The annual Arctic Partnership Week was arranged for eight time in Busan, Korea in the beginning of December 2019. Gathering over 1 000 participants from 10 different countries, the Arctic Partnership Week provided an excellent arena for outreach and discussions with international partners. As a collaboration partner to the conference organizers, the Arctic Economic Council (AEC) was invited to deliver a keynote speech at the 2019 Arctic Policy Forum, a part of the Arctic Partnership Week. The AEC was represented by its Director Anu Fredrikson.
In her keynote speech, Ms. Fredrikson focused on sustainable Arctic development. With increasing wealth and prosperity, the global need for natural resources is expected to stay high. Being home to an estimated 20 % of global natural resources, the Arctic has a central role in the future development. Despite the Arctic’s long history of industrial activity and the region’s excellent track record, there has recently been examples of international stakeholders announcing that they will back away from the Arctic. In her address, Ms. Fredrikson called for the need for more balanced information regarding the state of business in the Arctic and provided examples of how the Arctic Economic Council works to serve this purpose.
Ms. Fredrikson also highlighted the Arctic Investment Protocol as a tool for those interested in the region. The Arctic Investment Protocol can help setting a foundation for successful partnership between international investors and businesses and the inhabitants of the Arctic. The six principles of the Arctic Investment Protocol provide an opportunity for a win-win situation as they both help secure local say and guide businesses to act in a responsible and sustainable way.
Ever since the creation of the AEC’s foundation, the organization has strived to work in an inclusive manner and has opened membership opportunities for corporations and organizations both from the Arctic and outside the region. Due to the international character of business, both Arctic and global businesses benefit from increased ties between businesses. The AEC was proud to welcome its first non-Arctic member in 2017 when the Korean Shipowners’ Association joined the organization. The call for increased collaboration between the Arctic and Korean business communities formed a central part of Ms. Fredrikson’s address.