The annual Arctic Circle Assembly was due to return in October after last year’s cancellation due to the pandemic.
The polar region has fast become an area of growing geopolitical significance. Ice caps continue to recede due to rising temperatures. New opportunities emerge in the form of access to scarce mineral resources and the possibility of speedier shipping routes and trade.
At the assembly in Reykjavik, 60 countries will discuss a wide range of often nuanced and contradictory issues. Among them will be maintaining peace and security in an increasingly ice-free region. Other topics will explore China’s plans for a Polar Silk Road, and the likely focus of Russia’s new, two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council, the leading intergovernmental forum responsible for promoting cooperation within the circle.