Arctic Frontiers side-event: Turning science into policy for a sustainable Arctic

Sampling for environmental toxins at Svalbard (Photo: Guttorm Christensen/Akvaplan-niva)

Arctic Frontiers side-event: Turning science into policy for a sustainable Arctic

Sampling for environmental toxins at Svalbard (Photo: Guttorm Christensen/Akvaplan-niva)

3 May 2022 news

Arctic Frontiers - side eventTurning science into policy for a sustainable Arctic – how to cope with an Arctic ecosystem under multiple pressures?

Time: 9 May 2022, 09.00-10-30

Place: Clarion Hotel the Edge (Room "Margarinfabrikken 3")

About the event: The Arctic acts as a sink for long-range transported contaminants emitted globally, while also being contaminated from local sources within the Arctic. At the same time the Arctic is warming at three times the rate observed at lower latitudes. This is causing drastic changes in the physical environment, ecosystems and ways of life for people living in the Arctic. Arctic warming also has significant implications for contaminant sources, pathways and fate. While there are national and international regulatory instruments in place for individual pressures (e.g. contaminants or climate change), there are few, if any, regulatory instruments in place to protect the Arctic against the combined impacts from multiple pressures.

The Arctic played a central role in the development of the Minamata and Stockholm Conventions. The objective of this side-event is to bring together policy-makers and scientists to discuss how Arctic ecosystems under multiple pressures have a role in international regulatory processes. What is the current status of the Arctic environment, and how is it expected to change? How can we deal with multiple pressures in a regulatory context? And are previously successful approaches to science to policy engagement still appropriate to meet future needs?

Speakers bio: 

John Walsh is the Chief Scientist of the International Research Center and President’s Professor of Global Change at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He is also the Co-Director of the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy. His research has addressed Arctic climate and weather in the context of global change. Particular interests include extreme events in the Arctic, including their impacts and attribution. Walsh was a lead author for the 2014 U.S. National Climate Assessment and for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He currently is a co-lead of the Climate Expert Group of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme. He has authored a textbook, Severe and Hazardous Weather. Walsh received a B.A. in Mathematics from Dartmouth College in 1970 and a Ph.D. in Meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974. Before joining the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2001, he was on the faculty of the University of Illinois. Professor Walsh is the 2022 awardee of the Mohn Prize.

Katrin Vorkamp is a professor in Environmental Chemistry at Aarhus University in Denmark. Her research focuses on the fate of organic contaminants in the environment, in particular their accumulation in the Arctic. She is responsible for a wide spectrum of chemical analyses in environmental and human samples, including persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and chemicals of emerging concern, also using new techniques such as non-target screening. Katrin Vorkamp is co-lead of the Expert Group on POPs and member of the Litter and Microplastic Expert Group of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP). She is also co-lead for environmental monitoring in the upcoming EU Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals (PARC). Katrin Vorkamp holds M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Science from the University of Bayreuth (Germany). In 2019, she was awarded the Aarhus University Science & Technology Award.

Timo Seppälä works as a senior adviser at the Finnish Environment Institute in Helsinki, Finland. He has more than 20 years of experience on Stockholm Convention from both the scientific committees and political level negotiations for the global restrictions. He also has long experience working under the Arctic Council working groups AMAP and ACAP on POPs and hazardous waste management in the Arctic.

Trude Borch is a social scientist with 25 years of research experience from a range of projects on the management of coastal and ocean resources in Arctic Norway. She has been involved in projects related to the environmental, economic and social impacts from industries like coastal tourism and aquaculture, coastal zone management and stakeholder conflicts. She has a special interest in the science-policy and science-society interface and in her current position at Akvaplan-niva in Tromsø Norway, she is engaged in a range of projects related to user-group dialogue, citizen science and popular outreach.

Lisa Bjørnsdatter Helgasonworks as a director at the Department of Environment at the County Governor of Troms and Finnmark. She has a PhD in marine biology and has worked as a researcher in ecotoxicology. The main tasks of the Department of Environment at the County Governor of Troms and Finnmark is to take care of the northernmost ecosystems in Norway for the future, and ensure sustainable development. The work consists of a wide range of tasks ranging from protected areas, fish farming, biological diversity, water resources, large predators, pollution, waste and recycling, freshwater fish, climate, motorized traffic and international environmental cooperation.

Eldbjørg Sofie Heimstad works as Research Director of the High North at NILU – Norwegian Institute for Air Research. Heimstad is a chemist by training and has over 20 years work experience with environmental impact of persistent organic pollutants, as well as coordination of Fram Centre collaboration on contaminant research in the Arctic. She is also the leader of the research head’s group in the Fram Centre collaboration.

Link to event: