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Nordregio in the Arctic region

The Arctic covers over one sixth of the Earth's surface and all twenty-four time zones. Eight countries make up the Arctic: Russia, USA, Canada, Denmark/Greenland/Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland. Five of the countries are also part of Norden. The harsh climate that exists in most parts of the Arctic has historically made the region difficult to access for travellers. Today, with modern transportation and communication, the Arctic has become more accessible, even though it is still sparsely populated and infrastructure remains scattered across huge areas. The Arctic contributes substantially to the world's energy and mineral resources, and the ongoing social and economic development is highly influenced by the processes of globalisation. The global focus on climate change and its impact on the Arctic has exposed the region politically, scientifically, industrially and socio-economically.

Nordregio's experience

Through a number of years of involvement in projects focusing on the Arctic, Nordregio has gained significant experience in analysing Arctic conditions. Nordregio's topics of study have included issues related to social and economic development, formal and informal economies, demographic changes, living conditions, the role of access to infrastructure, impact of resource exploitation, changes in settlement structures and the impact of globalisation on the lifestyles and perspectives of the Arctic population. Nordregio projects have often been conducted in cooperation with Arctic peoples like the Saami, Inuit and other groups of indigenous peoples.

Nordregio's current involvement

After finalizing a major project on megatrends in Arctic development, several themes are being pursued. Current Arctic projects at Nordregio encompass issues such as demography, with a focus on the role of national and international migration; changes in settlement structures; perspectives on green economy; and the impact of renewable and non-renewable resource exploration in sparsely populated areas. Finally, questions related to living conditions in the Arctic are important issues dealt with by Nordregio.

Nordregio's exploration of topics

Questions in relation to the demographic, social, economic and environmental development perspectives in the Arctic will be pursued by Nordregio in the future. This includes further development of renewable energy and the concept of green economy from an Arctic standpoint. As a result of our expertise in issues related to the historical and contemporary development of settlement structures in the Arctic, we are able to provide important input to future research and development perspectives. Our expertise includes the retrieval, collection, analysis and presentation of empirical evidence on characteristics of change. The dissemination and presentation of results by means of maps has become one of the most powerful tools and trademarks of Nordregio. This is a path we would like to pursue, for instance in relation to Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) of large scale projects and the development of an Arctic Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI), thereby enabling the cross-border comparison and merging of digital data for use in connection with interactive maps and micro-simulations as background for policy measures in relation to future development in the Arctic.

Experts on the Arctic at Nordregio

Rasmus Ole Rasmussen

Senior Research Fellow

Johanna Roto

GIS/Cartography Coordinator