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Second Arctic Science Ministerial

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ASM2 (Second Arctic Science Ministerial)

Reporting period: 2018-03-01 to 2019-06-30

The European Commission, the Republic of Finland and the Federal Republic of Germany co-hosted the Second Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM2) in Berlin on 25 and 26 October 2018.
The Arctic is one of the regions most strongly affected by climate change in the world. Both air and water temperatures are rising at a significantly more rapid rate than the global average. The changes observed in the Arctic are also affecting the weather in neighbouring Europe. Policy-makers and civil society need more scientific findings to gain a better understanding of the rapid change occurring in the Arctic, the consequences for its peoples and for the global climate system. Arctic research delivers both this knowledge and the recommendations for action to protect the Arctic and safeguard its sustainable use.
The communities of the Arctic are vitally dependent on the integrity and functional capacity of their environment. This is why it is necessary to gain an understanding of the adaptability of the Arctic population and their environment in order to reduce the risks which are brought on by climate change. While the existing national and international observation systems and research activities are impressive, they are unable to satisfy the demand for information about the rapid changes occurring in the Arctic and the resulting consequences for the ecosystem and the peoples of the Arctic.
In follow-up to the first Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM1), the European Commission, the Republic of Finland and the Federal Republic of Germany co-hosted the Second Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM2) in Berlin on 25 and 26 October 2018. Under the patronage of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, the international community agreed to strengthen collaboration in Arctic research. The participation of indigenous peoples – for whom the Arctic is home, living environment and source of livelihood – was a vital concern of all the conference partners. Their collective efforts concluded with the signing of a Joint Statement.
Representatives of some 30 governments, six indigenous peoples’ organizations and ten selected international organizations were invited to give presentations on the priority topics of the second Arctic Science Ministerial. The first area of focus was the progress achieved since the first Arctic Science Ministerial, while participants also discussed new activities to further develop joint research in the Arctic with regard to observation, data and the joint use of research infrastructure.
The enhanced cooperation of the 26 governments in attendance culminated in the release of a Joint Statement of Ministers from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greenland, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland, Spain, United States, and the European Commission.
The following organizations represented the indigenous peoples of the Arctic: Aleut International Association, Arctic Athabaskan Council, Gwich’in Council International, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North and Saami Council.
Representatives from the following international organizations were also present: Association of Polar Early Career Scientists, Group on Earth Observations, International Arctic Science Committee, International Arctic Social Sciences Association, Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks, International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, University of the Arctic, UN Environment and World Meteorological Organization.
In October 2017 ASM1 and ASM2 organizers arranged a Breakout Session at the Arctic Circle Assembly to hand over the process from the USA to the European Community, Finland and Germany. In January 2018 the guidelines for reporting deliverables and two-pagers were distributed and Draft 1.0 of the Joint Statement was prepared. In the same month the Science Advisory Board was established and the German Arctic Office started to analyze deliverables submitted by participating countries and organizations. In March 2018 the organizers met in Levi (FI) with representatives of the Indigenous Peoples Organizations. Shortly after this event ASM2 was presented at Arctic Council SAO Meeting. The second draft of the Joint Statement was also shared with Indigenous Peoples Organizations. For each round of comments to the statement, participants received a detailed feedback on every comment that was submitted. In May 2018 the organizers sent the official invitation to the Ministers and to the Heads of the Indigenous Peoples Organizations. ASM2 teleconferences were taking place at regularly intervals. Between July-October 2018 the ASM2 report was compiled and edited and in parallel the Science Advisory Board developed the agenda of the ASM2 Science Forum. The final Briefing Meeting with the embassies of the participating countries was held in Berlin three weeks before the official event started. The final text of the Joint Statement was agreed by all participating countries on 24 October 2018.
On the first day of the Ministerial, the Arctic Science Forum presented and discussed scientific advances with regards to the deliverables agreed within ASM1, as well as necessary future commitments. 250 scientists, policy-makers and representatives of indigenous and international organizations participated in the Forum which prepared the ground for the high-level segment that took place the second day. The forum was broadcasted in a Live-Webcast via the ASM2 website and the footage was used to compile a short film for the opening session of the Ministers´ Meeting the following day.
During the Ministerial Meeting on the second day, ministers and heads of delegations from 26 nations and regions signed a Joint Statement, aiming at improved and better-coordinated international scientific cooperation to advance the understanding of the impacts of Arctic changes and the ability to respond to these changes.
The report of the conference „Co-operation in Arctic Science – Challenges and Joint Actions“, edited by the German Arctic Office on behalf of the BMBF, includes the Joint Statement of Ministers, a synopsis of the scientific background documents („Science Summary“) as well as overview presentations of the research activities of all participating countries and organizations.
At the end of the conference the torch was passed to Iceland and Japan, the co-hosts of the third Arctic Science Ministerial which will be held in 2020.
The main outcome of the meeting is the Joint Statement in which the parties agred to cooperate in a number of scientific fields that were identified based on the input provided by the participating countries and organisations. This intensified international cooperation will generate results over the next few years. The Joint Statement also underlines the intention to explore the possibility of creating an Arctic Funders Forum to discuss strategies for supporting the research that is necessary to achieve the goals agreed at the Ministerial. Consequently, the organizers of ASM2 have established a Working Group to explore the feasibility of such a forum. The participating countries were to invited to nominate points of contacts and a series of teleconferences will be held in preparation of a face-to-face meeting to be held in conjunction with the Arctic Circle Assembly.
At ASM2 researchers and policy makers met with representatives of indigenous peoples