The conference began with an evening reception hosted by Jokkmokk City Hall, where guests were treated to a Sami song performance by Ms. Katarina Rimpi, as well as a warm welcome from the Mayor of the Jokkmokk Municipality, Ms. Anna Hövenmark.
The following day, presentations were made by three specialists, which focussed on three disctinct issues related to the Arctic. The first offering was from Ambassador Bo Kjellen, whose 'What on Earth is going on with our climate in the North' raised interested questions about the human impact of environmental degradation in the North. Dr. Carina Keskitalo's presentation on 'Accelerating climate change in the North – how will it change our way of life, and how can we cope with it?' gave a local approach to changes in the environment, as well as the impact of local political agency. Finally, Dr. Tomas Ries' presentation on Northern Security opened the audiences eyes to the future possibility of northern sovereign issues as a concequence of climate change.
Student participants were then divided into individual working groups which were given the task of discussing, debating and preparing ten minute presentations on Climate Change and Northern Climate Conflicts. Presentations of the working groups were made the following day, in which a panel discussion of presenters ensued. The presentations were very well received by the audience, in which constructive recommendations on how to deal with climate change and climate conficts were developed. The presentations were moderated by Dr. Lars Kullerud, President of the UArctic. UArctic International Secretariat intern Harry Borlase, was a presenter for one of the groups on Climate Change.
The Conference concluded with a panel discussion titled 'Developing the North - The Next 20 Years', in which panelists from the Arctic Council, the Swedish Sami Parliament, and various statesmen from the Nordic countries and the US were present. Students and local participants were given the opportunity to voice their concerns and observations to the group, generating a lot of interesting, and at times heated, debate. The discussion ended with everyone in agreement that young people need to continue to put pressure on government authorities in order to create change.
The Winter Conference is organized by a very effective management team of three individuals. Organizers hope that in the coming years, the Conference will continue to grow and include more students and presenters from all areas of the globe. The Conference is organized in the same week as the Jokkmokk Winter Market, in which people from all over the Nordic countries gather to participate in a week of festivities and market shopping.
For more information on the Conference, please visit their website.