2016 Breakout Sessions

Sunday, October 9th, 16:30–18:30

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

Sustainable Regional Development in the Nordic Arctic

Organized by Nordregio (12. September 2016)

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

Location: Ríma A, Harpa First Level

The Breakout session will focus on the main findings and results from the project Foresight Analysis for Sustainable Regional Development in the Nordic Arctic, commissioned by the Nordic Working Group for Sustainable Regional Development in the Arctic.


The purpose of the project has been to assess opportunities and challenges for sustainable regional development in the Nordic Arctic and to identify future development perspectives. This provides more comprehensive knowledge, and input for development of the Nordic Arctic policy. A foresight analysis has been carried out in three stages with participation from communities, regions and national authorities. Through a series of workshops the participants contributed with their perspectives on potentials and challenges for future sustainable regional development in the Nordic Arctic. The objective of this process is to create a foundation for action, focusing on the opportunities that become evident from the analyses.

Photo by Mia Bennett / Cryopolitics


  • Anna Karlsdóttir, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio: Bringing the message through from dialogues in local regions to national and Interregional policy level.
  • Leneisja Jungsberg, Research Fellow at Nordregio: Community involvement and youth perspectives on the future in the Nordic Arctic.
  • "New business opportunities – bio-economy, tourism and creative industries in the Nordic Arctic."
    • Lise Smed Olsen, Research Fellow at Nordregio
    • Anna Berlina, Research Fellow at Nordregio
  • Tim Heleniak, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio: Newcomers to the North: International Migration into the Arctic.

High North Atlantic Shipping and Trade

Organized by Ramboll, Eimskip, Maine Port Authority, Troms County Council (26. August 2016)

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

Location: Esja, Harpa Fifth Level


  • Sara Pálsdóttir, Key Account Manager, Eimskip
  • John Henshaw, CEO, Maine Port Authority
  • Gunnar Davíðsson, Department Manager, Troms County Council


  • Nils Arne Johnsen, Arctic Director, Ramboll

Arctic Security: (Re)Defining the New Nexus of Arctic Security – Resources, Energy, the Environment, Climate Change, Regional Development and Regional Security Complexes

Organized by the Thematic Network on Geopolitics and Security (26. August 2016)

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

LocationBjörtuloft, Harpa Fifth Level

This session will discuss on the one hand, special features of Arctic security such as environmental security and how climate change could test theories of resource competition, and on the other hand, it will reveal the scalar politics of Arctic security.


The Thematic Network (TN) on Geopolitics and Security will, again, organize an international academic expert panel on “Security of the Arctic” including three breakout sessions with themes from theorizing and unilateralizing Arctic security and national security and military policies to redefining the new nexus of Arctic security. Security will be discussed theoretically and holistically from many angles and disciplinary approaches, as well as in global, national, regional and pan-Arctic contexts. Each session will accommodate 4-5 speakers from all over the Arctic region, among them are Jonathan Markowitz from the USA, Annika Nilsson from Sweden, Alexander Sergunin from Russia.

The session "(Re)Defining the New Nexus of Arctic Security – Resources, Energy, the Environment, Climate Change, Regional Development and Regional Security Complexes" will also discuss whether the Arctic could be considered as a regional Security Complex. Finally, Arctic marine governance will be discussed via two sub-regions, the Barents Sea area and the Pacific North.


  • Maria Lagutina, Professor, St. Petersburg State University: Environmental Conflicts in the Arctic: a Myth or Reality?
  • Jonathan N. Markowitz, Assistant Professor, School of International Relations, University of Southern California: Arctic Shock: Utilizing Climate Change to Test Theories of Resource Competition
  • Barbora Padrtová, PhD Student, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic: The Arctic Regional Security Complex? From Theory to Reality
  • “The Scalar Politics of Arctic Security”:
    • Annika E. Nilsson, Senior Research Fellow, Stockholm Environment Institute; Affiliated Faculty, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
    • Miyase Christensen, Professor of Media and Communicaiton Studies, Stockholm University; Guest Professor, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
  • Rasmus Bertelsen, Professor, University of Tromsø – Norway’s Arctic University: Two Cases of Arctic Marine Governance in the International System: the Barents Sea and the Pacific Arctic

Moderator: Lassi Heininen, Professor, University of Lapland, Finland

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

The North Atlantic Energy Network

Organized by the Nordic Atlantic Cooperation (NORA) committee of the Nordic Council of Ministers and Bellona (26. August 2016)

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

Location: Akrafjall, Harpa Fourth Level

Growing global energy demand has contributed to the increasing interest in the Arctic, mostly due to its oil and gas resources. However, the Arctic also has an abundance of underutilized renewable energy sources such as wind, thermal, hydro and tidal, which lacks the infrastructure necessary for export.


The subsea cable technology required to build interconnectors in the North Atlantic already exists. The IceLink project, a proposed subsea cable between Iceland and the UK, is conceptually the most advanced initiative in a North Atlantic context, and earlier this year, the National Energy Authority of Iceland published a report on a potential North Atlantic Energy Network. A sister publication, funded by NORA, is expected shortly.

The realization of subsea cable projects in the North Atlantic will be expensive and depend on political decisions, both in the North Atlantic and in Europe. Arctic Circle 2016 would be an ideal arena to discuss the green energy potential and the political and economic benefits and challenges of a North Atlantic Energy Network. With the ongoing green energy acceleration, it is interesting and timely, particularly in a post-Paris context, to highlight the potential role the Arctic as a green battery for Europe.


  • Erla Björk Þorgeirsdóttir, Project Manager, Orkustofnun – National Energy Authority, Iceland: Key Findings: North Atlantic Energy Network 1.
  • Björgvin Skúli Sigurðsson, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Business Development, Landsvirkjun – National Power Company, Iceland: IceLink Benefits and Challenges.
  • Meinhard Eliasen, Energy Adviser, Faroese Energy Authority: The Faroese Connection: Benefits and Challenges.
  • Sigurd Enge, Manager, Shipping, Marine and the Arctic, the Bellona Foundation, Norway: Renewable Energy and Grid Development in the Arctic: the Svalbard Case.
  • Anders Kofoed-Wiuff, Partner, Ea Energy Analysis, Denmark: the Role of Interconnectors in the Low Carbon Transition
  • Magni Laksáfoss, Managing Director, VITorka: An Economist’s View on Utilising Green Energy in Faroe Islands


  • Bogi Bech Jensen, Professor of Energy Engineering; President of Glasir – Tórshavn College, Faroe Islands


  • Angus MacNeil, MP, Chair of Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change, House of Commons, UK
  • Guðni A. Jóhannesson, Director General, Orkustofnun – National Energy Authority, Iceland
  • Magni Laksafoss, Economic Analyst and MP, Faroe Islands
  • Anders Kofoed-Wiuff, Partner, Ea Energy Analysis, Denmark Frederic Haug, Founder and President, Bellona, Norway

Cold Climate Technologies for Sustainable Arctic Communities

Organized by the United States Department of Commerce, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Institute of the North (26. August 2016)

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

Location: Skarðsheiði, Harpa Third Level

This session will survey some of the environmental challenges and key technologies that are critical to advancements in the Arctic across multiple sectors, with a special focus on improving access to quality housing in the Arctic.


Speakers will look at how products can be deployed in the extreme temperature and weather and across vast distances for community development, commercial and residential development, scientific research, safety and rescue, and environmental preservation. Participants will examine data, energy, new cold-climate technologies, and what research and development challenges remain.

A portion of the panel be devoted to particular implications for housing policies, which includes the increased need for heating fuel and its high costs in the North. Residents in Arctic regions live in harsh climatic conditions but do not always have centralized access to heating, high quality housing materials or proper insulation. In addition, these regions are increasingly affected by climate change. A number of initiatives focusing on environmental sustainability of communities, energy efficiency and renewable energy generation have emerged in recent years. A key question today is how to scale up these initiatives to ensure they are making a difference in the life of Arctic communities. This panel will present new research on sustainable housing in the Arctic with a focus on design, management, financing, enabling policies and implementation. Speakers will examine the role of governments, experts, communities and other stakeholders in scaling-up best practices and innovative solutions.


  • Gwen Holdmann, Director, Alaska Center for Energy & Power: Lab Services for Remote Micro Grid Technology & Deployment.
  • Larry Cash, FAIA NCARB, President and CEO, RIM Architects of Alaska: Designing for the Arctic Environment.
  • Elizabeth Pierce, CEO, Quintillion Networks: The Role of Data in Development, Both Community and Commercial
  • Nils Andreassen, Executive Director, Institute of the North: Lessons Learned from Alaskan Experience: A Review of Best Practices
  • Suzanne Cassolato, Research Engineer, Natural Resources Canada: Integrating Innovative Technologies into Shelters for Remote Northern Locations
  • Alec Khachatrian, Consultant, IISD: Barriers and Best Practices for Sustainable Housing Delivery Models
  • Lars Nelson, Vice President of UIC Lands, Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation: Infrastructure in the Alaskan Arctic - Barrow, Alaska


  • Mead Treadwell, President, PT Capital
  • Melissa Harris, Senior Researcher, IISD

Arctic High Seas - Building Common Interests in the Arctic Ocean

Organized by Arctic Options (16. August 2016)

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

Location: Kaldalón, Harpa First Level

The session aims to facilitate international, interdisciplinary and inclusive dialogue to build common interests in the Arctic high seas with regard to fishing, shipping, scientific research and area protection in context of the law of the sea.


The discussion points include:

  • Water Column Beyond National Jurisdictions
  • Research in the Central Arctic Ocean
  • Potential Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean
  • Potential Transpolar Trade Route
  • Potential Area Protection in the Central Arctic Ocean


  • Kristina M. Gjerde, J.D., Senior High Seas Advisor, International Union for Conservation for Nature, United States
  • Christine Provost, Senior Scientist, Laboratoire d'Océanographie et du Climat, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France
  • Joji Morishita, Professor, Department of Marine Policy and Culture; Head, Japanese delegation to A5+5 Meeting on High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Japan
  • Alexander N. Vylegzhanin, Director, International Law Programme, MGIMO University, Russian Federation
  • Eero Hokkanen, Communications Manager, Arctia Ltd., Finland


  • Paul Arthur Berkman,  Professor Practice in Science Diplomacy, Tufts University, United States; Director, Arctic Futures Initiative, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
  • Oran R. Young, Professor Emeritus, University of California Santa Barbara, United States

Polar Law: the Law of the Sea - Navigation

Organized by the University of Akureyri (15. August 2016)

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

Location: Háaloft, Harpa Eighth Level

This session assesses the legal norms pertaining to shipping in the Arctic.


It addresses, inter alia, domestic implementation of the Polar Code; the extent of States’ rights to govern international navigation according to the law of the sea; States’ management of new challenges from cruise ships; and the relationship between the rights of Coastal States and Flag States in the negotiations leading to the Polar Code, with emphasis on the ambiguous status of article 234.


  • Alexander Sergunin, Professor of International Relations, St. Petersburg State University: Implementing the IMO’s Polar Code: the Case of Russia.
  • Valery Konyshev, Professor of International Relations at the St. Petersburg State University: International legal status of the Northern Sea Route: Discussions in the Western and Russian Expert Communities
  • Suzanne Lalonde, Professor of Law, University of Montreal: Cruising the Northwest Passage: What Can We Learn from the Management of the Crystal Serenity Voyage
  • Dorottya Bognar, PhD Candidate, UiT – The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø: The “Elephant in the Room”: Article 234 of the Law of the Sea Convention and the Polar Code as an Incompletely Theorized Agreement.


  • Timo Koivurova, Professor of Law, Director of the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland