Themes of the Rectors Meeting

The world is changing – rapidly! Climate change increasingly impacts our planet seriously with the circumpolar regions and the Arctic nearly four times as much as the rest of the globe, a phenomenon that has been identified as “Arctic amplification”.

Changes in the Arctic have the potential to strongly influence the world. Leaders of higher education institutions, notably members of the University of the Arctic, concerned with the Arctic and its relations with the world, are called upon to develop further and more intense cooperation ties both inside and outside academia to address the challenges and opportunities for and with the Arctic.

The climate interdependency between the Arctic and the world has risen from a local concern to a global challenge over the past decades. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on education and research globally, including the Arctic. The current global geopolitical situation and the associated energy crisis has reminded world leaders of the need for safe and reliable access to critical resources in view of implementing the green shift. The territories and oceans in the North and the Arctic are essential for safe access to a very significant share of minerals, energy supplies and food reserves needed worldwide. These are the lands where a growing number of Indigenous peoples have obtained increased degrees of self-determination.

The Principality of Monaco has launched numerous initiatives in Arctic and polar research and the protection of the environment in cold regions, and has shown strong leadership as to the vital issue of global protection of the seas and their wildlife.

The Rectors Meeting will focus on how Arctic institutions and members of UArctic in general can work more closely while also seeking intersectoral connections to address the new challenges we are facing in a rapidly changing world, notably:

  • The role of the Arctic and northern oceans in what is called the “Green Shift”
  • The impact of climate change and the new geopolitical context on Arctic societies and communities: opportunities and challenges from renewed external interest for the Arctic
  • The central Arctic as an ocean not only losing its ice cover, but seen also as a resource
  • How to develop and intensify cooperation both within academia and from an intersectoral point-of-view in such times of drastic, accelerating change