The “Warming of the North” conference, Ottawa

The “Warming of the North” conference, Ottawa

Top image: UNIS professor Aleksey Marchenko (left), conference organizers Paul Earl and Ron McLachlin (University of Manitoba), UNIS research associate Nataly Marchenko (middle) and UNIS director Ole Arve Misund (right).

UNIS staff was invited to the “Warming of the North” conference in Ottawa last week, and gave lectures in connection to consequences, challenges and opportunities of a warming north for the transport sector.

10 March 2015
Text and photo: Ole Arve Misund /UNIS

The conference was organized by the Transport Institute at the University of Manitoba, in Ottawa on 2–3 March 2015.

UNIS research associate Nataly Marchenko spoke on the safety challenges in connection with increased traffic in the Arctic. Professor Aleksey Marchenko gave a lecture on technical solutions for transport in the Arctic, and highlighted the harbor solutions in Longyearbyen and Svea. Director Ole Arve Misund gave a presentation entitled “Spitsbergen, the Arctic Hub: New concepts and infrastructure as drivers for development”.

The main focus of the conference was on the Canadian Arctic which has the longest coast line in the world; is colder than the European Arctic; has difficult ice conditions most of the year with multi-year ice in the Canadian straits and which therefore can be difficult to pass through even with ice-strengthened ships.

There are several scattered settlements and cities, and a native population of about 100 000 people with strong leaders claiming their rights. The Canadian federal government and the three Arctic territories govern the development in a layered decision process.

A main impression of the conference is that Canada is developing its Arctic regions by considering opportunities, challenges and limitations in a balanced, realistic approach. The issue of the Northwest Passage as a future shipping corridor is handled without overselling the possibilities for a shorter East – West sea route.

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