For increasing periods each year, Arctic sea ice is melting and the permafrost on land is thawing. The region’s unique natural and cultural landscapes are sensitive to a warming climate and enhanced human activity.
Some changes, such as increased risk of oil spills, have potentially dramatic negative consequences. Other shifts present new opportunities, such as the economic empowerment of native communities and seasonal shipping routes. Ensuring that negative impacts on the environment and existing native communities are minimized while retaining the viability of economic opportunities requires conscientious stewardship that focuses on sustainable development.
Diplomatic and economic actions can greatly affect the extent to which factors such as climate change and global commodity price fluctuations lead to economic, environmental and social changes. Future developments in the Arctic region are critically dependent upon environmental policy and business decisions made at national, regional and international levels; this is humanity’s chance to get it right.
In many ways the Arctic is not sufficiently prepared for increased activity to operate safely nor sustainably. Wide discrepancies between countries and industries aggravate the emergence of a sustainable commercial corridor and present bottlenecks for inclusive growth. At present, pan-regional investment in the Arctic is not organized nor to scale. A financial institution orientated towards triple-bottom-line development needs to be created to ensure that benefits of local and foreign investment are captured for, and flow back to, the region.
The mandate of the Global Agenda Council on the Arctic is to work better and more uniformly with governments and business leaders to contribute to the sustainable management of this unique region.
Council Manager: Victoria Crawford, Community Lead, International Organisations and Government Affairs, World Economic Forum.
Forum Lead: Anja Kaspersen, Head of International Security, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum
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To this day, the general public thinks of the Arctic in visions of unspoiled ocean and landscapes, expansive ice, clean water, unique species and aboriginal cultures – essentially,it remi...