Successful WOC "Business Cooperation" Forum at Arctic Circle Assembly Contributes to Developing WOC Arctic Group Program Priorities
The WOC session on "Business Cooperation " at the inaugural Arctic Circle Assembly (Reykjavik, 12-14 October) attracted more than 120 participants around the theme of "Industry Leadership and Collaboration For Responsible Economic Development of the Arctic".
The WOC panel included CEOs and senior managers from a diverse range of Arctic industries: • Oil/Gas: Robert Blaauw, Senior Advisor, Global Arctic, Shell International Exploration and Production • Shipping: Gylfi Sigfússon, President and CEO, Eimskip • Submarine Cable: Sarah Barton, Chief Strategy Officer, Quintillion Networks/Arctic Fibre • Tourism: Sven-Olof Lindblad, President and Founder, Lindblad Expeditions • Fisheries: Mikael Thinghuus, CEO, Royal Greenland A/S
The panelists outlined sector characteristics and trends in the region and the need, opportunity, value and drivers for interaction with the other industries as the Arctic changes. The subsequent open forum explored the need for circumpolar, multi-industry cooperation which is developed by and for the business community itself and which can best ensure the continuity of industry engagement with other Arctic stakeholders, such as governments and inter-governmental organizations.
Following the session in Reykjavik, the WOC Arctic Group met to further develop the scope and focus of the WOC Arctic efforts, with proposed priorities including:
• Industry data collection and sharing: This addresses the important needs and opportunities for sharing of available and statistical data from the physical and biological environment and scaling up the collection of data through development of WOC "Smart Ocean/Smart Industries" program. A workshop on increasing the use of "vessels/platforms of opportunity" in the Arctic is being planned for 2014.
• Circum-polar, cross-sectoral principles for responsible Arctic development: This addresses the value for industry to proactively engage on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), risk recognition and assessment, mitigation and planning, evaluation of preparedness and other approaches responsible Arctic development.
WOC efforts to develop a circumpolar Arctic multi-industry leadership forum build on the 2012 WOC meeting of Arctic industry representatives to explore creating an "Arctic Business Leadership Council" (Reykjavik, 16 September, 2012. This was followed by the Arctic Council's first ever "Business Dialogue" (Reykjavik, 17 September 2013), organized by the WOC and Arctic Council's Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG). (reports available at www.oceancouncil.org)