Last week Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren announced that the United States will host the first Arctic Science Ministerial on September 28, 2016 in Washington, D.C. Representatives will attend from many countries as well as indigenous groups.
It’s not clear from the announcement which countries and native groups will be participating. However, the Arctic Council, which the United States is chairing this year, has as its members the Arctic States (the Kingdom of Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Canada, Norway and the United States) and six international groups representing indigenous people in the Arctic States. I don’t know enough to guess at what other countries and groups might participate. Perhaps there will be some representation of countries and people affected by Antarctic science.
The White House announcement named four themes for the Ministerial meeting,
- Arctic Science Challenges and their Regional and Global Implications.
- Strengthening and Integrating Arctic Observations and Data Sharing.
- Applying Expanded Scientific Understanding of the Arctic to Build Regional Resilience and Shape Global Responses.
- Arctic Science as a Vehicle for STEM Education and Citizen Empowerment.
The overarching goal of the meeting is to expand collaborative efforts in Arctic science, including but not limited to: data sharing, research, monitoring, and observations. With an increasing interest in the region, this first meeting has the capacity to address how new activities in the Arctic can add to the climatic changes already taking place.