Towards an Empowered North – with Shared Voices

The University of the Arctic (UArctic) is one of the largest university networks in the world with over 200 member institutions. It facilitates collaboration, resource sharing and capacity building among higher education institutions and most university institutions interested in the Arctic. UArctic members are committed to the production and sharing of new knowledge. The circumpolar network is the only one of its kind, fostering sustainable development and knowledge exchange in the Arctic region for the benefit of the North, as well as the whole world.

The UArctic Congress 2018 in Finland has gathered over 600 participants from more than 30 countries. The alignment of this Congress into the program of the Finnish chairmanship of the Arctic Council demonstrates our commitment to work with the countries and peoples of the Arctic towards common goals. This partnership is reflected in the themes of the Congress and its science section, which are modeled on the priorities of the Finnish chairmanship – environmental protection, connectivity, meteorological cooperation, and education, as well as the goals of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, supporting gender equality, and the Paris Agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

To move towards an Empowered North – with Shared Voices, we delegates of the UArctic Congress, representing the membership of UArctic, assembled Oulu and Helsinki, Finland from September 3-7, 2018, declare the following:

  1. We continue to work in close partnership with the Arctic Council to support science-informed decision-making, science advice, and science diplomacy.
  2. In partnership with indigenous peoples and communities, we seek to transform our education institutions and systems to be inclusive, relevant and responsive to indigenous peoples, their perspectives, interests, and knowledge systems.
  3. We see education as the essential element in building a sustainable future for northerners, strengthening their ability to determine their own futures, and develop new knowledge that benefits both the North and the world.
  4. We recognize international mobility as an inherent part of education, and seek to build pathways between our countries and institutions that facilitate such exchanges.
  5. While many believe that we are already living in a completely interconnected world, we call for action to address northern communities that still lack the connectivity to access essential information and services.
  6. We see meteorological cooperation and cross-disciplinary research as key tools in providing insight into changing climate and environmental conditions in our region.
  7. We see that cooperation in education and research can contribute significantly to all of the United Nations Sustainable Development goals, particularly because UArctic embodies the objective of the final goal: "partnerships for the goals."
  8. We call on our governments and partners to support the terms and implementation of the Paris climate accord in order to safeguard the future of the region and the world.
  9. We view gender equality in all aspects of academic, social and working life in the Arctic as essential.
  10. We encourage the use of open data sharing, data analytics and data monitoring to demonstrate the impact of international cooperation in research and identify potential gaps in knowledge and new opportunities.
  11. We see art, design, the creative economy, and tourism as important tools for supporting the interaction between indigenous peoples and other northerners, enhancing well-being, preserving cultural diversity, and fostering sustainable economies in the North.
  12. We ask our members to encourage more effective integration of indigenous and local knowledge by engaging northern communities as full partners in research and in the dissemination of findings.