The University of the Arctic (UArctic) is one of the largest university networks in the world, with over 170 member institutions. It facilitates collaboration, resource sharing and capacity building around Arctic research and education among students, faculty and researchers based at these institutions. UArctic member institutions are committed to producing and sharing new knowledge. The circumpolar network is the only one of its kind, fostering sustainable development, knowledge production and information exchange in the Arctic region for the benefit of the North, as well as the rest of the world.
The inaugural UArctic Congress 2016 has gathered 450 participants representing 200 institutions from more than 20 countries. The Science Section revolved around five issues of current scientific interest: vulnerability of Arctic environments, vulnerability of Arctic societies, local and traditional knowledge, building of long-term human capacity, and new markets for the Arctic including trade, tourism and transportation. These themes constitute the core of UArctic research activities by identifying, addressing and creating solutions to the key scientific questions via transdisciplinary collaboration conducted by the Thematic Networks and UArctic Institutes, and through cooperation with Arctic scientific organizations such as IASC and IASSA to raise awareness on Arctic issues on a global level.
For the sustainable future of the Arctic, we delegates of the UArctic Congress, representing the leadership of UArctic and its members assembled in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation from the 12th to 16th September 2016, declare the following:
- UArctic has the capacity to promote dialogue between different actors in the Arctic and continues to be a driver for collaboration in research, education and capacity building into the foreseeable future;
- Higher education and shared knowledge are the keys to building human capacity among northerners, to strengthen their ability to determine their own futures, and to create a generation of future northern leaders with a strong international and multidisciplinary knowledge base;
- UArctic will continue to broaden global awareness of northern issues through rigorous and collaborative research. The peace and stability of the Arctic region is a fundamental precondition of research cooperation. Likewise, cooperation in science and education strengthens peace and stability;
- UArctic prioritizes and promotes young voices in all UArctic activities, including within research, education and international cooperation, and will continue to increase efforts to provide young people with broadest opportunities to determine their own Arctic futures. Bodies like UArctic Student Ambassadors and UArctic Student Forum, and community for alumni will be supported and promoted;
- UArctic is committed to supporting joint education programs between our member universities, encouraging dialogue between our researchers and administrative leaders, and building upon many of the successful initiatives developed within UArctic Thematic Networks;
- Thematic Networks are important drivers of circumpolar cooperation in scientific and higher education, and are committed to finding ways to support and finance cooperative efforts (particularly joint education programs);
- UArctic will continue to promote best practices in utilizing indigenous peoples’ knowledge and inclusion of multiple systems of knowledge in both research and higher education. We strive for gender awareness and balance, preservation of languages and cultural heritage, and the inclusion of local communities (indigenous peoples and non-indigenous) as active research partners and collaborators;
- UArctic recognizes and prioritizes the importance of cooperation with our partners in northern science, such as IASC, IASSA; APECS, SAON and the working groups of the Arctic Council, as well as initiatives such as INTERACT, EU-PolarNet, Fulbright Arctic Initiative, PEEX, and the GEO Cold Regions Initiative;
- UArctic supports the Arctic Council in its commitment to science-based decision-making;
- UArctic is committed to reducing barriers to international research and research cooperation, ensuring the independence of Arctic research, and supporting the Arctic Science Cooperation Task Force in its work;
- UArctic encourages the use of open data sharing, data analytics and data monitoring to better capture results and outputs and promotes the shared use of common resources through the UArctic Research Infrastructure Catalogue to find synergies across the Arctic scientific community;
- The UArctic is committed to open access publishing and will increase efforts to facilitate open access for its scholars and students;
- UArctic is committed to research that evaluates the balance between potential economic development opportunities and their impacts on our environment and societies; and
- UArctic is committed to strengthening academic (student, faculty, and staff) mobility among institutions in the network, expanding that to include partnerships with private enterprise, international NGOs and other public sector organizations.