EUR 6 million for research on future of Arctic

8 May 2020

Fifty scientists in eight countries are now convening to set out, with concerted vigour, towards achieving sustainable Arctic development. “We’re facing a huge, crucial task,” says Corine Wood-Donnelly, researcher at Uppsala University and initiator of JUSTNORTH.

The Arctic Region is in the throes of a range of disruptive changes. Global warming is exerting an especially heavy impact on the poles. This, in turn, has sweeping repercussions on ecosystems, living conditions, the growing exploitation of Arctic resources, and more. To help bring about sustainable development of the Arctic, the EU’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation has now granted EUR 6 million to the multidisciplinary initiative JUSTNORTH: Toward Just, Ethical and Sustainable Arctic Economies, Environments and Societies.

Corine Wood-Donnelly, Uppsala University

“The Arctic is vulnerable to disturbances, and degradation of its unique environments will have consequences for the whole world. Long-term conservation of the region calls for new knowledge of the justice aspects of the global climate goals and economic expansion in the Arctic, for instance. The only way to succeed is through scientific collaboration, and in JUSTNORTH we’ve brought together 50 researchers at 15 partner organisations in 8 countries. We’re going to implement 18 joint studies with the aim of providing decision makers with support for ensuring sensible long-term Arctic development,” says Corine Wood-Donnelly, researcher at the institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies and initiator of JUSTNORTH.

The challenges facing the Arctic are the outcome of many years’ reckless exploitation, which has left behind deep socioeconomic and environmentally related damage to the region. The Arctic Council, formed back in 1996, is a collaborative body for governments and indigenous populations in the eight Arctic states. During Sweden’s Presidency (2018), a report clarifying the importance of boosting Arctic resilience was drawn up. The Council’s recommendations include international collaboration to preserve the unique natural values of the region and support Arctic communities, with reference to agreements reached.

“Ensuring sustainability and justice in long-term agendas is a complex task that includes a great number of perspectives. Within the JUSTNORTH framework, we’ll examine fisheries, tourism, energy, transport, domestic economic activities and various other sectors too. Resolving the issues concerned will provide important insights into advantages, risks and opportunities of different ways of developing the region – insights that can make a valuable contribution to the EU’s integrated policy for the Arctic,” Wood-Donnelly says.

JUSTNORTH is expected to continue for 3½ years. The aims of the project include formulating political, legal and legislative recommendations, and also negotiating tools for stakeholders with interests in Arctic development. The results of the work will also be made available in a documentary film presenting aspects of sustainable development in the Arctic, and a handbook with recommendations for including justice perspectives in future research will be issued.

Facts

  • JUSTNORTH is a multidisciplinary project aimed at helping to achieve sustainable development in the Arctic.
  • JUSTNORTH has been granted funding of EUR 6 million (approx. SEK 65m)  by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020, and will continue for 3½ years.
  • JUSTNORTH is gathering 50 researchers, 15 partner organisations and 8 countries for joint implementation of 18 studies.
  • At Uppsala University, the following researchers are taking part in JUSTNORTH:

Don Mitchell, Department of Social and Economic Geography
Johanna Ohlsson , Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies
Vladislava Vladimirova, Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies
Corine Wood-Donnelly, Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies.