The Arctic Council has approved a new project for assessing resilience in the Arctic. Stockholm Resilience Centre and Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) will lead the study that will look at how social and ecological changes interact and the capacities that are available for coping.
"We know that considerable environmental change can result in abrupt shifts that may fundamentally and irreversibly change conditions for human societies. The Arctic Resilience Report will provide a science-based assessment of the risks of crossing such disastrous tipping points in the Arctic," says centre director Johan Rockström.
Rapid change on various levels
The Arctic is changing so rapidly and in so many ways that dramatic changes to ecosystems and the lives of people in the region can be expected. Climate change is the most cited concern but other environmental changes along with rapid social and economic developments are happening at the same time. These can affect key concerns for human well-being such as food security.
The project builds on collaboration with other Arctic countries and the indigenous peoples in the region.
"It is important for the Saami communities to better understand the interactions of drivers to change, and how to adapt to changes that in some cases can become dramatic for our livelihoods, our economies and our culture. An important question is also how our traditional knowledge can contribute to resilience," says Gunn-Britt Retter, head of the Arctic and Environmental Unit in the Saami Council.
The project will also identify strategies for governments and communities to adapt and transform in the face of change.
"This project is a priority for the Swedish chairmanship because it connects in a useful way knowledge about the Arctic to decision making," says Ambassador Gustaf Lind, chair of the Senior Arctic Officials of the Arctic Council.