Arctic Science Ministerial postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19

A little auk flies near the Kronebeene glacier in the Svalbard archipelago, in the Arctic Ocean, on July 21, 2015. The 2021 Arctic Science Ministerial will seek to spotlight the northern research being done by non-Arctic states. (Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)
The third Arctic Science Ministerial, scheduled to take place this November, has now been moved to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ministerial is being co-hosted by Iceland and Japan.

“Strong co-operation is the key to success in light of our common challenges due to rapid climate change in the Arctic,” said Lilja Alfredsdottir, Iceland’s Minister of Education and Culture, in a July 17 news release announcing the date change. 

“The co-operation with Japan has been successful, and our common guiding principles in this project are cooperation, participation, transparency and innovation,” she said. 

The ministerial will take place May 8-9, 2021 in Tokyo.

The first Arctic Science Ministerial was hosted by the United States in 2016. The second was co-hosted by Germany, Finland, and the European Commission in 2018. 

Spotlighting research by non-Arctic states

The science ministerials were established to foster cooperation and collaboration between Arctic and non-Arctic states to better understand the impact of climate change on the North.

On their website, the Arctic Science Ministerial says holding the event in Asia for the first time is a chance to highlight the value of Arctic science research conducted by non-Arctic States.

The ministerials are separate from the work of the Arctic Council, the international forum made up of the world’s eight circumpolar nations and six Arctic Indigenous groups.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: How sub-Arctic seas are influencing the Arctic Ocean and what it’s telling us about climate change, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finland behind on sustainable development goals, Yle News

Greenland: COVID-19 delay, early ice melt challenge international Arctic science mission, The Associated Press

Iceland: Ice-free Arctic summers likely by 2050, even with climate action: study, Radio Canada International

Norway: Norway to expand network of electric car chargers across Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Record 38C temperature recorded in Arctic Siberia, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: January temperatures about 10°C above normal in parts of northern Sweden, says weather service, Radio Sweden

United States: Temperatures nearing all-time records in Southcentral Alaska, Alaska Public Media

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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