Panel 403 - Science Diplomacy in a Changing Arctic

Conference Day: 
Day 2 - November 14th 2019
Takeaways and recommendations: 

Science Diplomacy in a Changing Arctic

Organized by: Dr. Urs Obrist, Senior Science and Technology Counsellor, Embassy of Switzerland in Canada

Speakers: Robert Kadas, Deputy Director, Nordic and Polar Relations, Global Affairs Canada; Xavier Grosmaître, Science and Higher Education Attaché, Embassy of France; Anne Kari Ovind, Ambassador of Norway to Canada; Urs Obrist, Senior Science and Technology Counsellor, Embassy of Switzerland in Canada; Hwasue Sung, Political and Environment Officer, Embassy of South Korea in Canada; Robert Tibbetts, Economic Affairs, Embassy of the United States in Canada

Moderator: David J. Scott, President and CEO, Polar Knowledge Canada


  1. The Arctic region is known for political stability, and for a high level of cooperation between countries: Science cooperation paves the way for diplomatic cooperation. 

  2. The Arctic is an area of global significance, and Arctic science is a priority for Arctic and non-Arctic states. 

  3. In 2019, Canada launched Canada’s Arctic and Northern Policy Framework

  4. Knowledge of the region is essential for living and operating in the Arctic. Complex issues like microplastics and climate change require research participation from multiple countries.

  5. The Arctic Council is a primary arena for addressing Arctic questions.

  6. The Arctic will remain a priority for Norway, home to 10% of its residents. Norway’s Ny-Alesund Research Station in the Svalbard Archipelago focuses on internationalization, and requires that all researchers based there agree to make data and metadata available, and to publish popular science articles, communicating their research with the public. 

  7. France sees climate change, and particularly its impact on arctic regions  as a global issue and a priority. Having a long history of polar research and recognized expertise in this field, France is eager to work in cooperation with other countries to conduct arctic research.

  8. Switzerland is known as a Vertical Arctic Nation, with their mountain ecosystem under stress and glaciers disappearing. A land-locked non-Arctic nation, it has expertise in studying extreme environments, and know-how for cryosphere research and cooperation. 

  9. South Korea is dedicated to becoming a partner in shaping a sustainable future for the Arctic. New Arctic shipping routes offer the advantages of decreased shipping times. 

  10. The Arctic is a priority for the United States, which has many and various ongoing programs for research and student training. It sees rich opportunities in the region for bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

Suggested Actions:

  1. The panellists expressed a commitment to further engagement by their governments to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the area of Arctic Science.