First port of call: a horizon scanning workshop for sustainable Arctic marine infrastructure

Kate Gormley, Emily Hague, Clare Andvik, Valentina DaCosta, Abigail Davies, Daniela Diz, Karen Alexander, Lauren McWhinnie

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To support the predicted growth of shipping activities in the Arctic region in coming decades, port developments and associated shipping infrastructure will be required to be developed in both Arctic and sub-Arctic areas. Such large-scale development in unique and potentially vulnerable areas are likely to have wide-ranging effects and associated impacts. We therefore consider the future challenges, opportunities and knowledge gaps associated with the environmental impacts of developing Arctic and sub-Arctic port infrastructure. Here we present the outputs of an international, virtual workshop held in January 2022 exploring this theme. The workshop brought together Arctic, marine and port researchers, practitioners, non-governmental organisations, and local communities representing a range of geographies and disciplines. Based on pre-workshop consultation, five topics were considered: marine mammals and noise; discharges and pollution; ecosystem impacts and effects; environmental management and assessment; and infrastructure and geography. Dissemination of the workshop found five overriding themes that were common across each topic discussion: i) utilising best practice and governance; ii) community and Indigenous Peoples engagement and participation; iii) common vs. Arctic-specific challenges; iv) impact assessment including consideration of cumulative impacts and effects; and v) climate change. The workshop highlighted the requirement to continue to build and broaden discussion, for further collaborative work and research streams to be developed, to ensure any future Arctic and sub-Arctic port infrastructure, in support of Arctic shipping, is developed sustainably.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-162
Number of pages17
JournalThe Polar Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2023


  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • Climate change
  • shipping
  • port infrastructure
  • Arctic
  • best practice
  • community engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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