Report on the International Conference 'Coping with Uncertainty'

by Prof. Tarmo Soomere, GSD partner

The aim of the international conference "Coping with Uncertainty" (Sigtuna, Sweden, 15-17 November 2009) was to discuss implications of uncertainty at science-policy interfaces connected with environmental, social and economic risks in the Baltic Sea region. Complexity, uncertainty and socio-political ambiguity are key challenges in modern environmental governance. Integrated approaches are needed in order to foster collaboration between diverse sets of actors, over wide range of issues, emphasizing sustainability, human health and ecosystem integrity.

The aim of the international conference "Coping with Uncertainty" (Sigtuna, Sweden, 15-17 November 2009) was to discuss implications of uncertainty at science-policy interfaces connected with environmental, social and economic risks in the Baltic Sea region. Complexity, uncertainty and socio-political ambiguity are key challenges in modern environmental governance. Integrated approaches are needed in order to foster collaboration between diverse sets of actors, over wide range of issues, emphasizing sustainability, human health and ecosystem integrity.

The Tallinn team presented three papers aiming at creating a technology that would provide a substantial decrease of remote environmental risks (e.g. ship-caused pollution that frequently affects vulnerable areas far from the accident site) by minimizing the consequences of potential accidents. The central idea is smart use of the existence of statistically heterogeneous semi-persistent current patterns, which considerably affect pollution propagation as well as drift of various items such as vessels without propulsion, rescue boats or lost containers. I was also a discussant of one of the workshops on environmental risks in the Baltic Sea.