ASM4 concept note
The Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM) aims at gathering all Arctic and non-Arctic countries that are committed to develop international scientific and educational cooperation in the Arctic region.
The First Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM1) was hosted by the United States in 2016, followed two years later by the Second Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM2) co-hosted by Germany, Finland, and the European Commission. The third Arctic Science Ministerial was co-hosted by Iceland and Japan and held in Tokyo, Japan in 2021.
Drawing on the work of the previous ASM editions, recognizing the pressing needs for a sustainable development of the Arctic region as well as for open and transparent cooperation in Arctic science research that includes all Arctic stakeholders, and committed to share information and facilitate access to research infrastructures, Russia plans to hold the fourth ASM in April 2023.
In the continuity of previous ASM editions, Russia, which holds the current chairmanships of the Arctic Council, is coordinating ASM4. Initially, France intended to become a co-organizer of ASM4 and we stay open to resume this collaboration as appropriate.
The Arctic, a region faced with regional and global challenges
The last ten years have seen a marked increase in Earth’s global surface temperature. Global warming is bringing multiple different changes in different regions, including modification of the water cycle and rainfall patterns, warming and acidification of the oceans, thawing and melting of the cryosphere, sea level rise responsible of coastal flooding and erosion, rising numbers of extreme events, as well as loss of biodiversity – which will all increase with further warming.
In this global pattern of ecosystems disruptions, the Arctic is experiencing environmental challenges and climate change faster than any other part of the planet. The overall temperature of the Arctic region increases two to three times faster than the global average. The observed decrease in sea ice and land snow cover not only affects the weather and climate patterns regionally but also the global weather. Further thawing of perennial frozen ground may also lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions, reinforcing global warming in a troublesome feedback loop. In addition, the Arctic ecosystem is not only highly sensitive to human impact but also takes longer to recover each year.
Though the various impacts of global changes on the arctic ecosystems have not yet been fully studied and understood, it is already clear that they are disproportionately disrupting the way of life, the culture, and the economy of the people that rely on them. Challenges faced by the People of the Arctic region, which include providing education, employment, healthcare, energy, communications, and transportation networks are increased by the rapid environmental, climatic and socio-economic changes, many of which occurring outside of the Arctic.
Local People have a longstanding knowledge of their ecosystem and a deep understanding of on how global change affects their ecosystem, which are complementary to the global scientific community research and findings. Building synergies between them is crucial as the disruption of the arctic ecosystem is worsening at a fast pace.
Goals and objectives of ASM4
The Russian Federation currently assumed the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council 25 years after its establishment. Taking hold of the chairmanship in June 2021, Russia has voiced its commitment to actively foster peaceful, progressive, and sustainable development in the region, as well as to strengthen cooperation among Arctic States, Permanent Participants and Observers.
In line with the Paris Agreement of 2015, France is strongly committed to the fight against climate change, mobilizing the international community to take tangible actions for the planet and implement solutions for an economy that preserves the environment. Following its long history of involvement in the Circumpolar North that dates back several centuries, France has recognized the growing importance of the Polar Regions.
The content and the format of the ASM4 will be determined by the co-organizers, based on the continuity of ASM1, ASM2, ASM3 and the growing relevance of scientific research in the Arctic, including those associated with pronounced changes in the Arctic climate. The ASM4 will provide accessible, open and equally cordial dialogue and engagement with the Arctic populations and local communities and the international scientific community.
To the four themes initiated by the third Arctic Science Ministerial, which are summarized as
Russia proposes to add, a new priority "Develop: solutions for a sustainable economic development".
Russia will launch a new ASM4 website and will sustain and improve, in collaboration with Japan, the international database of Arctic research projects that was initiated by the ASM3 co-organizers; organize community wide consultation events during some of the major Arctic science conferences; create a video based on the results of joint events within the framework of ASM 4; consolidate the collection of information on ongoing Arctic research to be published in the 4th Arctic Science Ministerial report.
Engagement of all communities will be sought at the following Arctic Science Meetings: ASSW2, Saint-Petersburg and others.
The foundational outcomes of the ASM4 Science Process will include the Joint Statement of Ministers signed by all the parties and the ASM4 Report. The report is comprised of the Science Summary, Arctic Research Overviews from countries and organizations, a summary of the ASM4 Webinar Series, Moving Forward document highlighting opportunities to advance international cooperation,
It is the ambition of Russia to strive for continuity and strengthening of scientific cooperation between Permanent Participants, Arctic and non-Arctic States with the view to maintain the Arctic Region a territory of peace and constructive interactions, for which contacts at the level of ministries of science and education are particularly relevant; for encouraging the sustainable development of the Arctic Region.
In this context, Russia will prepare and host the Fourth Ministerial Meeting to discuss issues regarding scientific research and the sustainable development of the economy in the Arctic (ASM4).
To support this ambition, strengthen international scientific cooperation, respond to the severe threat of climate change and biodiversity loss in the Arctic, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation will organize the 4th Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM4) in April, 2023.
We plan to discuss developments in international research in the Arctic region, innovations and solutions for a sustainable development of the Arctic region and commitment to future cooperation.