Newsletter February 2019

White Paper Release

Last autumn 50 international polar experts gathered in La Cristalera, a town in the outskirts of Madrid, Spain. Over the course of five days, their task was to draft a set of polar white papers. These policy documents should highlight issues in both the Arctic and Antarctic that urgently needed to be addressed – and to which European polar research could make significant contributions. The workshop brought together natural scientists, social scientists, humanities researchers, representatives from indigenous peoples and the business domain. Jointly, they were to co-create white papers outlining polar issues crossing the many different disciplines and professions, worldviews, cultures and knowledge systems. And they did so successfully. At the end of the intensive workshop, the drafts of five white papers had emerged. Since then, the experts have continued their dedicated work and produced the final five documents, which we proudly present to you today.

White Paper 1: The coupled climate system

In  order  to  act  on  climate  change  and  adapt  to  its  effects,  we  need to understand the polar climate system in a global context, the  limits  of  what  Earth  system  models  can  predict,  as  well  as  the  regional  impacts  and  adaptation  pathways  in  response  to  polar  climate  change.  These  actions  will  require  an  integrated  programme  that  supports  community-based  decision-making,  building on the best possible evidence and understanding of the coupled climate system.

Download it HERE.

White Paper 2: Footprints on changing polar ecosystems

Major gaps in knowledge on the diversity of polar ecosystems could be filled by wide-ranging surveying and monitoring of the Polar Regions. This would deliver standardised, high-quality data on a range of essential biodiversity variables. This improved knowledge of polar ecosystems, together with ecological  indicators and new modelling approaches, will enable more accurate future scenarios and predictions.

Download it HERE.

White Paper 3: Managing human impacts, resource use and conservation

Increased human activities at both poles are generating local impacts. Yet, many of the most powerful and ubiquitous drivers or stressors are generated by human activities taking place outside of the Polar Regions. To understand and examine these various drivers, a “systems approach” is required.

Download it HERE.

White Paper 4: The road to desired states of socio-ecological systems in the Polar Regions

To enable positive change in the Polar Regions, we need to understand the desired states of socio-ecological systems that different stakeholders and right-holders want to achieve. Keeping in mind that resilient and sustainable ecosystems are needed to support these futures both in the Arctic and the Antarctic.

Download it HERE.

White Paper 5: Advancing operational informatics for Polar Regions

To establish state-of-the-art operational levels of informatics in the Polar Regions research needs to address current limitations in collection, integration, processing and communication of information. It has to take current limitations in communications capabilities, the harsh and remote environment, and limited in situ into account.

Download it HERE.

5 things you might want to know about the white papers…

  1. Whom are the white papers addressed to?
    Policy makers and funding agencies, including the European Commission, belong to the main receivers of these white papers.

  2. What input are the white papers based on?
    The white papers were developed after preparatory work conducted in two stages: First, an assessment of existing prioritised objectives, as expressed in published documents describing international, national and institutional policies and strategies of polar research. The results are outlined in the Report on prioritised objectives in polar research. Second, an online survey in 2017 allowed the identification of a public perspective on key polar research priorities. In this process, over 550 responses were obtained, representing institutions, companies, communities and individuals. The answers were categorised and sorted, and provided the basic foundations upon which the white papers were built.

  3. How were the experts selected?
    Each member of the EU-PolarNet consortium was requested to name two experts for each overarching category: Climate & Cryosphere, Polar Biology, Natural Resources and Human Impact, People and Societal Issues, New Technologies. The nominations were based on a person’s expertise in a specific research field or other domain, his or her experience in international projects and strategic research planning, as well as his or her ability to approach an issue from an interdisciplinary perspective. Based on these nominations, EU-PolarNet’s External Expert Advisory Board selected seven to eight experts per category, taking gender and nationality balance into account and including early career scientists.

  4. Are the white papers peer reviewed?
    No. The EU-PolarNet white papers are first and foremost policy documents and not scientific publications. However, the contents have been reviewed by the entire EU-PolarNet consortium as well as by EU-PolarNet’s External Expert Advisory Board.

  5. What happens next with the white papers?
    The white papers have now been presented to the European Commission and could serve as a basis for future calls for polar research programme in the EU’s funding programmes of Horizon2020 and Horizon Europe. Further, the white papers build one basis for the Integrated European Research Programme that EU-PolarNet will deliver by the end of 2019.

The EU-PolarNet consortium wishes to acknowledge the major contribution of this expert team, whose generous contribution of their time and expertise was the most important contribution to the success of the workshop.

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