Global Change and Arctic Sustainable Transformations (GloCAST)


The GloCAST project addresses the gap between the daunting challenges resulting from global change processes and absent or insufficient action to address them. We argue that this problem is due to two core issues, namely the limited understanding of the interrelationship between global and regional change processes, and the lack of agency and clear roles among multiple (and diverse) stakeholders in global and regional governance processes. Enhancing our knowledge of the interrelationship between global and regional change processes will allow us to cope with the agency problem in global change governance by creating agency, a sense of responsibility and capabilities to act among various stakeholder groups, which in turn will lead to more sustainable transformation processes in times of global change.

GloCAST addresses this research task in the form of three sub-projects and in collaboration with international partners, using the Arctic as a prominent case to illustrate interrelations between global and regional change processes and between stakeholders from within and outside the Arctic who are affecting developments in Arctic resource and and transport sectors.

Three Sub-Projects

Sub-Project 1: Interdependencies between Arctic and non-Arctic Regions and Implications for Governance

This sub-project focuses on (1) a mapping of interdependencies and feedback loops between Arctic and non-Arctic regions from political, economic and governance point of views (focusing on European and German stakeholders but also including those in Asia), and (2) an analysis of existing Arctic and global governance frameworks to evaluate their adequacy with regards to the rapid changes in the Arctic and their global causes and consequences.

Sub-Project 2: Risk and Resources in the Arctic in the context of Global Change and Arctic Sustainable Transformations

Sub-project 2 contributes to a better understanding of Arctic and global change interconnections, specifically focussing on Arctic petroleum resources and potential consequences for sustainability. The project (1) critically engages with the only existing circum-Arctic resource appraisal and provides an update to the already seven year old study, (2) maps the risk perceptions and sustainability concerns of relevant Arctic stakeholders with regards fossil resources, and (3) links the outlooks for Arctic resource development to global processes and challenges of climate change and global energy security.

Sub-Project 3: German-Russian cooperation on Arctic issues

This project is conducted within the framework of the “Blue-Action – Arctic Impact on Weather and Climate” project funded through the Horizon 2020 Programme of the EU. It investigates the case of German-Russian relationship on Arctic issues to reveal differences and commonalities in perceptions of Arctic issues by different actors and to explore how these differences impact cooperation on Arctic issues between Germany and Russia.


The overall goal of GloCAST is to shed light on the interrelationship between global and Arctic regional change processes in order to help pave the way for sustainable transformation processes for and beyond the Arctic. We argue that a crucial lever to achieve sustainable global-Arctic futures is to address the issue of agency that is lacking in global and Arctic regional governance, which in turn is due to insufficient efforts towards a better understanding of the interrelationship between global and regional change processes. By approaching this research task with an inter- and transdisciplinary process, GloCAST addresses structural problems of global governance, which manifest themselves as coordination, legitimacy and distribution problems and conflicts, and which are relevant beyond the Arctic case.

Methodology: Inter- and Transdisciplinarity

Working interdisciplinarily ensures that GloCAST is able to shed light on the multiple uncertainties of Arctic resource and transport development by using insights from different research disciplines (Geology, Environmental Studies, International Relations and Governance), which will provide

  • A mapping of interdependencies and feedback loops between Arctic and non-Arctic regions from political, economic and governance point of views,
  • a better understanding of the geological basis of the Arctic hydrocarbon resource potential,
  • an in-depth study of Arctic and non-Arctic actor relationships, focusing on German-Russian cooperation in oil and gas development projects in the Russian Arctic,
  • an assessment of governance frameworks on various levels in terms of relevance for different stakeholder voices and to solve defined problems, especially in relation to sustainability challenges regarding Arctic resource and transport development, which also emanate beyond the region.

GloCAST uses transdisciplinarity to facilitate stakeholders’ decision-making processes. Stakeholders are hereby understood not only as receivers of research results but as actively involved in the research process, i.e. as knowledge providers and interpreters, ensuring societal usefulness and legitimacy of the research process and outcomes. Concretely, GloCAST implements such a transdisciplinary approach as part of the Horizon 2020-funded project “Blue-Action – Arctic Impact on Weather and Climate”. Together with partners and in form of a scenario-building, -using and –assessment process, GloCAST researchers produce an analysis and evaluation of possible outcome scenarios in resource extraction in the Russian Arctic, with a focus on stakeholders from Europe (especially Germany) and Russia. In doing this, we develop greater capacity among stakeholders to use climate information in their decision making at various levels of governance and spatial scales.

Figure 1: GloCAST structure



Dr. Kathrin Keil (Project Leader)
Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies e.V.
+49(0)331 28822 364

Vilena Valeeva
+49(0)331 28822 457

Marianne Pascale Bartels
+49(0)331 28822 331