Experts Gather at the KVA-NVP Symposium in Oslo to Discuss Security and Preparedness in The Changing North

On 23-24 March 2023, the Norwegian Scientific Academy for Polar Research (NVP) and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA) organised a symposium at The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (DNVA) in Oslo on the topic of “Security and Preparedness in the Changing North”. The symposium in Oslo was the second in a series of two symposiums focusing on the development in polar regions. The first symposium was held at KVA in Stockholm in November 2022. As a result, the collaboration between the two academies has been strengthened.

The two-day symposium featured a packed schedule of presentations from keynote speakers and theme discussions covering a wide range of topics related to Arctic security and preparedness. The programme began with welcoming remarks from the President of NVP and Professor at Nord University and Nordland Research Institute, Grete K. Hovelsrud.

The event brought together experts from a range of fields from both Norway and Sweden to discuss a variety of topics. These included conditions for livelihoods, health, and ecosystems in the Arctic regions, as well as the impacts of climate change and potential actions to address them. Another key topic was forecasting the changing ice, ocean, and weather conditions, which is critical for safety and preparedness in these regions. Additionally, experts discussed the challenges of accessing infrastructure and data for Arctic research, as well as the complex geopolitical landscape surrounding the region, including issues of governance, security, and defence. Overall, the symposium provided a platform for experts to share their knowledge and perspectives on these critical issues, and to explore new approaches to addressing the challenges of operating in the Arctic.

One key theme that emerged from the symposium was the need for greater collaboration between different stakeholders in the polar regions, including scientists, policymakers, local and indigenous communities. Several speakers emphasised the importance of listening to and engaging with local communities who have unique knowledge and perspectives on the challenges facing their regions. The symposium concluded with a summary from Leif Anderson, Professor Emeritus from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

Overall, the symposium was seen as a valuable opportunity for experts to exchange ideas and explore new approaches to addressing the security and preparedness challenges of the Arctic regions. As climate change continues to accelerate and the interest in the Arctic grows, shaping policy and practice is becoming increasingly important.

The collaboration between the two academies is expected to lead to even more fruitful discussions and collaborations in the future, and to help promote greater awareness and understanding of the critical issues facing the polar regions.


Read the abstracts from the talks here


All photos: Ragnhild Utne / NVP