Arctic Frontiers 2022 postponed amid COVID-19 surge

From the 2019 Arctic Frontiers in Tromsø. (Photo: Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)

Better to postpone than to cancel, say organizers of the pan-Arctic gathering in Tromsø, northern Norway.

The Arctic Frontiers conference was supposed to take place from 31 January to 3 February. However, Norway and the city of Tromsø is currently facing the highest numbers of infections since the start of the pandemic two years ago.

More than 4,000 new cases were added to the statistics in Norway on Tuesday, and the Nordic country is currently in a partial lockdown with restrictions on how many people can meet at different gatherings, including conferences, seminars and meetings where social distancing is difficult.

Also, bars and restaurants are not allowed to serve alcohol and home office is mandated for everyone who can work from home. The restrictions are in force until mid-January but could be prolonged depending on the COVID-19 situation after Christmas and New Years’ celebrations.

The organizers have been mapping several alternative solutions but say to the Barents Observer that it was not in consideration to arrange an online version of Arctic Frontiers.

“We recognize the need to meet within the pan-Arctic community, and after two years of a pandemic we prefer to use our resources on organizing a physical meeting place,” Executive Director Anu Fredrikson says.

“On these grounds, we prioritize to plan for a physical meeting and have opted to postpone rather than cancel,” Fredrikson says.

Arctic Frontiers is one of four large Arctic international conferences in Europe. Earlier this autumn, both the Reykjavik-based Arctic Circle and the Rovaniemi-based Arctic Spirit were arranged with physical attendances. Russia’s Arctic Dialogue conference is still scheduled for April 11-13, 2022 in St. Petersburg.

In Tromsø, Anu Fredrikson is also looking towards spring 2022 for the Arctic Frontiers gathering.

“We are currently mapping the “Arctic calendar”, and will as soon as possible announce the new dates. We are looking at options during the spring or early summer,” she says.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Rapid response team heading to Old Crow, Yukon, to tackle COVID-19, CBC News

Finland: COVID-19 surge casts shadow over tourism in Finnish Lapland, Yle News

Greenland: New strategy activated to manage COVID-19 outbreak in Upernavik, Greenland, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Iceland extends COVID-19 measures for at least two weeks, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Norway imposes partial pre-Christmas COVID lockdown, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Drone delivery of Covid-19 tests being piloted in rural area of northern Sweden, Radio Sweden

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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