2016 Breakout Sessions

Saturday, October 8th, 14:30–15:30

Breakout Sessions are organized by the respective partners of the Arctic Circle, organizations, institutions, companies, think tanks, universities, or other bodies.

Collaboration and Partnership: The Future of Arctic News Media

Organized by Alaska Dispatch News (26. September 2016)

Saturday, October 8, 14:30-15:30

Location: Eyri, Harpa Second Level

The Arctic presents unique challenges for news organizations seeking to cover it, but also unprecedented opportunities for innovation and collaboration.


In this session, representatives from several circumpolar news organizations will discuss their approach to news coverage—and unveil an exciting new Arctic media partnership. This interactive session will also provide a forum for discussion among participants and attendees about how important Arctic stories are covered and how to pitch story ideas and opinion pieces.


  • Arne Holm, Editor-in-Chief, High North News
  • Thomas Nilsen, Editor, The Independent Barents Observer
  • Atle Staalesen, General Director, The Independent Barents Observer
  • Kevin McGwin, Journalist, The Arctic Journal
  • Krestia DeGeorge, News Editor, Alaska Dispatch News


  • Alice Rogoff, Publisher, Alaska Dispatch News

Singapore and the Arctic: Partnership Between Academia and Business Through Research & Innovation

Organized by Keppel Offshore & Marine (26. August 2016)

Saturday, October 8, 14:30-15:30

Location: Stemma, Harpa First Level



  • Yeong Wai Seng, Senior Business Development Manager, Keppel Singmarine: Sustainable Living and Development for Local Communities.
  • Chow Yean Khow, Professor, Executive Director, Keppel-NUS Corporate Laboratory: Partnership among Academia, Industry and Government for Arctic Research
  • Peter Noble, Technology Consultant, Keppel Offshore & Marine Technology Centre: Technology Research Requirements to Support Sustainable and  Environmentally Acceptable Developments in the Arctic.
  • Anis Hussain, General Manager, Marine Technology Development and Project Director/Deepwater Technology, KOMtechBuilding Capability through Innovation: Experiences in Technology Development.

Arctic Council: Scorecard for Conservation Results

Organized by the WWF Arctic Programme (26. August 2016)

Saturday, October 8, 14:30-15:30

Location: Kaldalón, Harpa First Level

Over the course of 20 years of circumpolar cooperation, the Arctic Council (AC) has delivered multiple landmark assessments of the current and likely future state of the Arctic. These consensually negotiated documents were often accompanied by nonbinding policy recommendations that were approved by biennial ministerial meetings.


WWF is producing an Arctic Council Conservation Scorecard that provides a snapshot of the status of implementation of Arctic Council direction (ministerial decisions contained in ministerial declarations, policy recommendations, guidelines, framework plans, and agreements).

The scorecard evaluates implementation progress from the Salekhard ministerial meeting (2006) to the Kiruna ministerial meeting (2013). It looks at the extent to which:

  • The Arctic States implemented endorsed Arctic Council direction within their respective national realms
  • The Arctic Council delivered agreed upon commitments through its own work

The scorecard will monitor progress, highlight successful progress, and the speed of implementation.


  • Marc-André Dubois, Advisor, External Relations, WWF Arctic Programme: WWF Scorecard Methodology.
  • Maya Gold, Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Canada
  • Arne Riedel, LLM, Rechtsanwalt (Lawyer); Fellow, Coordinator Arctic, Ecologic Institute: Policy in progress?
  • Alexander Sergunin, Professor, Saint-Petersburg State University


  • Alexander Shestakov, Director, WWF Arctic Programme

More Information

Arctic Societies of Well-being

Organized by the University of Iceland (26. August 2016)

Saturday, October 8, 14:30-15:30

Location: Esja, Harpa Fifth Level

In this session, suggested sustainable well-being indicators that have been proposed will be presented. Light will be cast on on natural resource exploitation and opportunities for young people having hope for the future.


During the 20th century, gross domestic product (GDP) became the key parameter to distinguish successful countries from unsuccessful ones, determining global economic policies and also status. This has led us to the global warming predicament we are in now. There is therefore a need to foster a development model focusing on human and ecological wellbeing, rather than narrowly defined economic output.

Facilitated discussion will be run on the importance a new development paradigm, where the wellbeing of people and the environment of the Arctic are at the forefront. The outcome of the discussion will be summarized and sent out to the participants, so that they can use the knowledge gained back home in their communities.


  • Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir, Professor of Sustainability Science, University of Iceland
  • Alan AtKisson, President & CEO, AtKisson Group, Sweden

    Arctic University Cities

    Organized by the Centre for Arctic Policy Studies (CAPS) at University of Iceland and the Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø (25. August 2016)

    Saturday, October 8, 14:30-15:30

    Location: Ríma A, Harpa First Level

    Cities play a crucial role in fighting climate change given the fact that urban activity accounts for around 80% of global energy consumption and CO2 emissions.


    In order to meet commitments made by city leaders during and after the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP), various non-state actors need to be brought together in a sharing of knowledge, experiences and best practices to develop and implement innovative solutions, with representatives from the authorities, academia and business. In this perspective, Arctic university cities make an interesting case as they are often isolated, dependent on natural resources and particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change. 


    • Mara Kimmel, Senior Fellow at the Institute of the North, Alaska
    • Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen, Professor of Northern Studies and Barents Chair in Politics, University of Tromsø, the Arctic University of Norway (UiT)


    • Anne Husbekk, Rector at University of Tromsø, the Arctic University of Norway (UiT)
    • Dagur B. Eggertsson, Mayor, City of Reykjavík
    • Guðbjörg Linda Rafnsdóttir, Pro-Rector of Science, University of Iceland
    • Daði Már Kristófersson, Dean of the School of Social Science, University of Iceland
    • Hege Kallbekken, MA Student in Political Science, UiT The Arctic University of Norway


    • Margrét Cela, Project Manager, Centre for Arctic Policy Studies, University of Iceland

    How to Connect with Arctic Research Across Boundaries

    Organized by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (25. August 2016)

    Saturday, October 8, 14:30-15:30

    Location: Háaloft, Harpa Eighth Level

    Arctic research spans disciplinary, institutional, national, and sector boundaries in pursuit of improved understanding and decision making for this vital region.  In order to work effectively across these boundaries, it is important to focus on effective communication, coordination, and collaboration. 


    This interactive session will explore what is being done, and what could be done, to bridge boundaries and advance research. For example, ARCUS is an international organization that connects across boundaries through the Sea Ice Prediction Network, Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH), and PolarTREC programs, among others.  The session is designed to inform those engaged in research, decision-makers interested in a more effective research enterprise, and others interested in better understanding of the Arctic.


    • Robert Rich, Executive Director, Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S.: Connecting Arctic Research Across Boundaries
    • Fran Ulmer, Chair, U.S. Arctic Research Commission: Setting Arctic Research Priorities within the U.S.
    • Maribeth S. Murray, Executive Director, Arctic Institute of North America and Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Calgary: A Binational Organization Advancing Arctic Research
    • Volker Rachold, Executive Secretary of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC): Identifying Priorities for International Arctic Research
    • Peter Schmidt Mikkelsen, Lead Coordinator of Isaaffik Arctic Gateway: Connecting Arctic Research, Education, Consultancy and Logistics (within the Kingdom of Denmark)

    Korea and the Arctic

    Organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea, Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI), Korea Maritime Institute (KMI), and the National Institute of Ecology (NIE) (24. August 2016)

    Saturday, October 8, 14:30-15:30

    Location: Skarðsheiði, Harpa Third Level

    This breakout session will consist of presentations on various aspects – international cooperation, scientific research, business opportunities and more – of the Republic of Korea’s activities in the Arctic.


    In addition to examining Korea’s Arctic policy through a range of activities in different fields, this session aims to diversify the perspectives represented at the Arctic Circle Assembly by including non-Arctic regions in Arctic dialogue.


    • Kim Chan-Woo, Ambassador for Arctic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Korea’s Contribution to a Sustainable Arctic Future.
    • Hyunkyo Seo, Director, KOPRI-NPI (Norwegian Polar Institute) Cooperative Polar Research Centre: Korea's Scientific Research Activities in the Arctic and Future Plans in the Arctic.
    • Kim Jong Deog, Director General, Korea Maritime Institute (KMI): Korea's Partnership Enhancement with Working Groups and TFs of the Arctic Council.
    • Kang Sung-Ryong, Senior Researcher, National Institute of Ecology (NIE): Korea’s Contribution to the Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI) of the Arctic Council.

    Arctic Ocean Oil and Gas Exploration and Legal Liability

    Organized by the University of Iceland and the University of Akureyri (24. August 2016)

    Saturday, October 8, 14:30-15:30

    Location: Akrafjall, Harpa Fourth Level

    Drilling for hydrocarbons in the Arctic carries significant environmental risks. 


    Small States such as Iceland or a future independent Greenland that license hazardous activities such as offshore hydrocarbon activities are unlikely to be in a position to make full reparation in the event of a major environmental disaster.  This panel focus on i) how could such states make reparation in such cases in the context with limitations and impact on human rights ii) Design considerations for a liability regime reviewing Canada’s new regime in light of these considerations and iii) Insurance perspective on Arctic Ocean Oil and Gas exploration projects.


    • Aðalheiður Jóhannsdóttir, Professor of Law and Head of the Faculty of Law, University of Iceland


    • Rachael Lorna Johnstone, Professor of Law at University of Akureyri: Hazardous Activities, Small States and the Risk of Reparation
    • Nigel Bankes, Professor of Law at the University of Calgary: Design Considerations for a Liability and Financial Assurance Regime: Canada
    • Lára Jóhannsdóttir, Assistant Professor, Environment and Natural Resources. University of Iceland: Insurance perspective on Arctic Ocean Oil and Gas exploration projects

    Sensing the Arctic: Autonomous and Aubmersible Vehicles – Results, Opportunities and Good Governance

    Organized by the UK Arctic Office (funded by the Natural Environment Research Council) (24. August 2016)

    Saturday, October 8, 14:30-15:30

    Location: Norðurljós, Harpa Second Level

    The harshness of the Arctic environment can make research access to its seas and remote locations difficult. But rapid innovative technological development is increasingly enabling remotely operated and autonomous vehicles to make observations in the most challenging of environments. How do we make the best and safest use of this technology, whilst getting the right governance in place?


    Speakers will present the latest in autonomous technology; discuss the value of remote-access data and outline recent findings; show how to train the next generation of developers and operators; and consider the best practice in governance systems.

    This breakout session brings together practitioners, designers, researchers and developers, along with those looking at current and future regulatory challenges. It is relevant to a wide range of people interested in the present and future of autonomous and submersible vehicles in the Arctic, their operation and in developing innovative research.


    • Henry Burgess, Head, Arctic Office, Natural Environment Research Council, UK


    • Mark Inall, Director, Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society, Scottish Association for Maritime Science (SAMS)
    • Alberto Naveira, Director, Next Generation Unmanned Systems Science, University of Southampton: Training the next generation of environmental scientists in the use of Smart and Autonomous Observing Systems
    • Charlotte Marcinko, Research Scientist, University of Southampton: Insights into Arctic Oceanography from Submarine Sensors
    • Maaten Furlong, Head, Marine Autonomous & Robotic Systems Group, National Oceanography Centre

    The Central Highland: Brand Capital of Icelandic Nature

    Organized by Hálendið Iceland National Park in cooperation with the Icelandic Environment Association and Iceland Nature Conservation Association (16. August 2016)

    Saturday, October 8, 14:30-15:30

    Location: Ríma B, Harpa First Level

    Conservation of the Icelandic Central Highland is of great importance for the Arctic region. It is considered one of the greatest wilderness areas still remaining in Europe. 


    The aesthetic natural variety is unique: Glaciers, glacial rivers, glacially sculpted landscapes, barren plateaus with wide horizon and an endless view, colorful geothermal areas, natural freshwater springs, lava fields, steep and odd shaped mountains and mountain ridges including unique tuff ridges, permafrost areas, and beautifully colored tundra vegetation.

    The breakout session will touch on the following topics that highlight the importance of conserving the unparalleled characteristics of the Icelandic Central Highland in relation to its Arctic location and its importance as such:

    • The natural value and the multiple natural phenomena of the area.
    • The link between sustainable tourism and conservation in the area.
    • How the pure image of the area benefits Iceland’s economy and society at large as the brand capital of Icelandic nature.


    • Þóra Ellen Þórhallsdóttir, Professor of Botany, University of Iceland; Chairperson of the Institute of Life and Environmental Sciences: Why All the Fuss? Biological Values in the Central Highland
    • Peter Prokosch, Founder and Chairman of the Board, Linking Tourism & Conservation (LT&C): The Icelandic Highlands - an Arctic Wilderness
    • Oliver Luckett, CEO, Revilo Park: The Brand of Iceland and its Connection to Nature and Sustainability

    Arctic Rotary Connections: Rotary, It’s about Life!

    Organized by Rotary International (15. August 2016)

    Saturday, October 8, 14:30-15:30

    Location: Sæbjörg S&R Vessel

    Join us with our third Rotary Breakout session. Rotary is about community, local and world wide. We are the Rotarians of the Arctic, working to build our northern neighborhood. We live, work and play in the Arctic, our home. And, we are a service non-profit organization.


    During this breakout we will join together to discuss this year, “what's next”? We all see the the changes in nature, the weather and even the economy up here. Let’s discuss what these changes mean now, and for our future. Let’s build our northern neighborhood. All are welcome, Rotarians, residents of the north, all interested in the Arctic and what is next! How are we facing these changes? Rotary, It’s about life! (And Rotarians, this counts as a make-up!)


    • Joseph Davis, Vice President, ConsultNorth; Anchorage Rotary Club
    • Sandra Medearis, Nome Rotary Club
    • Elizabeth Shea, Alaska Nanuuq Commission; Chair for the New Generation Committee for Anchorage Downtown Rotary

    Renewable Energy Development in the Arctic: Circumpolar Projects that Advance Knowledge Sharing

    Organized by the Institute of the North (15. August 2016)

    Saturday, October 8, 14:30-15:30

    Location: Main Hall, Þjóðmenningarhúsið (National Centre for Cultural Heritage)

    The Arctic region as a whole is a global leader in renewable energy development, however most development has occurred at the national or regional level with little pan-Arctic engagement. 


    As a result, stakeholders from around the Arctic have indicated a need to share scientific data, best practices, research results, and local knowledge to encourage adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency strategies that take advantage of the lessons learned and expertise gained across the region. A number of high-level projects are underway that will promote science-based decision making as well as encourage clean energy development. This session highlights some of these initiatives led by partners from the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group, Arctic Fulbright Initiative program, Institute of the North, Alaska Center for Energy and Power, and the World Wildlife Fund. These projects are designed to 1) create an online pan-Arctic atlas of renewable energy resources and development and complimentary tool for knowledge sharing; 2) develop a guide of best practices for remote community renewable energy integration and efficiency; and 3) build training and knowledge-sharing opportunities to increase capacity within Arctic regions, with a special emphasis on the unique challenges of remote energy systems in off-grid communities. 


    • Greg Poelzer, Executive Chair of ICNGD;  Professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan: Renewable and Remote Energy Development in the Arctic: An Arctic Fulbright Initiative.
    • George Roe, Adjunct Research Professor, University of Alaska at Fairbanks; Program Manager, Arctic Remote Energy Networks Academy (ARENA), UAF: An SDWG Project – Arctic Remote Energy Network Academy.
    • Nils Andreassen, Project Manager, Institute of the North: Arctic Renewable Energy Atlas: An SDWG Project for Renewable Energy Data Visualization
    • Anne Mette Erlandsson Christiansen, Renewable Energy Program Director, WWF Sweden: Supporting Renewable Energy Development in Alaska, Greenland, Canada and Russia: A Project of WWF.


    • Nils Andreassen, Executive Director, Institute of the North

    Book Launch: Antarctica, the Battle for the Seventh Continent

    Book by Doaa Abdel-Motaal (15. August 2016)

    Saturday, October 8, 14:30-15:30

    Location: Hafnarkot, Harpa First Level

    This session launches the book Antarctica, The Battle for the Seventh Continent, written by Doaa Abdel-Motaal, and published by Praeger in September 2016.


    The book argues that the Antarctic Treaty System needs to be dismantled and Antarctica divided up based on the Svalbard model of governance.  The ban on mining in the Antarctic Treaty System comes up for review in 2048, and with the rapidly warming Antarctic Peninsula that now enjoys the same climate as Greenland, the book discusses the need to take pre-emptive action in dividing up the continent rather than await disorderly outcomes. The occupation of Antarctica, the exploitation of its mineral resources, and the transfer of climate refugees to the continent are amongst the key themes of the book.  Of the book, the former Prime Minister of Greenland, Aleqa Hammond has written: "A thought-provoking book on the potential occupation of the seventh continent. In it, I have sent a message to the future population of Antarctica: 'Decide your own destiny and your own future… You will have your own life, you will live there, and you should be the ones to decide.'


    • Doaa Abdel-Motaal, Author


    • Aleqa Hammond, Former Prime Minister of Greenland and Member of Danish Parliament 
    • Sven Olof Lindblad, CEO, Lindblad Expeditions


    • Martin Breum, Journalist and author