Big Picture

Session 3: Moving To and From North

Read more about the Big Picture session: Moving to and From North Arctic Frontiers 2023: Moving North. This session took place on Tuesday, February 1st, 2023.

Image shows the text Moving to and from North and a plane inside a compass

Session 3: Moving To and From North

Image shows the Big Picture panel during AF 2023. A woman speaks while three others lean forward and listen.

One of the greatest societal challenges facing the pan-Arctic region is outmigration, especially of youth. We are witnessing a demographic pattern in the Arctic where some population centres are growing, because members of smaller communities are moving to regional hubs in search of services, and education and employment opportunities.

Discussions on national and international level at times give the impression that protecting the Arctic and forbidding all development activities provides the best way of taking care of the region. But are there alternatives —focusing on sustainable development resulting in net positive impact, that can that help to reverse current demographic patterns? What are the factors that support people staying in the Arctic once they arrive? What is the role of new technologies in creating new opportunities in the Arctic? What are the different approaches to demographical challenges on the regional and national levels of governance? Should we fight against outmigration no matter how high the price?

Recent geopolitical developments have brought new perspectives related to the demographic development in the Arctic: the importance of the robust local communities from a national security point of view. Has there been a change in the national strategies? What are the short-term implications of this on the pan-Arctic scale?

This session will focus on the push and pull factors for local populations and will also shed light on the driving factors of in-migration and examples for successful measures from inside and outside the Arctic for maintaining local populations.


  • H.E. Jonas Gahr Støre, Prime Minister of Norway
  • Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator for Alaska
  • Abbie Tingstad, Associate Director of the Management, Technology, and Capabilities Program (MTC) in the Homeland Security Research Division of the RAND Corporation & Codirector of the Climate Resilience Center of the RAND Corporation 
  • Angus Robertson, Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture of Scotland
  • Sara Olsvig, Inuit Circumpolar Council Chair
  • Mia Ahlstrand, Project Leader for the North Sweden Green Deal at Develop Norrbotten
  • Sigrún Ágústsdóttir, Director of the Environment Agency of Iceland
  • Tom Einar Jensen, Chief Executive Officer of FREYR Battery
  • Larry Ibrahim Mohammed, PhD Candidate, UiT – The Arctic University of Tromsø, Norway

This session is now available on Youtube:


Skip to content