The Arctic is one of the most rapidly changing regions on the planet. These changes are taking place with striking breadth and diversity, and in ways that fundamentally affect the Arctic’s ecosystems and the lives of its inhabitants. While climate change is the most prominent driver of change, many other environmental changes are taking place alongside rapid social and economic developments.
In some contexts, social, political, economic and ecological drivers may be of greater significance than climate change. Social processes driving Arctic change include increasing demand for resources and for transportation, migration, geopolitical changes and globalization. Ecosystem changes include, for example, drawdown of fish resources and degradation of Arctic landscapes. As a result, the Arctic faces multiple and simultaneous social and environmental stressors. An integral part of the assessment is to identify policy and management options.
The Arctic Resilience Interim Report 2013 marks the halfway point in a process set in motion at the start of the Swedish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. It aims to better understand the nature of critical thresholds in the Arctic and the sources of resilience in the face of environmental and social pressures, including choices that strengthen capacities to adapt and transform in the face of change.
Because local changes are nested in larger-scale processes, it investigates the important interactions across scales. A core goal of this project is to better understand the combined impacts of change in the Arctic, focusing on the risk of large shifts in ecosystems services that affect human well-being. By taking an inter-disciplinary approach and analyzing the dynamics of change, the report generates crucial knowledge to inform decision-making regarding adaptation and transformation.
The project has been led by the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Stockholm Resilience Centre in collaboration with the Resilience Alliance. Importantly, the project has built on collaboration with other Arctic states and the indigenous peoples in the region, as well as with several Arctic scientific organizations.
To learn more about the Arctic Resilience Report and find supplemental materials, visit www.arctic-council.org/arr.