The ArcticFutures2050 conference was planned as “a novel conference of Arctic scientists, Indigenous Peoples, and policy makers jointly exploring the knowledge needed to inform decisions concerning the Arctic in coming decades.” Livestreams of the plenary sessions as well as further meeting materials are available at https://www.searcharcticscience.org/arctic-2050/conference-2019.
Focused around panel discussions, many notable and nuanced points were made regarding how to inform decision-making in envisioning the future of the Arctic. A consistent refrain was “Nothing About Us Without Us” – the concept that research and decisions about and impacting the Arctic should not be conceived, conducted, or used without early, ongoing, and meaningful collaboration and co-production of knowledge with Indigenous and local communities. Regarding Indigenous knowledge, it was emphasized not to equate or mischaracterize knowledge systems to confirm each other; they should be use in a complementary fashion to achieve a shared aim.
Frustration was also expressed by Arctic residents and policy makers identifying the best and latest scientific information to inform decisions. One speaker noted that this is a symptom of the process of science living in dialog between researchers, constantly remaining skeptical and needing to acknowledge its shortcomings.
Ultimately, among all three communities, speakers came back to the importance of remembering that we are all humans. Many speakers stressed that no matter who we are, human factors – like trust, compassion, and respect - must underlie building relationships which will impact the future of the Arctic.
The IASC Cryosphere and Social & Human Working Groups supported international participation in this event, and IASC also presented a poster with information about IASC’s work facilitating connections in the international Arctic Science Community to this audience.