EU and 25 Countries Sign Joint Statement to Strengthen Arctic Science Cooperation



On 9 May, Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, together with ministers from 25 countries signed the 3rd Arctic Science Ministerial Joint Statement. The third Arctic Science Ministerial Meeting (ASM3) entitled “Knowledge for a sustainable Arctic”, was co-organised by the governments of Japan and Iceland and took place on 8 and 9 May, in Tokyo and also virtually. Commissioner Mariya Gabriel signed the Joint Statement on behalf of the European Union. This third edition highlighted and consolidated the leading role of the EU on Arctic science.


Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: “Arctic is the region on Earth where climate change is happening faster, with consequences for sea-level rise and weather patterns that affect the whole planet. Arctic science is therefore an essential area of global responsibility. The Joint Statement signed today shows our collective willingness to join forces in support and commitment to Arctic research and innovation.”

The Arctic Science Ministerial meetings are intergovernmental events, hosted biennially by countries with an interest in Arctic research. The objective is to coordinate Arctic observation and research, and to strengthen Arctic science cooperation through an inclusive process – involving Arctic and non-Arctic States, as well as indigenous communities. In the Joint statement, the signatories identify the most urgent actions to address through international cooperation:

  1. Observe: implementing observing networks; data-sharing

  2. Understand: enhancing understanding and prediction capability for Arctic environmental and social systems, for the global impact of these changes

  3. Respond: operationalizing sustainable development, evaluating vulnerability and resilience, and applying Knowledge

  4. Strengthen: preparing the next generation through capacity building, education, networking; and resilience

The Joint Statement was signed by the 25 Ministers in charge of Research from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, the Kingdom of Denmark, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

During the meeting, the ministers were joined by representatives of six Arctic Indigenous Peoples’ organisations (Aleut International Association, Arctic Athabaskan Council, Gwich'in Council International, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Saami Council).

The ASM3 Joint Statement will be available on the event’s website.


Research conducted at the Arctic is not only important to understand the region, the polar caps in general, and the life living on and below the polar caps; the impacts of climate change are show in their full at the Arctic, hence the massive amounts of ice melting and increase in the sea levels. Thus, securing a multilateral approach on research at the Arctic will benefit the EU, all the partaking countries, and the rest of the world as much as those that are taking part. ECOPNET (European Cooperation and Partnership Network) finds the attention the EU gives to the region insightful and also encourages its partners that are working in the sectors linked to the EU Green Deal & Energy Policies to closely follow developments in this area.

Background

Since the last Arctic Science Ministerial in 2018, changes in the Arctic ecosystem and the resulting impacts locally and globally have been severely felt. While the reasons for these changes in climate largely stem from activities outside of the Arctic, the region is warming at a rate of nearly double the global average.

Considering the need for climate change mitigation, adaptation, and repair measures, the relevance of an international Arctic Science Ministerial has never been greater. It is necessary to strengthen scientific cooperation and collaboration among both Arctic and non-Arctic States in order to develop our understanding of the rapid changes impacting the Arctic.

The last EU Arctic Policy dates back to 2016. A renewed EU Arctic Policy is expected be adopted this year in October. Research and innovation will feature prominently in the renewed policy.


Source: European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation Newsroom