The European Commission, the Republic of Finland and the Federal Republic of Germany co-hosted the Second Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM2) in Berlin on 25 and 26 October 2018.
The Arctic is one of the regions most strongly affected by climate change in the world. Both air and water temperatures are rising at a significantly more rapid rate than the global average. The changes observed in the Arctic are also affecting the weather in neighbouring Europe. Policy-makers and civil society need more scientific findings to gain a better understanding of the rapid change occurring in the Arctic, the consequences for its peoples and for the global climate system. Arctic research delivers both this knowledge and the recommendations for action to protect the Arctic and safeguard its sustainable use.
The communities of the Arctic are vitally dependent on the integrity and functional capacity of their environment. This is why it is necessary to gain an understanding of the adaptability of the Arctic population and their environment in order to reduce the risks which are brought on by climate change. While the existing national and international observation systems and research activities are impressive, they are unable to satisfy the demand for information about the rapid changes occurring in the Arctic and the resulting consequences for the ecosystem and the peoples of the Arctic.
In order to increase cooperation in Arctic science the United States organized the first meeting of Arctic Science Ministers (ASM1) in Washington in September 2016. Science Ministers from 25 governments, the European Union and representatives from Arctic indigenous peoples’ organizations gathered to discuss increased international collaboration on Arctic science. The outcome of the meeting, including the release of a Joint Statement of Ministers, was published in the “Supporting Arctic Science” document.
In follow-up to the first Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM1), the European Commission, the Republic of Finland and the Federal Republic of Germany co-hosted the Second Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM2) in Berlin on 25 and 26 October 2018. Under the patronage of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, the international community agreed to strengthen collaboration in Arctic research. The participation of indigenous peoples – for whom the Arctic is home, living environment and source of livelihood – was a vital concern of all the conference partners. Their collective efforts concluded with the signing of a Joint Statement.
Representatives of some 30 governments, from six indigenous peoples’ organizations and ten select international organizations were invited to give presentations on the priority topics of the second Arctic Science Ministerial. The first area of focus was the progress achieved since the first Arctic Science Ministerial, while participants also discussed new activities to further develop joint research in the Arctic with regard to observation, data and the joint use of research infrastructure.
The enhanced cooperation of the 26 governments in attendance culminated in the release of a Joint Statement of Ministers from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greenland, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland, Spain, United States, and the European Commission.
The following organizations represented the indigenous peoples of the Arctic: Aleut International Association, Arctic Athabaskan Council, Gwich’in Council International, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North and Saami Council.
Representatives from the following international organizations were also present: Association of Polar Early Career Scientists, Group on Earth Observations, International Arctic Science Committee, International Arctic Social Sciences Association, Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks, International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, University of the Arctic, UN Environment and World Meteorological Organization.