Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in the Arctic

Organized by: Polar Research and Policy Initiative and the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs 14. September 2017

When we think or talk about the Arctic in the world at large, we often focus on themes such as rising temperatures, melting ice caps, thawing permafrost and threatened polar bear populations. This is entirely understandable, and our concern is wholly legitimate; yet, it neglects the critical human dimension and, thus, paints an incomplete picture of the Arctic.

Saturday, October 14, 11:20 - 12:20
Location: Silfurberg, Second Level


The Arctic, unlike the Antarctic, is home to Indigenous and Northern peoples whose lives and livelihoods are affected by the changes around them and who have needs, challenges and aspirations like any other. In fact, all 17 SDGs are relevant to the Arctic, and it is only the lexicon of the SDGs that can capture in the most holistic manner the issues faced by peoples across the circumpolar North. Through this session, we hope to encourage policymakers, academics and journalists to integrate more effectively within their Arctic discourse and agenda a focus on the SDGs, whereby climate security remains an integral goal, but without an accompanying neglect of issues such as energy, food and water security, as well as access to education, healthcare, employment, housing, transport, infrastructure and telecommunication.


  • Sturla Sigurjónsson, Permanent secretary of state, Iceland: the Opening Address
  • Aleqa Hammond, Former Premier of Greenland
  • Tony Penikett, Former Premier of Yukon
  • María Mjöll Jónsdóttir, Director on UN Affairs and Gender Equality, Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Iceland)
  • Mitchell White, Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship Alumni, Gordon Foundation (Canada)
  • Heather Nicol, Professor, Trent University (Canada)
  • Timo Koivurova, Director and Research Professor, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland (Finland)
  • Jeremy Rayner, University of Saskatchewan (Canada)
  • Dwayne Ryan Menezes, Director, Polar Research and Policy Initiative (UK): Closing Address


Dalee Sambo Dorough, Former Chair of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; Associate Professor, University of Alaska Fairbanks