Arctic-FROST (Frontiers of Sustainability) is one example of a research coordination network helping to synthesize sustainability knowledge from various disciplines and approaches.
Figure 1 depicts the current science structure of Arctic-FROST, which serves as a starting point for meaningful conceptualizations of sustainability in the Arctic. The onion structure holds sustainable governance in the Arctic at the center, with knowledge domains being divided into environmental, regional, cultural, and economic realms, among others.
The focus on ‘governance’ rather than ‘development’ is interesting, as it implies the importance of agency and control: governance exceeds strictly governmental decision-making by purposefully including non-state actors -- including indigenous and environmental organizations – in key policymaking processes.
Crosscutting themes of Arctic-FROST further include climate change, globalization, indigenous community well-being, and human health. Possible observations and monitoring relate to some of the great challenges and conflicts of sustainability. A (imagined) third dimension of the structure could turn the circle into a sphere to emphasize the role these points of inquiry play at different scales.
Arctic-FROST pursues three broad research questions, which are also of relevance for AMRDI: What does sustainable development in the Arctic mean locally, regionally, and globally? How is sustainable development attainable in a changing Arctic? What are the best ways of measuring achievements towards adaptation, “thrivability,” and sustainable development?
Arctic-Frost operates under direction of Dr. Andrey Petrov, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Northern Iowa. Arctic-FROST membership is free and open to anyone with academic or practical interests in sustainability and sustainable development in the Arctic. For more information visit http://uni.edu/arctic/frost/become-a-member.
In one of our next posts we will inquire some important lessons from the first Arctic-Frost Annual meeting held in Anchorage in September 2014.
AMRDI Staff and Arctic Programs Specialist