This success is an outcome of the creative minds in the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program of the Arctic Council back in 1997, followed up by strong leadership from the Arctic Indigenous peoples’ organizations, the Arctic Council and its member states, the Standing Committee of the Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, and not least the visionary Circumpolar Universities Association leaders and staff of member institutions who took responsibility and leadership in the development of UArctic.
The Board of UArctic has launched an ambitious decade-long strategy for the network with the vision of a “strong, engaged, informed and dynamic North, creating better lives and environments for all northerners”. This implies that the Indigenous peoples and other northerners should have the keys to determine their own futures. UArctic shall be active in making sure that the purpose for and the way in which education and research are carried out actually serve the peoples of the North. This is essential in achieving the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals in a way that benefits both the North and the world.
Over the coming decade, UArctic will therefore:
Bring northern voices and knowledge to the global stage, increasing understanding and respect towards the region. UArctic engages higher education institutions in the non-Arctic regions in close cooperation with the North, and will continue to work with the Indigenous peoples’ organizations and the Arctic Council to bring northern knowledge and understanding to the world. Cross-border cooperation over generations, both within the Circumpolar North as well as between the North and more southern regions, is essential in securing the Arctic as a region of peace and cooperation for all futures.
Increase human competence and capacity in the North. The core of UArctic is collaboration in education and research through our 60+ Thematic Networks and Institutes. UArctic will continue to focus on sharing northern- and Arctic-relevant knowledge, solutions and innovations, and generating new knowledge that strengthens northern economies and creates safe jobs for northerners. Through collaboration between higher education institutions, it will be possible to develop new solutions that can serve the North, while providing resources demanded by the South.
Improve lives and communities for all northerners. UArctic’s mission is to develop knowledge to address local and global challenges of relevance to Arctic peoples and societies. Finding northern solutions to northern problems creates job security and makes it possible for northern youth to have a realistic vision of a good future in their homeland. Arctic solutions need to be relevant to the region, whether addressing health issues, energy sources, or how to organize communities and smart cities.
Create a healthy environment that serves the North and the world over generations. The changing Arctic environment has severe consequences for the world and for living in the Arctic. UArctic shall support and engage in the development of new ways to adapt to this changing world, and secure living ecosystems on land and under water that serve future generations. Life in the North will not be like it used to be. It is important that the choice of solutions and the ways to adapt are developed from a northern perspective, addressing the problems as seen in the North.
The UArctic Thematic Networks and Institutes, together with the UArctic Chairs, are a powerful structure for cooperation and sharing and finding solutions in a circumpolar framework. This way, UArctic members have the opportunity to be part of the front line in Arctic knowledge on an equal basis, independent of the size of the institution.