The rise of the north

Summit on the arctic region to come to Scotland.

International experience in ensuring remote and island communities are resilient and successful will be the focus of a high profile conference in Edinburgh next week.

From 19-21 November, the Scottish Government will hold its first-ever Arctic Circle Forum – Scotland and the New North -  an event of the Arctic Circle international cooperation network.

A series of talks and seminars will cover shared challenges facing northern nations, including those affecting remote and island communities, such as:

  • Growing tourism in a way that involves and benefits local people, while also safeguarding the environment
  • Experiences from across the region in local projects to harness renewable energy and low carbon technology
  • Ensuring young people have a voice and are able to influence the decisions on the future of their communities

Forum speakers include First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, former President of Iceland and Chair of the Arctic Circle, Lord Deben, Chairman of the UK Committee on Climate Change, and Ségolène Royal, France’s Ambassador for the Arctic and Antarctic Regions.

External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop, who will address the conference on 21 November, said:

“In the face of common global challenges, it is all the more important Scotland forms close relationships with like-minded nations, demonstrating leadership on the key issues we face. That is why I am delighted Scotland will host the Arctic Circle Forum.

“From Iceland’s tourism success story to Scotland’s leading expertise in low carbon energy solutions, there are huge benefits to be had by sharing our experiences, learning from one another and developing new partnerships.

“How we empower and safeguard remote and island communities is a shared challenge across the wider arctic region. With experts from the worlds of academia and business, alongside representatives from governments, corporations and NGOs, the forum is sure to be a hotbed for innovation and ideas.”

Arctic Circle Chair Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson said:

“Scotland has formed policies in areas which are of great importance to us in the Arctic, including climate change, clean energy, new forms of economic activity, shipping and tourism. Therefore I very much look forward to participating in the forum in Edinburgh, and furthering the Arctic Circle’s links and cooperation with the Scottish Government.”


Scotland and the New North takes place at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh between 19 and 21 November. Places  are still available and can be booked online.

The forum will be opened by the First Minister, alongside Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. International speakers include:

  • Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • Doris Jakobsen Jensen, Greenland’s Minister for Education, Culture, Research & Church
  • Poul Michelsen, Faroe Islands’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The forum is being co-hosted by the Scottish Government and the Arctic Circle, the largest network for international dialogue and cooperation on the future of the Arctic.

The First Minister addressed the annual Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, last month.


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