Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 402

402 Arctic Yearbook 2015 its reciprocal feedbacks on lower latitudes. Concern also arises from the huge economic potential of the Arctic, recoverable new energy resources across the region, and the possible opening and consequential expansion of important northern transportation sea routes. In order to better adapt and plan towards a stable and prosperous Arctic, more information is needed about the potential future conditions of the region. To fulfill this need, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is in the planning phase of a new international, collaborative, and integrative research project, the “Arctic Futures Initiative” (AFI), which will support decision-making in an effort to advance sustainable, and plausible futures for the Arctic in different environmental, social, economic and technological contexts. The rationale for AFI is reflected in a key conclusion from a seminar “Policy Support from Arctic Research” held in Helsinki, Finland in May 2013, by the Finnish Prime Minister’s Office, the Academy of Finland, and IIASA: There is a decided need for a holistic, integrative assessment of plausible futures for the Arctic, cutting across different disciplines and individual countries’ strategic interests. The AFI within IIASA aims to exploit IIASA’s key position as an international, non-governmental, neutral and independent research organization with a large network through its National Member Organizations. IIASA can also utilize its long history of developing systems analytic approaches while at the same time moving forward truly interdisciplinary perspectives that effectively address today’s multivariate and complex issues across local, regional and global scales. The AFI will work collaboratively with other Arctic institutions and organizations to bring together different scientific disciplines: natural and social sciences, economics, humanities, law, communities, and all affiliated stakeholders to support an integrated and “end to end” science to decision-making framework that builds upon IIASA’s 23 National Member Organizations, including five Arctic nations and six Observer nations of the Arctic Council. The Arctic Futures Initiative is organized to bring together the interests of the research, policy and business communities for an integrated and collaborative approach to a sustainable future in the Arctic. These communities will be involved through representative groups such as the IIASA National Member Organizations and partners (research), the Arctic Council (policy), and the Arctic Economic Council (business). AFI will also, for example, collaborate with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), the United States Arctic Research Commission (USARC), and several research projects, one example being the Pan-Eurasian Experiment (PEEX). Mission: To build a knowledge base that informs decision-making in the Arctic from a comprehensive, holistic perspective, covering social, economic, technological, and environmental issues while also taking into account the connections between the Arctic and the rest of the world. Objective: To initiate a research project and framework with various components that could contribute to a holistic integrated and sustained assessment of plausible futures of the Arctic. Key Roles: 1) Bringing socio-economic expertise to bear with technological and environmental expertise for Arctic futures assessments; and 2) Providing a framework for a sustained assessment Arctic Futures Initiative