About the symposium 2013



The host of The Ny-Ålesund Symposium 2013 is Mr. Espen Barth Eide, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway.
International high-level participants will address the Symposium, including politicians, renowned scientists, business executives and representatives of NGOs. Participation is limited to 40, by personal invitation only.


The Changing Arctic - Opportunity or Threat
May 27 - May 29, 2013

This year’s theme aims at contributing to the necessary dialogue between governments, local peoples, and public and private actors in order to meet the new challenges facing the Arctic region. The symposium will include the following topics:

• Arctic shipping
• Petroleum development
• Conservation of Arctic biodiversity and ecosystems
Challenges to indigenous and local peoples of t

The Arctic is changing more rapidly than most other regions of the world. Temperatures are increasing more than double the rate of the average global warming. The sea ice is vanishing much faster than predicted and any could imagine a few years ago. Snow and ice on land are also melting at an increasing rate.

Snow, ice and low temperatures are shaping Arctic ecosystems, biodiversity and landscapes, and, hence, the conditions for the indigenous and local peoples living in the region. These peoples and ecosystems are facing new challenges when the environment is changing as rapidly as it does now. Traditional living by indigenous peoples and the relatively pristine Arctic environment are threatened.

Snow, ice and low temperatures are main obstacles for maritime transport and economic development of the Arctic region. New opportunities arise for these activities when less snow and ice and warmer temperatures make access to the Arctic easier.

The possibility for commercial shipping in the Arctic and through the Northern Sea Route during parts of the year is becoming more real. In addition, high prices on petroleum and mineral resources, expected large reserves of these resources in the Arctic, and the establishment of the outer limits of the continental shelves in the Arctic Ocean in accordance with the international Law of the Seas by Arctic nations, are also contributing to change the Arctic and increase the political attention.

To meet these challenges, international cooperation between the Arctic states and other interested nations is crucial. People living in the region should be strongly involved in the development and have the opportunity to shape their own future. The business sector, research institutions and international organizations must also participate.

Last updated: Nov 12, 2012