Award Recognizes Arctic Environmental Impact Assessment

The 2019 Global Award of the International Association for Impact Assessment was awarded to the Arctic Council, honoring the council’s promotion of sustainable development and environmental protection.

The Arctic EIA winning team is, from left, Kjerstin Skeidsvoll Lange, leading adviser for impact assessment and social performance, Equinor; Seija Rantakallio, project leader, Ministry of Environment, Finland; and Päivi A. Karvinen, project coordinator, Ministry of Environment, Finland.
Credit: Carlos Quintero.

The 2019 Global Award of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) was awarded to the Arctic Council at the IAIA’s annual meeting in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The award is handed out annually and recognizes individuals or institutions that have emerged as leaders in environmental assessments.

The IAIA Award Committee honors the Arctic Council’s promotion of sustainable development and environmental protection and emphasizes the Finnish Arctic Council Chairmanship’s proposal for an Arctic Environmental Impact Assessment tool (Arctic EIA). The Arctic EIA project works under the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group. The project aims at creating good-practice recommendations for EIA and public participation in the Arctic as well as a network of Arctic EIA actors.

Already in 2017, the Arctic Economic Council (AEC) was invited to serve at the editorial team of the Arctic EIA project. The AEC’s representative in the work was Equinor’s leading adviser for impact assessment and social performance, Kjerstin Skeidsvoll Lange.

“I think the good-practice recommendations give us a common platform for operating in a sustainable way, working together—not only to be used in the Arctic, but the whole world. I wish to thank the AEC members for all the support, guidance, and providing good cases that could be shared in this project. We did this together,” she said.

Lange said the Arctic EIA project was a unique cooperation based on mutual respect and on a common belief that a sustainable approach in the Arctic is the only way forward. “I hope that this prize signals that cooperation can be achieved by dialogue. My hope is that these guidelines contribute to a better and more-sustainable Arctic. The results of this project show that common guidelines can be achieved when we spend time together addressing complex issues in a respectful way.”

One of the AEC’s goals is to provide advice and a business perspective to the work of the Arctic Council. “The AEC’s participation in the editorial group of the Arctic EIA project is a good example of the mutually beneficial collaboration between the Arctic Council experts and those of the industry represented by the AEC,” said Tero Vauraste, chairman of the AEC. “Decades of industrial activity in the Arctic have led to plenty of experience and expertise on sustainable operations in our regions. Hence, I am pleased that this expertise is also recognized by the Arctic Council’s Arctic EIA project. I would like to congratulate the Arctic Council and the whole project team for the award, and also express my sincere gratitude to Ms. Kjerstin Skeidsvoll Lange for her contributions in this important work.”