The International Symposium on Environment, Development and International Relations in the Arctic was held on December 11-12, 2017 at the Centennial Hall of Hokkaido University. The Symposium was organized through Theme 7 of the ArCS Project, “People and Community in the Arctic: Possibility of Sustainable Development,” for the purpose of promoting the three pillars of its research agenda. The program consisted of three sessions, each of which was applied to the research agenda.
At the beginning, Ambassador in Charge of Arctic Affairs in Japan, Keiji Ide, made a keynote speech. He showed what role is expected of Japan in international governance over the Arctic, and what orientation Japan should hold in its Arctic policy.
In the first session, the presenters made an analysis of the recent trend of international relations around the Arctic from the viewpoint of international cooperation and military deployment in the region. The second session was composed of presenters with different specialties, who discussed the present situations of resource development, as well as issues of environmental conservation for the livelihood of indigenous people in the Yamal Peninsula. In the third session, three anthropologists exchanged views on multi species in the age of Anthropocene, and on reciprocal co-habitation of humans and animals, as well as on the possibility of collaboration between indigenous knowledge and scientific knowledge.
Among the participants of this Symposium, in total more than sixty people, were included not only scientific researchers but also industrialists and decision makers. Those people from different fields exchanged views on common issues concerning the Arctic. As a result, the Symposium proved to be not only a common ground for interdisciplinary academic discussion, but also a place for debate in order to step further into a more practical dimension. Looking back from that point, the researchers of humanities and social sciences could obtain a clearer vision of their role in this research project, that is, to connect different spheres of lives to develop the possibility of mutual understanding.
Masanori Goto (Hokkaido University / A member of Theme 7)