I’m delighted to have been invited to Oxford on March 24 and 25 to participate in a workshop on sustainable development in the Arctic. My hosts will be the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Royal Dutch Shell, who are collaborating on a project to develop cross-sector standards for industrial activity in the Arctic.
IUCN and Shell have asked me to give a very short stage-setting presentation discussing some of the challenges to operating responsibly in the Arctic from a policy perspective, and to participate in the workshop as a “general provocateur.”
In my view, sustainable development in the Arctic — which a homeland as much as it is a wilderness — must balance social as well as environmental concerns with industrial activity. For this reason, I intend to focus my comments on the economic rights of arctic indigenous peoples, and the importance of viewing them as partners in arctic development rather than merely as an interest group. My presentation slides are available for download from this website.
Participants at the workshop will represent various industry sectors — shipping, mining, and oil and gas — as well as government and environmental organisations. I’m looking forward to meeting them, and I hope my remarks help put social and indigenous issues at the core of their thinking about arctic sustainable development.