EUGLOH Joins Svalbard Outreach Mission: Addressing the Global Challenge of Planetary Health

The European University Alliance for Global Health (EUGLOH) was represented by its Coordinator, Sandrine Lacombe, in an Outreach mission to Svalbard, hosted by UiT The Arctic University of Norway. 20 leaders from academia, politics and business set sail for the Arctic Ocean on the research vessel Helmer Hanssen with the intention to share knowledge and to discuss climate change, resource utilization, law of the sea and trust in the international sphere.

The expedition “Outreach 2023” departed from Longyearbyen on the evening of June 19 and sailed for four days along the West coast of Svalbard. The participants from outside UiT were national and international guests from academia, politics and business. In addition, UiT researchers contributed with some of the most recent scientific findings in geopolitics, history and natural science related to Svalbard and the Arctic.

EUGLOH coordinator Sandrine Lacombe was honoured to be a part of the mission. "This trip was a good example of how working in an alliance can generate new ideas, best practices and heightened visibility in a broader sense. It’s very important for EUGLOH to use its considerable voice to propose solutions for the future of the Arctic,” she said. Before adding, “we have such a diversity of people in EUGLOH, ranging from climate experts to human and social scientists, and with them we can do our part in tackling a multitude of challenges, including those most related to the Arctic.”

Also emphasising the importance of cooperation, Camilla Brekke, Pro-Rector for Research and Development at UiT and host of the cruise, explained "The health of the planet is a common challenge and should be the basis for cooperation between the nations of the world.” She further stressed that “We are pleased to have a representative from the prestigious European university alliance EUGLOH, of which UiT is an important partner."

UiT The Arctic University of Norway joined EUGLOH at the beginning of 2023. UiT’s research covers a number of areas that are relevant to international policy in and around the Arctic, such as technology, security policy, international politics, maritime law, geoscience and climate research. Every year, UiT The Arctic University of Norway invites selected scientists, business leaders and politicians on board the research vessel Helmer Hanssen for a joint exploration of Svalbard. 

The state of the Arctic is intricately linked to the overall state of this planet and its inhabitants. Environmental changes and biodiversity loss in the Arctic have profound implications for Global Health through impacts on climate patterns, ecosystem stability, the spread of infectious diseases, and human migration, to name but a few.

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