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The Arctic – An early Environmental Warning System.

Contributed by: ScanBalt

The Arctic is an area where research on early climate change effects can give us warning and guidance relevant to the rest of the world.
The Arctic is the best indicator of stress on the environment caused by human activities. Retreating glaciers due to climate changes, threatening levels of pollutants and contaminants in Arctic marine food webs from industrial production and households plus the potential dangers of oil spills – these are all most obvious in the High North. New knowledge is accumulating from research which leaves no doubt about the negative effects. The Arctic may thus serve as a global model on how to affront these challenges of combined multiple stresses on the environment. This should lead to joint activities of all European countries and others to counteract this negative influence.

Those were the major concerns and opinions expressed at the ScanBalt Academy annual meeting held at Svalbard 18-20 August. The Academy therefore calls for immediate coordinated action between policies, research and industry led by the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) or Nordic-Baltic countries.

<b>Policy orientation and suggestions:</b>

First it should be a priority to establish cross-border and cross-disciplinary efforts based on a common recognition of the most important strategic research challenges for the Arctic. There is a fundamental need for further understanding in order to tackle the problems. Such efforts may need to be supported by new shared infra structures between the participating countries in order to provide the necessary research platforms

Second there is a need for finance mechanisms which can support such shared efforts in the Arctic. Existing regional, national; Nordic and EU sources unfortunately do not promote a strategic approach with clear targets. This may call for specific attention when preparing the 8th EU Framework programme and other programmes and initiatives. Collaboration with Russia should be a priority.

Third it is a necessity that coordinated efforts in the Arctic are integrated approaches between the relevant countries on the Top of Europe. Much synergy can be obtained interacting with efforts on related problems in the Baltic Sea and its coast lines. In fact some of the key challenges may be met by shared initiatives with focus on both the Barents and the Baltic Sea. Strategies and financing mechanisms should promote such interactions taking into account the EU Baltic Sea Region strategy.

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  • Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, United Kingdom
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