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Prof. Jacek Jania, President, Committee on Polar Research, Polish Academy of Science
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Image by Polish Institute of International Affairs
Conference: A MORE ACCESSIBLE ARCTIC: MYTHS, FACTS AND ISSUES AHEAD

On 1 March 2011 Embassy of Embassy of Canada to Poland and the Polish Institute of International Affairs organized a conference devoted to Arctic region.

“This half-day conference brought together Polish and Canadian Arctic experts and decision
makers to support and consider the emerging discussion in Poland on this important region.

Poland has been a distinguished member of the Arctic research community and a prominent
Observer State of the Arctic Council since its inception. While to Canadians the Arctic is home,
and to Polish researchers it is a challenging but familiar workplace, to much of the international
community and indeed Polish society it remains relatively unknown or misunderstood. Far from
being a ‘wild west’ frontier as it is sometimes portrayed, the Arctic is a well-governed and
thriving homeland to numerous indigenous communities with enormous development potential.

Canada’s vision for the Arctic is that of a stable region with clearly defined boundaries, dynamic
economic growth and trade, vibrant Northern communities, and healthy and productive
ecosystems. The Arctic Council is for Canada the well-established and principal forum for
international cooperation in these areas. Poland’s vision of the Arctic is similar, as an observer
in the Arctic Council, which convenes and supports sustained dialogue and cooperation.

Canada, like Poland, has made a strong commitment to Arctic science—the foundation for sound
policy- and decision-making on the environment. Canada was the single largest financial
contributor to International Polar Year research activities and has announced the construction
of a state of the art international High Arctic research facility in Cambridge Bay, and Poland
maintains a world-class scientific research base in Spitsbergen. New opportunities and
challenges are emerging across the Arctic, in part as a result of climate change and the pursuit
of resources. While this may well support social and economic development, it may also bring
new environmental threats, search and rescue incidents, civil emergencies and, potentially
even illegal activity*”.

*Quote from conference’s agenda

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