AOS 2018: The Business Case for a pan-Arctic Observing System

Arctic Observing Summit 2018

Davos, Switzerland 24-26 June 2018

Call for Community Input

The Executive Organizing Committee for the Arctic Observing Summit 2018 is seeking input on the topics under discussion at the Summit in the form of brief statements. More details on the AOS process and specific guidance on input sought are provided below. The theme for the Summit  is "The Business Case for a pan-Arctic Observing System."


The Arctic Observing Summit (AOS) is a high-level biennial summit that aims to provide community-driven guidance for the design, implementation, coordination and sustained operation of an international network of Arctic observing systems. The AOS provides a platform to address urgent and broadly recognized needs of Arctic observing across all components of the Arctic system. It fosters international communication on and coordination of long-term observations aimed at improving understanding of and response and adaptation to system-scale Arctic change. It is an international forum for optimizing resource allocation through coordination of and exchange among researchers, Indigenous organizations, the public, private and not-for profit sectors and all others involved or interested in the Arctic. The AOS is a contribution to the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON) initiative.

Davos 2018 marks the 4th biennial Arctic Observing Summit, following previous events in Fairbanks, USA (2016), Helsinki, Finland (2014) and Vancouver, Canada (2013). AOS 2018 will be convened by a partnership among the International Study of Arctic Change, SAON, and the International Arctic Science Committee.  Together these groups engage a wide range of audiences with Arctic insterests. Each Summit is structured thematically, with themes selected based on recommendations and outcomes of prior Summits. The AOS agenda is shaped by input from the Arctic community and is an iterative process during which previously prepared and distributed materials are refined through working sessions, plenary and panel discussions. The AOS is scheduled to enable the organization of side events to help advance planning, coordination and integration activities. AOS products are prepared for a diverse audience, including the general public, policy and decision makers, funding bodies, operational agencies, Indigenous organizations and the research community.

AOS 2018 - Davos

The Business Case for a pan-Arctic Observing System

At the 2016 Summit, over 450 delegates, from 30 countries, representing a broad spectrum of the scientific community, Indigenous peoples from Alaska, Northern Canada, Greenland, Arctic Scandinavia and Arctic Russia, representatives of the private sector, governmental agencies, non-governmental and non-profit organizations, and Arctic Council observers, Permanent Participants, and working group representatives came together to discuss and develop recommendations and a pathway toward the implementation of an internationally supported, pan-Arctic observing system that is considerate of and responsive to both local and global needs. Among these was the recommendation that the international Arctic Community:

Propose to the highest levels of government, the business case for a comprehensive pan-Arctic observing system.” (AOS Conference Statement 2016)

This recommendation also elaborated that: "This proposal should assess the costs and demonstrate the benefits for society at various levels, including an Implementation Plan that builds upon the present system and past planning, and that identifies needed resources including infrastructure, instrumentation, human capacity, the pathways to financing, and a strategy for sustained financing".

It is this recommendation, challenging the international Arctic community to present a “business case” for a comprehensive pan-Arctic observing system that is the focus of AOS 2018. Such an effort would evaluate societal benefits and costs, lay out financing options, and place investments in observing activities and infrastructure in a broader context. 

The AOS 2018 will focus on pressing issues in the implementation and support of sustained observations that can be addressed through a business-case lens. To that end, short submissions are requested that address any and all aspects of the overarching theme and sub-themes. These statements provide a mechanism by which Arctic community members can shape the 2018 Summit and its outcomes and guide the focus of future Summits. Statements on other issues relevant to the design, implementation and support of long-term Arctic observing are also welcome.

Examples for sessions, presentations or discussion topics under specific sub-theme headings focusing on steps that can be taken to link scientific arguments and implementation approaches with those emerging from a business-case approach are provided below.


1. The Need for the Observing System

  • Societal Benefits – Long-Term Perspective: Strategies and examples for observations guided by assessment and prioritization frameworks that link to Societal Benefit Areas, Value-Tree Analysis, or UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Societal Benefits – Short/Medium-Term Perspective: Strategies and examples for observations driven by local information needs, responses and adaptions to rapid Arctic change, operational needs, resource co-management, emergency preparedness and response.

2. Implementing and Optimizing a Pan-Arctic Observing System

  • Funding and support models: Examples and strategies for public-private partnerships, international funding models, entrepreneurship, or in-kind support.
  • Optimization of existing platforms and technologies: Explore different model- or outcomes-based optimization approaches.
  • Technology
    • Adoption of new technologies to increase efficiency, reach, and impact of observations.
  • Data
    • Role of data management in observing system implementation.

3. Operating Observing Systems and Networks

  • Success stories and lessons learned from relevant observing system efforts. 
  • Use 
    • Use of data and information derived from observing systems, in particular as relevant to demonstrating a business case for pan-Arctic sustained observing, such as community-based monitoring used to guide bottom-up management of fish stocks and other wildlife in support of fishermen, or community-based enterprises.
    • Data Management in support of public and private interests: Examples that illustrate value derived from public domain data through generation of products addressing societal or business needs are particularly relevant.
    • Technology in support of public and private interests in particular in empowering the people of the Arctic and their communities to respond effectively to rapid Arctic change.
    • Entrepreneurship and sustained observations: Economic development and diversification associated with Arctic observing systems, observing systems as social enterprises, capacity building in Arctic communities.

Formatting and Submission Guidelines for Contributions

  1. Should be between 1500 to 2000 words in length.
  2. List all co-authors, affiliation(s), institutions and contact information
  3. Identify a main contact.
  4. The title should be descriptive.
  5. The first paragraph of the text should indicate the objective or key topic of the short statement.
  6. Statements may include up to one figure and should be referenced as appropriate.

All submissions should be in pdf format with figures and/or tables either embedded within or placed at the end of the text with clear titles and captions.

Formatting of the document and references should follow the style guidelines of the journal Arctic:

Statements are submitted on line via the submission link here:

Statements are due: March 4th, 2018

Statements will be posted on the AOS 2018 website after review for relevance, and formatting compliance. Statements will not be peer-reviewed. Posting will occur at least one month before the AOS. Statements will be assigned a DOI so that they may be properly referenced.



"The Arctic Observing Summit (AOS) is a high-level, biennial summit that aims to provide community-driven, science-based guidance for the design, implementation, coordination and sustained long-term (decades) operation of an international network of Arctic observing systems. The AOS provides a platform to address urgent and broadly recognized needs of Arctic observing across all components of the Arctic system, including the human component. It fosters international communication and the widespread coordination of long-term observations aimed at improving understanding and responding to system-scale Arctic change."