Sustainability in the Arctic regions

The latest report accesses how the Arctic performs according to the UN SDGs framework.

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Sustainability in the Arctic: What, How and Why?

The UN Agenda 2030 was introduced in 2015 with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. By 2019 it has been adopted by 150 countries in the world. 

The recent report Sustainability in the Arctic: What, How and Why? accesses how well are the Arctic regions performing in achieving SDGs. The Arctic regions of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia share similar climatic conditions, remoteness from the capital, vulnerability to climate change, and many socio-economic conditions. 

We used five interlinked pillars of sustainability: People, Society, Economy, Environment and Partnership. We see big differences between the north and the rest in the four countries of Arctic Europe. Our analysis shows that the situation in the Arctic areas is better only in case of 20% of the indicators. For 35% of the indicators, the situation is the same, and about 45% of the indicators describe a situation in the Arctic areas worse than that prevailing in the respective countries as a whole. Specifically, performance is worse on People, Society and Environment indicators. At the same time, Arctic regions in Norway and Sweden are performing better than their respective countries on economic indicators.

Almost all SDGs assessments are performed on a country level, whereas regional rich data helps to identify challenges with the country. Much more needs to be done to have comprehensive data on SDG 6 (Water and Sanitation), SGD 12 (Responsible Consumption), SDG 13 (Climate change), SDG 14 (Life below water) and SDG 15 (Life on Land).  Data on aforementioned SDGs is very limited and we need to start collecting it systematically, including on the regional level. 

Evidence from the Arctic regions can be used for targeted measures to build socially, environmentally and economically sustainable Arctic regions during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

Overall, this is the first holistic report to numerically represent SDGs status in the Arctic and it can be used to:
• To localize SDGs in the Arctic context with a set of targets and indicators
• To assist in prioritizing of SDGs 
• To identify risks and opportunities contributing to global level SDGs 
• To identify data gaps 
• To provide a framework for national policy-making 

Link to the report https://businessindexnorth.com/reports/?Article=71

Go to the profile of Alexandra Middleton

Alexandra Middleton

Assistant Professor, University of Oulu

Research on Arctic business opportunities, sustainability, circular economy and human rights.

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