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Arctic Booms and Busts: The Local Dimension of Industrial Megaprojects

Organized by the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (NUMGE) 17. October 2015

In the last decade, key actors have forecast a new industrial era in the Arctic regions. Today, the rhetoric is somewhat different. A stoop in the price of natural resources has brought the most optimistic scenarios into question.

Many megaprojects face an uncertain future, as do the host communities. A booming economy creates a wide range of opportunities, even as it gives rise to challenges such aslack of housing and power imbalances. When a bust replaces the boom, new issues arise. However, discussion about how affected local governments and civil societies might cope with these rapid changes is not yet present in Arctic forums.

In this break-out session, you will meet individuals with first-hand experience of the local opportunities and challenges that follow both booms and busts in Arctic regions. You will also meet politicians who deal with these issues at a national level.

Speakers:

  • Frode Bjørgo, Ph.D Student, University of Nordland, Norway: Mind the governance gap! Arctic municipalities and megaprojects.
  • Anna Kumpula-Kostet, Chairman of the Social Welfare Board of Pajala, Sweden: The Heyday and the Mayday of Pajala – Northlands rise and fall.
  • Caroline Lund, Norwegian Supreme Court attorney: Mining for society or company? Municipal challenges
  • Sara Olsvig, Leader of the Inuit Ataqatigiit Party; MP, Inatsisartut (Greenlandic Parliament): Small scale - Big impact. The need for alternatives to large-scale projects.
  • Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, Member of the Icelandic Parliament: Opportunities and risks; how to find the road between?

Chair:

  • Bente Aasjord, The Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (NUMGE)

Moderator:

  • Bård Borch Michalsen, High North Center for Business and Governance