Inspiring Arctic voices through Youth:

As described in numerous CAFF documents including the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, the Arctic is undergoing unprecedented change that is occurring at a rate faster than any other place on Earth. Environmental, economic, and cultural shifts are playing out across the Arctic, and increasingly the world is becoming more aware and engaged in Arctic challenges and opportunities. CAFF is working to to provide a platform for youth from around the world to help raise awareness about the Arctic, and to engage in international discussions about Arctic issues, strategies, and policies. This initiative would advance a number of CAFF Working Group priorities and broader Arctic Council mandates expressed in Ministerial Declarations having to do with meaningful engagement of Arctic communities, international collaboration, and engagement with observers. Currently CAFF has two processes focussed on engage youth (18-25), while related these are seperate processes.



Component 1 of Inspiring Arctic voices through youth is focused on Establish a series of several time-limited (1-8 weeks) collaborative partnerships over the next two years within CAFF Working Group member states, Permanent Participants and observers as well as with appropriate strategic partners, such as
1 ABA Recommendation 14. Recognize the value of traditional ecological knowledge and work to further integrate it into the assessment, planning and management of Arctic biodiversity. This includes involving Arctic peoples and their knowledge in the survey, monitoring and analysis of Arctic biodiversity.
ABA Recommendation 15. Promote public training, education and community-based monitoring, where appropriate, as integral elements in conservation and management.
ABA Recommendation 17. Develop communication and outreach tools and methodologies to better convey the importance and value of Arctic biodiversity and the changes it is undergoing.
existing youth engagement programs2, to more effectively engage diverse youth in sharing their perspectives, learning about leadership roles related to Arctic issues and ways to advance conservation of natural and cultural heritage in their communities, country, across the circumpolar Arctic and around the world.
b. Foster more diverse participation in international Arctic issues, including by:
i. Recruiting and bringing together youth participants who represent the diversity of their communities in rural and urban areas across the Arctic and around the world.
ii. Cultivate a collaborative network of partners over the next two years to help establish several short-term (1-3 weeks) youth-exchange program that would bring together diverse youth from around the world interested in Arctic issues to share their experiences, gain new perspectives and educate audiences about how the changing Arctic is affecting them.
iii. Foster greater youth involvement and leadership in public outreach and education about the conservation of Arctic flora and fauna and how a rapidly changing Arctic may impact their lives.
iv. Learn about the many youth leadership and education programs that include rural-urban connections, safe and meaningful field opportunities, and science and Traditional Knowledge-based education programs, and foster a greater understanding and stewardship of cultural and natural resources across the Arctic.
Youth perspectives are vital to the global conversation about how to sustain Arctic communities, cultures and the environment—it is clear those leaders who meet with youth such as those who have engaged in these kinds of programs have recognized the value of learning from youth who are living these changes in some of the most impacted communities, and youth within their own countries who may not live in the Arctic but are interested in it and appreciate how important it is to the rest of the world.

Component 2 of Inspiring Arctic voices through youth is focused on advancing youth involvement and leadership in public outreach and education about the Arctic. The objective being to create spaces or opportunities for dialogue amongst youth and with the appropriate people around the world to share their perspectives.

Building upon component 2 Finland, the U.S. and WWF are organizing an Arctic Youth Summit in conjunction with the Arctic Biodiversity Congress to contribute to capacity building amongst youth through:

  • Creating a network of youth engaged and interested in Arctic biodiversity;
  • providing experience and insight into how biodiversity issues are addressed in the Arctic; and
  • empowering young people to engage in conservation and promoting Arctic biodiversity in their own home countries.

Content (see Annex 1 for further details):

  • hold a Youth Summit parallel to the Arctic Biodiversity Congress;
  • ensure youth participation in the Congress;
  • organise a youth session during the Congress;
  • develop a youth declaration on Arctic biodiversity;
  • report on the outcomes of the summit to the final Congress plenary;
  • deliver the Youth Declaration Oct meeting of the Senior Arctic Officials;
  • create an action plan for development of a youth network up until the May 2019 Arctic Council Ministerial meeting;
  • Identify and establish opportunities for youth exchanges within, among and between Arctic States, observer countries and youth representatives of the Permanent Participants; and
  • engage in the Arctic Council Ministerial.


A Steering Committee (SC) will be formed to organize and provide guidance:

  • Finland Environment Ministry
  • U.S. CAFF Board representative
  • WWF Arctic Director and Arctic Youth Coordinator
  • U.S. Arctic Youth Ambassadors Coordinator
  • CAFF Chair and Secretariat
  • [CAFF Board members asked to participate]
  • [any other organizations that might be relevant]


  • WWF Finland can provide a coordinator
  • U.S. may provide a Fulbright Scholar to assist with coordination and organization

Some portion of the Congress fee can be used to support youth attendance, however additional funding is likely needed to cover travel




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