The mission of the Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network (IACN) is to initiate, encourage and facilitate Icelandic and international cooperation on Arctic issues, including research, education, innovation and monitoring, amongst public and private organizations, institutions, businesses and bodies involved in Arctic issues. The IACN fulfills its goal by facilitating access to information concerning Arctic related activities, providing support, guidance and consultation for cooperation on Arctic issues within Iceland, and by participating in domestic and international projects.
The Network Seeks to:
- Heighten communication and facilitate cooperation within Iceland regarding Arctic issues.
- Enhance visibility of the role and work of public and private institutions and organisations in Iceland involved in Arctic issues.
- Provide information and resources concerning Icelandic activities, knowledge and experience in Arctic issues to academia, policy makers and the public.
- Improve distribution of and access to information concerning the Arctic in the context of Iceland.
- Provide support for cooperation on Arctic issues within Iceland.
- Provide guidance and consultation as requested.
Within this framework, IACN works closely with the Icelandic Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (2019-2021) under the theme Together Toward A Sustainable Arctic. Specifically, IACN chairs the Social, Economic and Cultural Expert Group (SECEG) which supports work to advance social, economic and cultural research in the development of sustainable and integrated approaches emerging in the circumpolar region. SECEG provides the Sustainable Development Working Group with relevant information, but it also collaborates with other Arctic Council Working Groups, Permanent Participants, academic institutions and other relevant circumpolar organizations and observers. Through SECEG, IACN is coordinating the Nordic component of a recent SDWG project, led by Canada, titled Nexus: A Nexus Approach to Water (W), Energy (E), Food (F) Security. The project advances integrative thinking that reflects the interconnectedness within WEF systems in ways that will lead to the attainment of the UN SDG goals in the region.
In addition, IACN represents Iceland on the Scientific Advisory Board for the third Arctic Science Ministerial III (AMS3), whose theme is “Knowledge for a Sustainable Arctic”. The themes of ASM3 are focused on taking action on the most urgent challenges facing the Arctic and which can be met through international scientific cooperation.
History of the IACN
The Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network (IACN) was officially launched on 7 February 2013 with the signing of an agreement between the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the IACN at the research center Borgir, Akureyri.
The Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network is a part of the Governments progress plan - Iceland 20/20 – a policy statement for an efficient economy and society, including plans for investments in human resources and the necessary infrastructure for the economy, as well as policies on how to strengthen education and culture, innovation and development. The project is the result of the cooperation between the local Eything, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture and the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources and the numerous parties involved with Arctic issues in Akureyri.
The founders of the Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network are:
IACN Projects and initiatives
IACN participates in a wide array of projects and initiatives, such as the Gender Equality in the Arctic (GEA III) project (see below), and BizMentors, a Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme project aimed at developing, scaling and expanding an innovative structured business mentoring initiative across a diverse range of settings with its partners in the NPA Region. IACN closely collaborates with Icelandic and International organisations
In addition, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, IACN is collaborating with international and domestic partners in the planning, outlining and implementation of online webinars on Arctic issues. These include sessions on Renewable Energy, Human Health and Pandemics, Gender, and Socio-ecological Systems at the Arctic Resilience Forum initiative hosted by the Icelandic Chairmanship of the Arctic Council and co-organized by the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council and the Arctic Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center; the Arctic Cooperation Webinar Series (recording available: Regional Development & Food Security in the Arctic: The Role of Geothermal Energy), and the Icelandic Arctic Talks (recordings available: (Perspectives of Arctic Youth in Rural Areas and LGBTQI+ Communities and Iceland, an integrated part of the Arctic: ± 50 years); and the GEA Report Feedback sessions.
IACN’s Project in focus: Gender Equality in the Arctic Phase III
IACN leads on behalf of Iceland the Gender Equality in the Arctic (GEA), an international collaborative project focusing on gender equality in the Arctic dating back to 2013.
The purpose and objective of the project is to raise visibility and understanding of the importance of gender-issues in the Arctic, to identify priorities and concrete strategies for increased diversity and gender balance in policy- and decision-making processes and to provide information to facilitate sustainable policy making for the future.
The project is now in its third phase. The first phase of the project, GEA I, was the international conference Gender Equality in the Arctic – Current realities, future challenges which took place in Akureyri in October 2014 followed by the Gender Equality in the Arctic – Current realities, future challenges conference report published in 2015 by the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Following success of the conference and the conference report, Phase II (GEA II) was launched in 2017. GEA II involved building a network of experts in the field and creating a website the purpose of which is to promote and expand the dialogue on Gender Equality in the Arctic, provide a formal network of groups and experts interested in issues of Gender Equality in the Arctic.
GEA Phase III was announced in May 2019, following the handover of the Arctic Council Chairmanship from Finland to Iceland. GEA III is an Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) project and a chairmanship project of the Icelandic Arctic Council Chairmanship 2019-2021, as part of the priority “People and Communities of the Arctic”. The most important component of GEAIII is compiling a pan Arctic report on Gender in the Arctic. The report will include six chapters (working titles), Empowerment, Law and Governance, Migration and Mobility, Gender and Environment, Violence and Reconciliation, and Security.
IACN has the pleasure to work with a great number of domestic and international partners through the project partners, the editorial committee, the Report’s Youth Advisory Board, and through engagement with Arctic Council’s Permanent Participants and other indigenous representatives. The project has been blessed with funding from the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Icelandic Gender Equality Fund, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Iceland, Finland, Sweden and Norway, the Government of the Faroe Islands, the US National Science Foundation, and the Canadian Federal Government.
More information: https://arcticgenderequality.network/
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