The effects of climate change in the Arctic constitute to both threats and opportunities for the Arctic communities. Arctic People experience changes in the nature. The living conditions are changing – some to the better and other living conditions are weakening the basis of traditional living in the Arctic. As an example, the build environment in form of houses and roads are threaten in areas where the permafrost is thawing.
New business opportunities in the sectors of energy extraction, shipping, fishing and tourism are being identified in the Arctic changes. Energy extraction and increased shipping activities because of sea ice retreat are in particular characterized as being capital intensive and involving risks to the environment. The potential environmental consequences of risk events such as an oil spill or ship accidents is significantly greater than in other regions, with implications for governments, businesses and the insurance industry. Responsible realization of the economic opportunities in the Arctic will therefore depend on strong regulatory frameworks and corporate environmental commitment.
Scientific data and business and communities
The business sector will play an important and central role in the sustainable development of the Arctic. For business sectors to prepare and manage their operation in environmentally responsible way, information on environmental changes and geological potentiality of the Arctic has to become accessible. Closing the knowledge gap by granting the businesses access to Arctic data will reduce the risk of severe environmental consequences and will constitute to ensuring that the increased activity in the Arctic takes place within sensible ecological limits. Businesses preparing and operating at large scale in the Arctic will benefit from having searchable access and analytical display of research documents, metadata together with qualitative and quantitative datasets on numerous topics across disciplines and themes covering the Arctic. The engagement of geographic information systems (GIS) compliant visualization and query technologies, will facilitate the conversion of data to information and permanent knowledge. Such an Arctic data and information square adapted to standard scientific information is not available yet. The Arctic data and information square would not only benefit the business sector preparing and operating in the Arctic. It would also benefit the regional and local authorities and communities to have searchable access of Arctic data on numerous topics across disciplines and themes to manage the risk of increased activities and identify new opportunities for the Arctic communities.
Information portal on Arctic societies
As the Arctic is having increased attention from businesses outside the region exploring new business opportunities within the Arctic, the need of disseminating information on Arctic societies becomes more urgent. The Arctic societies can benefit from the attention outside the region by promoting their societies towards defined target groups based on the interests of the Arctic societies. The utilization of internet portals makes is possible for the Arctic societies to promote their regions by providing extensive information service aimed at generating increased business activities in the Arctic and increasing cooperation between business and cultural entities within and outside the Arctic. Developing new business activities in the Arctic demands dissemination on various social information and general business information and statistics in order to inform outsiders about individual societies in the Arctic. Furthermore, the increasing business activities and business cooperation in the Arctic call for an easy access to practical information, e.g. how and when to reach and travel within certain regions and where to find companies within certain business segment together with contact information. Business, culture and travel are interconnected and the Arctic societies can promote their interests on these fields simultaneously.