Arctic Science Summit Week 2016 (ASSW2016) was held from March 12th to 18th, 2016 in Fairbanks, USA. There were around 50 Japanese participants including those who from National Institute of Polar Research, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and Hokkaido University, the core institutes of the ArCS. During the week, the ASSW Business Meetings, the Arctic Observing Summit 2016 (AOS2016), the Model Arctic Council, and the Senior Arctic Officials Meeting were held, in which more than 1000 people participated in total.
During the business-meeting period, the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) held the meetings of five Working Groups and the IASC Council, as well as the meetings of the partner organizations of IASC. The strategic plan for the next few years was discussed in the WGs and the council, in addition to the yearly reports on WGs’ activities and their budgets.
AOS is a biennial summit that aims to discuss the design, coordination and sustained long-term operation of an international network of Arctic observing systems. It seemed that the way of discussion was getting accepted at this third summit, in which researchers and stakeholders (i.e. policy decision makers, funding agencies, industries, indigenous people, etc.) were brought together to discuss necessary actions.
For example, there were discussions on “what is necessary for shifting the monitoring observation of the Arctic from a research-based one to an operational-based one”, or “whether the current system to provide funds for research projects on the Arctic observations, which is based on a cycle of every few years, is appropriate or not.” This shows that the participating countries shares the issues on how to maintain the project-based Arctic observations and to promote and utilize the outcomes of the observations.
It was also impressive for us, participants from Japan, that the conference received a large amount of support by several sponsors. Although there is a difference on the taxation system etc., it can be said that the rapid changes in the Arctic are getting attention widely including politics and economics, discussions on which cannot end within science issues only.
Tetsuo Sueyoshi (NIPR, ArCS Coordinator)