Climate Refugees, Diaspora and Tourism in the North Atlantic Gateway to the Arctic

Organized by the Northgate network and the Centre for Arctic Policy Studies (CAPS) at the University of Iceland 26. August 2016

Sunday, October 9, 16:30-18:30

Location: Ríma B, Harpa First Level

The effects of climate change include unforeseen, and hitherto underrepresented, changes in human mobility within and into the Arctic through tourism, industries and migration.

These factors create new challenges to governance and the well-being of local communities, as well as enhance the danger of over-exploiting the sensitive vegetation and animal life of Arctic and sub-Arctic areas. This panel will discuss dimensions of these emerging challenges such as adapting infrastructure and the legal environment to increased mobility, the ambiguous status of climate refugees, local views on cohabiting with tourists and the attraction of Arctic and ‘green tourism’ in many middle class populations of the world, including Asia. Discussions will focus on the West-Nordic/North Atlantic context and the Northgate network’s goals of providing policy-relevant knowledge and creating a communication platform between academics, policy makers and local communities.


  • Kristinn Schram, Assistant Professor in Ethnology, University of Iceland: The Northgate Network: Sociocultural Aspects of Climate Change.
  • Lau Øfjord Blaxekjær, Assistant Professor and Programme Director, University of the Faroe Islands: How Can West Nordic Diplomacy Respond to the Pressures from Climate Change, Migration, and New Business Opportunities?
  • Erna Kristín Blöndal, Director, Nordic Institute for Migration: Fleeing Because of Climate Change – Environmental Factors and Migration.
  • Guðrún Þóra Gunnarsdóttir, Director, Icelandic Tourism Research Centre: Sharing Space with Tourism.
  • Marc Lanteigne, Senior Research Fellow, NUPI: Suitcase Diplomacy: Soft Power and Asian Tourism in the Arctic.


  • Kristinn Schram, Assistant Professor in Ethnology, University of Iceland; Academic Coordinator, Northgate