Arctic Challenge for Sustainability Project

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A report from the SDWG meeting at Rovaniemi, October 2018

The regular meeting of SDWG was held at Rovaniemi in Finland on October 29-30, 2018, under the Finish chairmanship. About 90 representatives gathered from about 16 countries and 15 organizations.  During this meeting, representatives from each SDWG projects updated their ongoing works according to thematic category of SDWG projects. 

As to the domain of education, the importance of pedagogies and training of teachers was emphasized by several projects. A representative of the Northern Forum introduced an opening of a new international vocational school in the Republic of Sakha next spring and requested this activity would be authorized as a SDWG project. 

As to the domain of human health, importance of prevention of suicide was suggested by Circumpolar Resilience, Engagement and Action Through Story. It tackles with high rate of young peopoles’suicide in the Arctic communities. Representatives of Arctic states and permanent participants stressed that this was a serious issue and needed address through enhancing  partnership among different stakeholders both inside and outside the Arctic region. 

As to reduction or elimination of inequalities, it was a common understanding that gender equality was far from satisfactory conditions and needed to prioritize it in any chairmanship of SDWG.  

Although it was not included in the thematic area of the SDWG, but based on the initiative of the Chair of SDGW,“circular economy”was introduced by UNEP and a Finnish semi-governmental agency. The chair said,“circular economy”is a global agenda now, tourism, shipping and mining could be common concerns in the Arctic context. Though there were different opinions on how to introduce this concept into practice, all acknowledged its significance to continue to discuss this topic in coming years. 

Among others, because of the SAO meeting was planned to be held a day after the SDWG meeting, chairs of AMAP, ACAP and EPPR working groups joined the meeting this time and all of them showed their interests for strengthening collaboration with the SDWG.

Fujio Ohnishi (Hokkaido University, a member of theme 7)

A group photo of the SDWG meeting (photo by SDWG)