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Arctic Frontiers 2023: Moving North

Tromsø january

Tromsø, Norway January 30th- February 2nd, 2023

Today, everything is on the move and so is the Arctic. The globe is more connected than ever and yet also more divided. Climate change impacts, geopolitical tensions, sea ice edge, technology hubs, businesses, flora and fauna – all are moving North, presenting unprecedented challenges and opportunities for sustainable development and for the peoples of the Arctic who are also on the move to and from the region.

5 Big Picture sessions

7 Science Themes

30 side events





The Big Picture


Image shows a compass rose and the text "North on the Move"

 North on the Move

This session focuses on large global trends and the role of the Arctic in them. We will examine how the two global drivers – climate change and geopolitics – are impacting development in the Arctic. 

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

Moving to and from North 

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.



Image shows session title and a graphic depiction of antlers and a compass rose

Assembling the Valuable and Vulnerable North 

Plastic pollution is now found in the most remote parts of the world, including the Arctic. Plastic is on the seabed, inside the stomachs of marine life, in rivers, on glaciers, and increasingly within the food chain. Amongst many other negative impacts, plastic pollution is a concern for human health, whether ingested through the food chain or leaching of chemicals in water.

The image shows the text "Plastic Pollution, Priorities and Perspectives in the Arctic" The illustration shows a bottle inside a compass.

Plastic Pollution, Priorities and Perspectives in the Arctic 

Through diverse engagements with nature resource extraction and ecological vulnerability in the contemporary Arctic, contributors to this session welcome visions of resource regimes from both inside and outside the Arctic. The main themes are geopolitical (balancing new and traditional ways of seeing nature), adaptation (future scenarios of the climate region), technology (technical applications to data management) and energy (the future of oil and gas).

We know that climate change is happening and why, but there is a lack of action, only reaction. Simultaneously, global developments in geopolitics, security, and green transition force the Arctic to react.

The Arctic has bountiful resources and a strategic location, both of global significance. But what does it take to incite proactive measures? We need justified actions, considering all voices, so that the Arctic can offer a solution. There are many opportunities, but can we pursue them all? We need to act now on climate change, biodiversity, and health, to name just a few, but also prepare for future consequences. Are we so immersed in putting out the fires that we have lost the driver’s seat? How can we take control of the situation and ensure we are acting and not solely reacting?


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