In lead up to its 35th anniversary in 2025, the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) is coordinating a multi-year planning process for the Fourth International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP IV) that will engage Arctic researchers, policy makers, residents and stakeholders from around the world to collegially discuss the state of Arctic science, the place the Arctic occupies in global affairs and systems, to consider the most urgent knowledge gaps and research priorities that lie before us and to explore avenues to address these research needs.
The first ICARP was convened in Hanover New Hampshire, USA in 1995, implementing the IASC Founding Articles’ call for IASC to host such a conference periodically in order to “review the status of Arctic science, provide scientific and technical advice, and promote cooperation and links with other national and international organizations.” Since then, it has been the role of IASC to coordinate this important meeting every decade. ICARP II was held in Copenhagen in 2005 and developed twelve forward-looking science plans and resulted in several follow-up international projects and programs, mostly within the framework of the International Polar Year 2007-2008. ICARP III was in Toyama Japan in 2015 and provided a framework to further the development of cross-cutting, interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary initiatives for advancing Arctic research cooperation and applications for Arctic knowledge. The IASC Strategic Plan (2018 – 2023) builds on the key priorities and overarching messages of ICARP III.
For ICARP IV, a process initiating in 2022 will culminate at the ICARP conference to be convened in Boulder Colorado, USA in 2025, hosted by a consortium of US institutions, including the University of Colorado Boulder, University of Northern Iowa, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Alaska Pacific University. ICARP I, II, and III focused the attention of the world’s researchers toward the value of strategic international coordination in accelerating progress in addressing critical challenges. ICARP IV will build upon this concept by striving to achieve consensus and build collaborations among the leading scientific, academic, environmental, Indigenous and political organizations currently concerned with Arctic issues.
The ICARP IV process during 2022 to 2025 must be well planned and coordinated with other ongoing international activities. ICARP IV will identify important research questions and priorities that cut across disciplines and knowledge systems, and that require new and innovative thinking and collaboration. ICARP IV will develop a vision for implementation and science plans for addressing these priorities. An integral aspect of the ICARP IV will be the inclusion of early career scientists, Indigenous Peoples, and local residents in the development of priorities and science plans to address the key questions.