Since the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in 2015, efforts are underway to identify indicators for monitoring progress. However, perceptions of sustainability are scale and place specific, and there has also been a call for Sustainable Development Goals and indicators that are more relevant for the Arctic than the global perspectives. Based on earlier and ongoing efforts to identify Arctic Social Indicators for monitoring human development, insights from scenario workshops and interviews at various locations in the Barents region and Greenland and on studies of adaptive capacity and resilience in the Arctic, we provide an exploratory assessment of the global SDGs and indicators from an Arctic perspective. We especially highlight a need for additional attention to demography, including outmigration; indigenous rights; Arctic-relevant measures of economic development; and social capital and institutions that can support adaptation and transformation in this rapidly changing region. Issues brought up by the SDG framework that need more attention in Arctic monitoring include gender, and food and energy security. We furthermore highlight a need for initiatives that can support bottom–up processes for identifying locally relevant indicators for sustainable development that could serve as a way to engage Arctic residents and other regional and local actors in shaping the future of the region and local communities, within a global sustainability context.
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