Arctic Challenge for Sustainability Project

ArCS Blog

ArCS Blog

Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) 31st Working Group meeting was held between September 12-14 in Reykjavik, Iceland. Eight Arctic States (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and US), three of six AC permanent participants (indigenous peoples’ organizations; ICC, AAC, and Saami Council), six AC observer countries (France, Germany, Italy, Japan Netherlands, and Rep. Korea), and related organizations such as PAME, CAFF, Arctic Economic Council, European Commission, IASC, and ICES, participated in this meeting.

The CAFF board meeting was held at Bethel, Alaska, USA. A closed meeting was held on September 5 at Anchorage and meeting which can join observers was held on September 6 and 7 at Bethel, Alaska. This meeting was the first time for US chairmanship. PhD. Cynthia Jacobson of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be appointed chairperson. About 40 people joined the meeting including board member from Arctic countries, Permanent Participant organizations (PPs) and observers.

How can science, which objectifies the natural environment by separating it from humans, and indigenous knowledge or traditional ecological knowledge (hereafter “local knowledge”), which understand humans as beings that are closely tied to nature, coexist and collaborate?

The above question can often be heard in recent years in the field of Arctic research. The thinking that separates science and local knowledge into two opposites has to do with how humans and nature are interpreted. Science views the relationship of man and nature in dualistic terms and attempts to understand it in a reductive, objective, analytical and mechanistic way. In contrast, local knowledge tends to understand that relationship monistically, in a holistic, intuitive, experiential and spiritual way.

As a part of ‘theme 6’ ecosystem and biodiversity research program, ArCS researchers are conducting ecological research on seabirds breeding at St Lawrence Island, Northern Bering Sea. This is the second year of our field work, which started in 2016. Researchers from NIPR, Hokkaido University, and University of Alaska Fairbanks have been working together with two native guides from St. Lawrence Island, from mid July to the end of August. I was on the island for the early part of this year’s field work, during 12-28 July, 2017.

The main program of an international expedition to Bowdoin Glacier on Greenland's northwest coast was successfully completed last week. This 3-km-wide calving glacier has been an important study site of Japanese researchers and their foreign colleagues during the last 5 years.

The Ninth International Congress on Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS IX) was held from 8 to 12, June 2017 in Umeå in Northern Sweden. Being under the auspices of the International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA), the Congress was hosted by the Arctic Research Center at Umeå University, which is the affiliation of the current IASSA president Peter Sköld, and is at this moment the location of the IASSA Secretariat, in cooperation with the Department of Language Studies and Centre for Sami Research at the same university. IASSA is an international academic organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of construction of a network of social scientists of the Arctic. ICASS is regularly held at the location of the IASSA Secretariat once during the term of three years. The last Congress was held in May 2014 at the Northern British Columbia University.

  • PACES (air Pollution in the Arctic: Climate, Environment and Societies)

The 2nd Open Science Workshop on air Pollution in the Arctic: Climate, Environment and Societies (PACES) was held on 27-29 June 2017 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It overlapped with the AMAP Expert Group on Short-Lived Climate Forcers (afternoon of June 29th and June 30th).  Both oral and poster presentations were made. The chairs of PACES are Drs. Chuck Brock, Kathy Law and Steve Arnold. The local organizer of the workshop was Dr. Knut von Salzen.