Arctic Youth and Sustainable Futures

This project seeks to understand what are the most strategic investments in human capital and capacity building that can be done to guarantee that youth – female or male - wish to remain in or return to the North, whether smaller settlements or urban localities.

Questions involves relating to migration and mobility with a particular focus on gender and ethnicity, a sense of identity and perspectives on the marketability of identities. They also concern aspirations regarding governance, self-determination and autonomy, health and security, fate control, cultural viability, and greater representation in regional, national and international bodies, as well as questions about education and training, plus economic autonomy.

Activities include youth workshop participation, youth advisory committee, focus group interviews, web-based surveys, and a youth action forum. The main deliverable is a Nordic Council of Minister's report, a series of fact sheets and Arctic Youth report cards, as well as a website.

Following up on a key recommendation in AHDR-II (2015), this project (2016-18) on “Arctic Youth and Sustainable Futures” (Arctic Youth) will convene an international working group of Arctic scholars, alongside Arctic youth representatives, to investigate and conduct research on the needs, opportunities and aspirations of Arctic youth, to fill an identified gap in knowledge on the lives, ambitions, needs and challenges of youth – indigenous and non-indigenous – across the circumpolar Arctic.

The future of the Arctic will be determined by the choices youth make and their priorities in terms of culture and identities, where to study and where to live, and what occupations and lifestyles to pursue, as well as their choices concerning factors that affect the environment, and the impacts and adaptation to climate change.

The working group will research the literature and existing knowledge, determine the scope of an edited volume in terms of topics in consultation with Arctic youth and an Arctic Youth Advisory Committee, conduct interviews, focus group discussions, a youth action forum, and web-based surveys, and thereby contribute to our knowledge on sustainable options for Arctic communities and localities, urban and rural, thus with a project well-rooted at the local and regional level.

The main deliverable outcome – an edited volume (ca. 200 pages, TemaNord publication) – will present the results of and discussions with youth, a synthesis of the literature on the issues, and in-depth analysis and discussion of some of the most pressing current gaps in our knowledge on Arctic youth and sustainable futures.

The project convened an international working group of Arctic scholars and youth representatives to conduct research into the needs, opportunities and aspirations of Arctic youth – indigenous as well as non-indigenous. The findings will be published in a TemaNord publication and a book that will be available ultimo 2019. Read more about the research approach here.

Applicant: Stefansson Arctic Institute, Iceland

Countries: Sweden, Denmark, Greenland, Finland, Norway, Russia, The United States, Canada

Project start 2016, expected to be finalized in 2018.

Copyright pictures: Martin Zachrisson /