The International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), the International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA) and the University of the Arctic (UArctic) worked together to publish a paper on current state and future prospects of Arctic Science in COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 worlds. The article is titled Building resilient Arctic science amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and is now available open access on Nature Communications. The article is co-authored by Andrey N. Petrov, Larry D. Hinzman, Lars Kullerud, Tatiana S. Degai, Liisa Holmberg, Allen Pope and Alona Yefimenko.
"Arctic research faces unprecedented disruptions due to COVID-19. This ‘pause’ gives an opportunity to reflect on the current state and the future of Arctic science and move towards a more resilient, thus equitable, coordinated, safe and locally-embedded Arctic research enterprise. Arctic science has been greatly affected by COVID-19. This comment looks forward to how Arctic science could be conducted in the future.
The Arctic has been at the centre of recent climate-driven changes influencing global climate dynamics, regional weather, and international commerce. Now, the scientific community finds Arctic research capabilities severely limited by travel bans and our own trepidation of becoming vectors transmitting COVID-19. Arctic communities have justifiably asked that travel to their areas be curtailed. The consequences of the prolonged gap in field research will resonate for decades across scientific disciplines, through policy decisions, and into economic investments.
COVID-19 is not just an immediate danger for the Arctic. It will have lasting effects on communities as the current health, food security, and economic issues become exacerbated. Remote Arctic villages are poised to experience significant economic losses (including the earnings from hosting science operations), endure reduction of transportation accessibility, and may also face the loss of key knowledge holders—including elders—and thus the loss of culture, heritage, and tradition.
This article, co-written by Indigenous natural and social science experts, represents a synthesis of perspectives from the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), the International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA), and the University of the Arctic (UArctic) to help guide the science community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Arctic. We argue that although Arctic research has been disrupted, this pause is giving us a unique opportunity to reflect on the current state and the future of Arctic science and work on building a more resilient, equitable, coordinated, safe, and locally embedded Arctic research enterprise".