18 March 2015 - 19 March 2015
High Tech Center HTC & Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland

Arctic Futures Initiative (AFI) - Advisory Board Meeting

IIASA Arctic Futures Initiative (AFI) has held its latest Advisory Board Meeting in Helsinki, Finland.


The aim of the meeting was to consult with the meeting participants in the planning phase of the AFI, to start discussions of a potential joint project and work on concrete steps moving forward. A smaller group of the meeting participants also discussed concrete coordination and implementation of the initiative in its planning phase.

The meeting worked on looking at the possible connections of the Arctic Futures Initiative with three Arctic Council (AC) Working Groups, the AC project Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic (AACA), and revisiting the plans of the newly established Arctic Economic Council (AEC) for collaboration between business and research communities. The meeting also included the views of the Senior Arctic Official level of the Arctic Council.

Several issues were brought up during the meeting, for example the uncertainties in development of the Artic in relation to global economic developments, potential new balance to the global energy cycle affecting the Arctic, large uncertainties based on natural and regional variability as well as uncertainties in global developments, need for risk assessments and risk management under a warming climate. There are requests for, as examples, quantitative results in relation to the economic development for various sectors of importance in the Arctic, integrated assessment tools and modeling for the Arctic, integrated socio-economic models on uncertainties, a sustained assessment process, policy prescriptive research and indicators for decision makers, network building among research, policy and business communities working on the Arctic. Rigorous science-based information and plausible scenarios on the futures of the Arctic are needed.

The meeting started with a special seminar “The Arctic Policy of the European Union” with presentations by Professor Heikki Mannila (President of the Academy of Finland), Dr. Erkki Tuomioja (Minister for Foreign Affairs), H.E. Hannu Halinen (Ambassador, former Senior Arctic Official to the Arctic Council) and Ms. Zuzana Bieniuk (Arctic Cooperation Policy Officer, European External Action Service). The seminar was organized in honor of H.E. Hannu Halinen, Co-Chair of AFI Advisory Board and Special Advisor to the IIASA Director General and Chief Executive Officer.

Start: 9:30, Wednesday, 18 March
Finish: 16:00, Thursday, 19 March 

Meeting Participants

The AFI meeting participants included representatives from Arctic Council (AC) Senior Arctic Official level, three (out of six) AC Working Groups, AC related projects, policy and scientific representatives: 

• Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP)

• Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Working Group (CAFF)

• Arctic Contaminants Program (ACAP)

• Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic (AACA)

• Arctic Resilience Report (ARR)

• Arctic Economic Council (AEC)

• International Arctic Science Committee (IASC)

• U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC)

• Expert Council of Russian Scientific Foundation

• World Wildlife Foundation (WWF)

• Center for Science Diplomacy, American Association for the Advancement of Science

• Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

• International Department of the Parliament of Finland

• Finnish Prime Minister’s Office

• Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs

• Finnish Ministry of the Environment Research


Institutions involved in the meeting were:

• Geophysical Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences

• Advanced Science Research Center, City University of New York

• Polar Research Institute of China

• Research Council of Norway

• Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

• Stockholm Environment Institute

• University of Lapland

• Finnish Meteorological Institute

• Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)

• University of Helsinki, Pan-Eurasian Experiment, PEEX project



List of Participants

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Last edited: 26 June 2019


A new IIASA flagship initiative will bring a holistic systems perspective to the Arctic.

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