240,3264The forum will be held from 1430 to 1700 hours and the panel comprising the Norwegian Minister of Fisheries - Ms Helga Pedersen, the mayor of Arendal – Torill Rolstad Larsen, the Chair of the GRID-A Board of Directors and former Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute – Olav Orheim and various experts from GRID-Arendal will be moderated by the editor of Agderposten, Stein Gauslaa.  There will be a Q&A session open to the public at the end of the forum presentations.
Evidence of global climate change is gaining frequency in the world’s news. Ice in the Polar Regions has been melting much faster than scientists had predicted.  Many regions are experiencing severe droughts, including Africa, Australia, and the Western United States, while other regions have experienced flooding and increasingly violent storms. The changing climate is threatening water supplies worldwide, and many of the world’s species are declining in numbers at unprecedented rates.  Unsustainable patterns of land use are causing degradation, which affects up to a third of the population of the world. 
Climate scientists around the world have found increasing evidence that human activity directly impacts the world's climate. These changes are already affecting regions of Norway and there is little doubt that the entire country will experience changes. Being prepared for the challenges and opportunities climate change will present should be a high priority for all Norwegians.  Identifying the issues and areas that a changing climate will have the greatest impacts in and beginning to look at strategies for responding to upcoming challenges is the goal of the public forum.
The forum is intended to raise awareness on climate change, and inform how individuals and organisations can take immediate action to minimise their impacts on the climate.  It will provide a unique opportunity for representatives from local and national governments to meet with representatives from the business, non-profit, and education sectors of the community to discuss how Arendal can reduce its contribution to global climate change.
"This forum presents a unique and brilliant opportunity for Arendal to demonstrate to a leading representative of the Norwegian government how the community’s commitment to become the first climate neutral city fits with Norway’s plans to become climate neutral by 2050,” says Peter Prokosch, Managing Director of UNEP/GRID-Arendal.
The organisers of the climate forum – the municipality of Arendal and UNEP/GRID-Arendal – hope the public discussion will lead to a greater awareness of the urgency of issues concerning climate change.  It is also expected that the forum interaction will provide a greater impetus to government to strengthen collaboration between the public sector and local agencies to meet the challenges ahead.
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