NCEAS Project 12682

Arctic options: Holistic integration for arctic coastal-marine sustainability

  • Paul Berkman
  • Frank W. Davis
  • Jean Claude Gascard
  • Christine Provost
  • Oran R. Young

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Working Group5th—6th December 2013Participant List  
Working Group19th—23rd October 2014Participant List  

Interests are awakening globally to take advantage of extensive energy, shipping, fishing, and tourism opportunities associated with diminishing sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. This 3-year research project will develop and demonstrate an international, interdisciplinary and inclusive process to enhance the practice of governance for sustainability in Arctic coastal-marine systems, balancing: (a) national interests and common interests; (b) environmental protection, social equity and economic prosperity; and (c) needs of present and future generations. To achieve this holistic project goal, we will carry out tasks addressing the four ArcSEES themes (Natural and Living Environment; Built Environment; Natural Resource Development; and Governance) and including: interdisciplinary data aggregation; geospatial integration of the data to reveal plausible developmental scenarios; annual workshops to generate infrastructure and policy options; and applications of the findings to current issues of Arctic governance. The sustainability process will be elucidated through case-studies focusing on current ‘hot spots’ in the Western Arctic - Bering Strait and Beaufort-Chukchi Seas (United States, Canadian and Russian interests) – and the Eastern Arctic - Barents Sea (Norwegian and Russian interests) and West Greenland (Greenlandic, Danish, and Canadian interests). We will engage policy makers in the process from bodies like the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, which has a transboundary remit in the Arctic Ocean. To enhance its cost-effectiveness, this project has established links to the SEARCH (Study of Environmental Change: and ACCESS (Arctic Climate Change, Economy and Society: projects that are supported extensively within the United States and Europe, respectively. This project – which is jointly funded by the National Science Foundation and Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique – also will add value through partnerships with the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis ( in the United States and institutions in France associated with the ACCESS project as well as the Ice Atmosphere Arctic Ocean Observing System project ( The holistic process we develop to generate and share options for Arctic coastal-marine sustainability will be memorialized by publications and through a video series involving lessons of ‘science diplomacy’ to further stimulate education by and for the benefit of all stakeholders (i.e., representatives of government agencies, academia, industry, non-governmental organizations and civil society). The sustainability process we develop and demonstrate in this project focusing on the Arctic Ocean will have implications everywhere on Earth where resources, human activities, and their impacts extend across or beyond the boundaries of sovereign states. This project is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation Arctic Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (ArcSEES) Program to NCEAS and UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management.