The Contribution of Space Technologies to Arctic Policy Priorities

1. INTRODUCTION In recent years, the uniqueness of northern regions and their importance to the world, including EU member countries, have been recognized and efforts have been made to develop policies in a cooperative manner across regions and nations. These police are aimed at resolving the specific environmental, economic development and social challenges faced by northern communities. The major areas of interest to both international and national northern policy groups can be categorised under five broad policy areas (i) safety (ii) environment, (iii) sustainable economic development, (iv) sovereignty, and (v) indigenous/ social development. Space satellite systems can be a powerful tool to meet rapidly evolving stakeholder requirements in the northern context. Construction and maintenance of ground infrastructure is difficult due to extreme climatic conditions, low population density and the inaccessibly of the areas of interest. Under these conditions, satellite technology is ideally suited to provide cost-effective and unique opportunities to meet the communication, weather, navigation, observation, surveillance, and scientific needs of those living and working in northern communities in both Europe and North America. 1.1 Objectives This report is the result of a study conducted for the European Space Agency (ESA) by the following partners in the Polar View network: UNEP/GRID-Arendal; Hickling Arthurs Low Corporation (HAL); Tromsø Centre for Remote Technology; and C-CORE. The project team received input and advice from a wide range of stakeholders through a document and web review, interviews, and in particular from the participants of workshop held in conjunction with the GMESSpace and the Arctic 2012 Conference in Copenhagen. The objective of the study is to provide a comprehensive, coherent perspective on how space-based technologies can support Arctic policies at national, regional, and international levels. The results will help ESA understand Arctic issues, to increase the synergy between ESA activities and Arctic initiatives, and to assist ESA in preparing relevant Arctic related programme proposals to meet future requirementThe study compares the needs of Arctic stakeholders (as presented in the Inventory of Arctic Policies and Industry Interests – Appendix B) with the capabilities of the satellite systems (as present in the Inventory of Space Systems – Appendix C) to meet these requirements and subsequently identify potential linkages. The analysis identifies the contribution each type of satellite technology (namely communications, weather, navigation, earth observation, surveillance, and science) can make to meet current and future arctic policy requirements. 1.2 Report Structure This report is structured in nine chapters. The second chapter provides a summary of the chapters that follow. The third chapter provides an overview of the contributions and status of space

systems. Chapters 4 to 8 present a discussion of each of the key policy areas and the role satellites can play in meeting operational needs related to national, regional, and international policies. Chapter contains the study conclusions. Appendix A provides study references, and Appendices B and C contain inventories of Arctic policies and space systems, respectively. 1.3 Defining Arctic Regions Historically, the Arctic regions have been viewed as distinctly different from other geographic areas. Northern areas share a unique set of characteristics, including: yy low population densities with wide disparities in living standards; yy sensitive ecosystem of global importance combined with a limited but expanding scientific understating of northern systems; yy prevalence of large remote areas of limited accessibility; yy occurrence of rapidly expanding yet unchecked industrial activities; and yy presence of rich non-renewable and renewable resources. When defining Arctic regions, it is understood that no single, clear cut boundary exists to delineate their extent. Rather, this boundary will change with its application: environmental, biological, economic, jurisdictional, or social. For example the Arctic Council working groups have different definitions that reflect each of their interests. The Arctic Monitoring Assessment Program (AMAP), which predates the Arctic Council, created its ‘AMAP area’ as the territory where it would carry out environmental monitoring under the Environmental Protection Strategy. AMAP has defined a regional extent based on a compromise among various definitions. The ‘AMAP area’ essentially includes the terrestrial and marine areas north of the Arctic Circle (66°32’N), and north of 62°N in Asia and 60°N in North America, modified to include the marine areas north of the Aleutian chain, Hudson Bay, and parts of the North Atlantic Ocean including the Labrador Sea, excluding the Baltic Sea. (University of the Arctic, atlasmaplayer.aspx?m=642&amid=5955). Other Arctic Council working groups such as Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and Emergency, Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR), and the Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR) developed their own boundaries or adapted the AMAP boundary. The CAFF boundary largely follows the treeline in order to include the ecosystems that are the focus of its activities. Similarly, the Arctic Human Development Report needed to be based largely on northern political units, as that is how the majority of socio-economic data and information on northern societies is organized. The following map presents the Arctic region boundaries as defined by the various Arctic Working groups noted above (UArctic Atlas: Arctic Boundaries).



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