Breaking the ice at COP25

WWF’s Arctic Programme hosted a panel at COP25 examining the future of decision-making in the Arctic. The intergenerational panel, called Breaking the ice, brought young scientists, Indigenous youth and leaders together to discuss how to transform governance in the Arctic and the solutions this region needs to face the climate emergency.


Around the world youth are demanding that governments take urgent action against climate change. The recent IPCC report on the ocean and cryosphere and its polar regions chapter, emphasizes the need to integrate local Indigenous knowledge with the best science into our decision-making to effectively address the climate crisis particularly in this, the fastest changing region in the world.

- Martin Sommerkorn, Head of Conservation, WWF Arctic Programme

Quotes from our panelists

[The Climate crisis] is something that was caused by us and therefore, the solutions also need to be rooted in humanity.

- Marina Melanidis, from Students on Ice and Climate Guides


I want my winter back. I need my winter back. I need it for my reindeer and for my culture.

- Martina Fjällberg, Saami delegation youth and Students on Ice alumni

We need a systems change, not only in the way we engage with decision-making structures but how we approach them. We’re not talking about decisions that are being made for today, but for our grandkids. We’re talking about decisions that will be made for our lands which will be here long after we die.

- Rob Comeau, Youth Climate Lab and Students on Ice alumni


Young people bring time, energy, and enthusiasm that sometimes we don’t see from our older colleagues... It’s a new perspective to help run programs.

- Jilda Caccavo, Associate of Polar Early Career Scientists

We have a lot of work to do to remove barriers that are preventing our youth from participating fully in the political space and academically and improving the educational system so that our Inuit youth can blossom and fulfill their dreams and not live with so much trauma going on.

- Lisa Koperqualuk, Vice President – International Affairs, ICC Canada


Panelists echoed a common theme that emerged at COP25 – a greater diversity of voices needs to be brought into the climate decision-making process. Governments need to incorporate the perspectives of communities and Indigenous Peoples into their climate strategies – including youth. They urged governments to break down old ways of thinking and existing power structures to urgently tackle the climate crisis, particularly in the Arctic where climate change is already altering their way of life.

Stream the full panel.