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2021 Arctic Frontiers conference set to conclude


2021 Arctic Frontiers conference set to conclude

Arctic Frontiers conference
Photo: Terje Mortensen/ VG

The 2021 Arctic Frontiers conference—held virtually from Tromsø, Norway—concludes today.

This year’s theme is “Building Bridges” and will feature dialogue focused on topics spanning public health, coastal operations, digitalisation, and green development goals for the northern region.

Especially relevant to this year’s conference is Estonia, which is seeking to join the Arctic Council as an observer state. The northernmost non-Arctic country submitted its application last November to be reviewed this May by the Council. In its initial statement, Estonia announced it wished to join the Arctic Council in order to participate in future discussions concerning sustainable regional development—the Arctic Frontiers conference being one example. Though observer states do not possess votes, they participate in most Council meetings as well as chosen projects and task forces.

Given the newly-inaugurated Biden administration’s intent to renew its relationships and alliances overseas, expect the US to support NATO-member Estonia’s inclusion. Moreover, Estonia has signaled its commitment to combating climate change as a major regional issue. With the country’s extensive polar research experience studying the effects of thinning ice and rising sea levels towards its coastal shores, the Arctic Council will likely welcome a new voice for environmental policy advisory.

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