodiversity, conservation, health concerns and pollution issues, and how it contributes to safe and sustainable development of the Arctic. During each briefing, experts will provide the highlights, followed by a Q&A session where the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions to the experts.

The briefing schedules, registration links and speakers for each session follows. Please note that information and materials discussed and displayed are under embargo until 20 May 2021 at 11:30 a.m. GMT.

Briefing 1: Understanding climate change in the Arctic and its implications

Audience members will get a fast-forward to understanding new findings and key trends in climate-driven environmental and social changes in the Arctic. This session will focus on recent findings on how climate change is impacting the environment, societies and biodiversity, and present expert recommendations on how Arctic States can reduce emissions of black carbon. Specific topics will include:

  • Recent findings on climate change in the Arctic
  • Impacts of climate change on societies and extreme events
  • What’s happening with Arctic biodiversity, and global implications
  • Action on black carbon and methane – how Arctic nations are taking action and recommendations for the future
  • Emerging issues including wildland fires

Date and time: Monday 17 May, 14:00-15:00 GMT

Register here

Briefing 2: Navigating the future of Arctic shipping

Access to the Arctic Ocean is changing quickly as sea ice extent reduces and thins – enabling longer seasons of ship navigation and new access to previously difficult to reach regions. This briefing will take stock of the increase of Arctic shipping over the past years, and associated risks like oil spills and search and rescue incidents. It will look at how the Council contributes to safeguarding the marine environment and enables safe and sustainable shipping in Arctic waters. Specific topics will include:

  • The current status of Arctic shipping
  • Insights on marine emergency response
  • Arctic marine tourism
  • Emerging issues

Date and time: Monday 17 May, 15:15-16:00 GMT

Register here

Briefing 3: Human health

This briefing will shed light on how climate change, pollutants and lifestyles impact human health in the Arctic. It will also overview newly evaluated risks for radiation exposure and how radiation can impact human health. Attendees will hear how the Council is tackling emerging issues like Covid-19, future pandemics and black carbon health effects. Specific topics will include:

  • How Arctic lifestyles, diets and pollution exposure impacts human health
  • Short-lived climate forcers (SLCFs) and human health
  • Radiation risks and health impacts
  • Mental health and suicide prevention
  • Emerging issues, including Covid-19

Date and time: Tuesday 18 May, 14:00-15:00 GMT

Register here

Briefing 4: Arctic communities setting a path to the future

This briefing explores what the world has to learn from the Arctic and presents innovative case studies of what we can learn from Indigenous peoples’ Traditional Knowledge and Local Knowledge, how we can tap into the full potential of Arctic economies and how Arctic communities initiate energy transitions. Specific topics will include:

  • Building sustainable economies
  • Mainstreaming biodiversity in the mining sector
  • Cleaning up communities in the Arctic
  • Emerging issues and energy initiatives

Date and time: Tuesday 18 May, 15:15-16:00 GMT

Register here

Speaker information

Briefing 1: Understanding climate change in the Arctic and its implications

Anders Turesson
Anders Turesson
Moderator

Anders Turesson is Chair of the Arctic Council Working Group Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme. He has worked at the Swedish Ministry of Environment since the 1990s and was the head of the Swedish delegation to the United Nations’ climate change convention negotiations

Jason Eric Box
Jason Eric Box

Jason Eric Box is a professor in Glaciology and Climate at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland

Kristin Linda Árnadóttir
Kristin Linda Árnadóttir

Kristín Linda Árnadóttir is Chair of the Arctic Council’s Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane (EGBCM) and Deputy CEO at Landsvirkjun.

Michael J. Young
Michael J. Young
Arctic Council Wildland Fire Projects Coordinator

Michael currently serves as the coordinator for Arctic Council wildland fire projects as a part-time employee for the U.S. Department of State. He is a retired Foreign Service Officer whose tours included working as the Arctic Affairs Officer in the Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs and the Foreign Policy Advisor to Special Operations Command North, where he also focused on Arctic issues. He was the U.S. Head of Delegation to the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group from 2013-15. He previously served as a Surface Warfare Officer and nuclear engineer with the U.S. Navy for 15 years.

Katrin Vorkamp
Katrin Vorkamp
Aarhus University, Denmark

Katrin Vorkamp is a Senior Scientist in Environmental Chemistry at Aarhus University in Denmark. She is also co-lead of the AMAP Expert Group for Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and member of the AMAP Expert Group for Litter and Microplastics.

Briefing 2: Navigating the future of Arctic shipping

Peter Holst-Andersen
Peter Holst-Andersen
Moderator

Jens Peter Holst-Andersen is the Chair of the Arctic Council Working Group Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR). Through work in the Danish Ministry of Defence and as a Navy officer in the Royal Danish Navy Jens Peter has had a career with focus on the Arctic region - ranging from commanding navy ships in the Arctic to strategic and operational staff work. Before chairing EPPR Jens Peter was the Kingdom of Denmark's Head of Delegation to EPPR while also a member of the Danish delegation to Arctic Coast Guard Forum.

Peter Oppenheimer
Peter Oppenheimer

Peter Oppenheimer, Chief of the International Section of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Office of General Counsel since 2006, oversees an office that provides legal counsel to NOAA and other U.S. federal agencies. He serves as the co-chair of PAME’s Shipping Expert Group, and was previously the U.S. head of delegation to the Arctic Council's Task Force on Arctic Marine Cooperation (2015-2019).

Dan Cowan
Dan Cowan

Dan Cowan Chairs EPPR’s Marine Environmental Response (MER) Expert Group. He works at the Canadian Coast Guard headquarters office in Ottawa. Dan’s career consistently centers around energy including energy policy, climate change policy, sustainable development, clean energy and environmental impact mitigation and remediation. He holds an Honors BA in applied economics from Queen’s University and an MA in Public Administration from Carleton University. His current responsibilities protecting the marine environment align closely with his leisure activities which include sailing, power boating, kayaking and scuba diving

Drummond Fraser
Drummond Fraser

Drummond Fraser is a Senior Policy Advisor in the Legislative, Regulatory and International Affairs branch of Transport Canada, Marine Safety and Security. He is responsible for a variety of domestic and international Arctic shipping efforts, including Canada’s implementation of the Polar Code, and co-chairing the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment’s Shipping Expert Group.

Michael Kingston
Michael Kingston

Originally from County Cork, Ireland, Mr. Kingston, is Managing Director of Michael Kingston Associates. He has been working with the Arctic Council’s Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment Working Group (PAME) in the establishment of the Arctic Shipping Best Practices Information Forum, originally presenting the concept in Malmo Sweden in August 2015 at the World Maritime University’s Arctic Conference jointly organised by the IMO and PAME. He is a London-based lawyer who represented the International Union of Marine Insurance at the IMO on the finalisation of the Polar Code. Michael also works as an IMO Consultant on Polar issues and fishing vessel safety / IUU fishing. Further information www.michaelkingston.org.

Briefing 3: Human health

Cheryl Khoury
Cheryl Khoury
Moderator

Ms. Cheryl Khoury is the Section Head of the Targeted Epidemiology and Biomonitoring Section at Health Canada. She leads a team that studies human exposures to environmental chemicals as well as the health effects associated with these exposures. She has close to 20 years of experience in chemicals risk assessment, air quality and environmental biomonitoring. She serves as the Canadian co-chair of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme’s Human Health Assessment Group.

Eva Cecilie Bonefeld-Jørgensen
Eva Cecilie Bonefeld-Jørgensen

Eva Cecilie Bonefeld-Jørgensen is a Professor and Director of Centre for Arctic Health & Molecular Epidemiology, Dept. Public Health, Aarhus University and University of Greenland, Nuuk. Eva Cecilie has more than 20 years of experience in human exposures to environmental chemicals and the associated health effects. Eva Cecilie has been a member of the AMAP Human Health Working Group since 1997 and serves as the Danish Key National Expert of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme’s Human Health Assessment Group.

Shilpa Rao
Shilpa Rao
Øyvind Aas-Hansen
Øyvind Aas-Hansen

Øyvind Aas-Hansen is Chair of the Radiation Expert Group under the Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) Working Group, and senior adviser in the Norwegian Nuclear Safety Authority, Section for the High North. He has a PhD in Arctic and aquatic animal physiology and ecotoxicology from the University of Tromsø, Norway, including one-year as a research fellow at the University of Waterloo, Canada, and ten years work experience as a research scientist before starting his current position in 2014.

Selma Ford
Selma Ford

Selma Ford an Inuk from Nain, Nunatsiavut, Canada has been living and working in the Ottawa, Ontario area since January 2005. Since 2016 Selma has been the Health Coordinator at Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC). Selma has been working in the area of suicide prevention and mental wellness for close to 25 years at the community and international level. She has spent her entire career working to helping Inuit, whether it be delivering prenatal programs in her hometown or working to coordinate activities at the national and now international level.

Embla Eir Oddsdóttir
Embla Eir Oddsdóttir

Embla Eir Oddsdóttir is the Chair of the Social, Economic and Cultural Expert Group (SECEG) under the Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) and lead of the SDWG Gender Equality in the Arctic project. She is also the Director of the Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network (IACN), located in Akureyri, Iceland. Embla represents Iceland as co-chair in the Arctic Science Ministerial Science Advisory Board co-organized by Iceland and Japan. Embla holds a Msc in Law, Anthropology and Society from The London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Briefing 4: Arctic communities setting a path to the future

Jennifer Spence
Jennifer Spence
Moderator

Jennifer Spence is the Executive Secretary for the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group. She holds a PhD in Public Policy with an interest in Arctic and international governance, institutional effectiveness and innovative policy processes. Jennifer is also an Adjunct Research Professor with Carleton University’s Northern Studies Program. She lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband and two teenage daughters.

Iulie Aslaksen
Iulie Aslaksen

Iulie Aslaksen is Senior Researcher at the Research Department of Statistics Norway. Her research focuses on knowledge integration for sustainable development goals, within ecosystem accounting, ecological economics, and economies of the Arctic, including work on Sámi statistics. Her recent work includes co-editing the report The Economy of the North - ECONOR 2020, a circumpolar overview of Arctic economies. She has recently led and co-led several interdisciplinary research projects addressing climate and biodiversity policy, aiming to improve the knowledge basis for sustainable land use.

Devlin Fernandes
Devlin Fernandes

Devlin is based in Yellowknife, Canada and serves as the Executive Director for Gwich’in Council International, and Head of Delegation to the Sustainable Development Working Group. She works to amplify the voice of the Gwich’in Nation on issues of sustainable development and the environment, and facilitate involvement in Arctic Council discussions, projects, and Working Groups. She has built her career around capacity and leadership development, as well as co-designing and delivering community-based projects focused on the connections between people, place, and economy. She is passionate about social justice, Indigenous rights, and the environment.

More speakers to come!

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