JUSTNORTH (2020-2023)

JUSTNORTH Towards a Just, Ethical and Sustainable Arctic

JUSTNORTH is an EU-funded climate action project exploring the perspectives and values that stakeholders can bring to Arctic economic decision-making.

 Global climate change has launched intense speculation on Arctic resources. In the push for the green transition, decisions about economic development are usually made through utilitarian ethical principles–the greatest good for the greatest number. The viability of economic development is based on technical feasibility and profitability, with little regard for questions of whether the decisions are ethically right or wrong for people and the environment of the Arctic.

While sustainable development is a popular buzzword for policy, there are significant practice and policy gaps in existing Arctic economic activities—which have resulted in development that is unsustainable. This means decision-making processes for a sustainable future must change and decisions must be made differently.

JUSTNORTH aims to change the future of Arctic economic development by bringing recognition and respect for different value systems to decision-making. In 17 case studies examining the historical and legal development of economic activities in the Arctic, the project team is learning the values of Arctic stakeholders and rightsholders to define the starting point for sustainability and analyses the justice implications for economic activities in the Arctic.

These values and their indicators from the JUSTNORTH case studies will provide a cornerstone for determining the viability of economic activities in the Arctic, as well as clarify policy, legal, and regulatory pathways for implementing decision-making principles based on justice and ethics.

SVS is responsible for conducting three of these case studies – focusing on Northwest and Northeast Iceland and on South Greenland – and the Institute also leads WP5 on Project Integration. The case studies themselves will be published, furthering social science research in the Arctic.

Principal Investigators at SVS: Níels Einarsson, Joan Nymand Larsen, Catherine P. Chambers and Jón Haukur Ingimundarson.

Research Assistants at SVS: Maria Wilke, Jonathan William Wood, Andrea Marta Vigfúsdóttir, Sveinbjörg Smáradóttir.