The Synthesis is aimed at policymakers and other leaders who are concerned with strengthening people’s capacity to effectively navigate rapid, substantial, and potentially disruptive environmental and social change in the Arctic, and to harness changes that supports the well-being of northern peoples.
It is written for the Arctic Council, in its role in identifying common goals and coordinating efforts across the Arctic, for national and regional leaders, in their role as stewards of the Arctic and of their citizens’ well-being and initiators of wide-ranging actions, and for local leaders, whose active engagement is so central to building resilience.
It presents overarching, policy-relevant insights from the main report, including:
- The people of the Arctic are on the forefront of global change, yet are not its primary cause. Building resilience of the Arctic will primarily require actions to be undertaken within the Arctic.
- Slowing the pace of global and Arctic change requires actions to be taken primarily outside the Arctic. Changes in the Arctic can have significant global repercussions, influencing global-scale societal and biophysical systems.
- The social and environmental systems of the Arctic can accommodate very diverse activities, but to do so while maintaining the systems’ core functions and important values for human well-being requires an integrated understanding of the interactions between people, ecosystems, and the physical environment.
- While the dominant drivers of change in the Arctic are linked to climate, Arctic change is often experienced through interlinked social and environmental factors, which play out differently in different locations through use of the land and sea, and cultural, social and economic change.
- There are already many efforts under way in the Arctic that build resilience. These activities can be modified to address limiting factors. Their impact can be magnified by sharing ideas, replicating and adapting promising efforts, by scaling up, and by coordinating among different decision arenas.
- The ARR concludes that non-linear change with potentially irreversible shifts is a real risk in the Arctic. The scientific assessment in the ARR identifies 19 instances in the Arctic, where multiple drivers, and climate change in particular, can trigger abrupt and potentially irreversible change, with far reaching social-environmental implications for Arctic communities and beyond.
Read the synthesis for policy-makers (PDF: 6.7MB)