Arcticportal News
Polar Bears Day
Other News
Written by Federica   
Friday, 27 February 2015 11:11

Polar Bear Petition (photo: Polar Bears International) Polar Bear Petition (photo: Polar Bears International) Since 2013, Polar Bears International celebrates the Polar Bears Day on February 27th. The initiiative is to raise awareness on the drastic effects climate change is having on the Arctic, the natural habitat of the Polar bear. To support the initiative, you can sign the petition: 

Polar bears need you—and people do, too!

Sign the Petition for Polar BearsIn a world warmed by climate change, the polar bear's sea ice home is literally melting away. Without action, wild polar bears—the very symbol of the Arctic—could disappear.

Climate change threatens polar bears, but the impacts reach far beyond polar bears and far beyond the Arctic. People are at risk, too, from rising sea levels, crop failures, and extreme weather events from droughts to floods.

Polar bears can't walk to the climate change talks in Paris this December to ask for help. You can speak up for them by signing our Petition for Polar Bears.

Please sign our petition to ask the world's nations to create a plan for greenhouse gas reductions that are fast and deep enough to help polar bears—and, by extension, people. By signing, you'll speak up for renewable energy, for efforts to stop deforestation, for a greener world.

You'll help ensure a future for polar bears. And by ensuring a future for polar bears, you'll help countless other species—including our own.


More information and if you want to sign the petition, click here.


An overview on the Polar Code
Shipping News
Written by Federica   
Thursday, 26 February 2015 10:31

Sea Ice (photo: Federica Scarpa) Sea Ice (photo: Federica Scarpa) The long-awaited Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) has been eventually adoped by Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) in November 2014, while MARPOL amendments and the environmental elements are expected to be adopted by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), at its next session in May 2015.It is expected to enter into force by January 2017.  The Polar Code is intended to cover the full range of shipping-related matters relevant to navigation in waters surrounding the two poles – ship design, construction and equipment; operational and training concerns; search and rescue; and, equally important, the protection of the unique environment and eco-systems of the polar regions. IMO has recently published a very informative infographic on the main changes the Polar Code will bring to ship safety in Polar waters (click here to visualize tIMO infographic).

We publish today an interview with Secretary-General of IMO, Koji Sekimizu, released yesterday by ARctic Council (to see the original interview, please click here).

Q: In your view, what are the main challenges of increased shipping in Arctic waters and how will the Polar Code help address these?

A: The receding sea ice in the Arctic Ocean provides an excellent opportunity for shorter sea passages – which means reduced costs. But it also takes shipping into an environment that is not only extremely harsh and challenging for ships to operate in, but which also lacks - or has limited - infrastructure for safe navigation on which safe and green shipping relies, including up‑to-date hydrographic charts, provision of navigational information, search and rescue, oil spill response and so on. The infrastructure challenges need to be addressed in order to ensure that support systems are in place for Arctic voyages.

IMO's Polar Code aims to provide the regulations needed to safeguard shipping and protect the environment in such inhospitable conditions and therefore covers the full range of shipping-related matters relevant to navigation in waters surrounding the two poles – ship design, construction and equipment; operational and training concerns; search and rescue; and, equally important, the protection of the unique environment and ecosystems of the polar regions. Ships and crew must be fully prepared for Arctic and Antarctic voyages.

The Polar Code (safety elements) have now been adopted by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) in 2014, and the environmental elements are expected to be adopted by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), at its next session in May 2015, together with associated MARPOL amendments. The Polar Code is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2017 under the International convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

However, the Polar Code alone does not and cannot address the infrastructure challenges.

With regards to charts, the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), which has worked closely with IMO in developing the Polar Code, has noted that systematic and complete hydrographic surveys have not been carried out in many polar areas due to their extensive, remote and inhospitable nature, while the presence of ice throughout much of the year limits the ability to conduct hydrographic surveys, although increasingly large unsurveyed areas may be becoming available for navigation due to the melting of glaciers and sea ice. The IHO has assessed that 95 per cent of the Antarctic region is unsurveyed and appropriate scale chart coverage is generally inadequate for coastal navigation, while the situation is similar in the Arctic region

The IHO has been working through the Arctic Regional Hydrographic Commission (ARHC) to improve the situation but it could take many years for a full range of adequate charts to be available.

In the meantime, I welcome the efforts of countries in the region to boost their efforts to carry out surveys, to work towards producing relevant charts and to provide aids to navigation, including the Russian Federation, via the Northern Sea Route Administration (established in 2013).

The communications infrastructure also presents a challenge. The expansion of the World-Wide Navigational Warning System (WWNWS) into Arctic waters was achieved in 2011 with full operational status in the five designated NAVAREAs areas established for the purposes of coordinating the broadcast of navigational warnings) and METAREAs (areas established for the purposes of coordinating the marine metrological information), with Canada, Norway and the Russian Federation assuming responsibility for coordinating the dissemination of maritime safety information, including weather warnings and other relevant maritime safety information. (The areas are: NAVAREA/METAREA XVII – Canada; NAVAREA/METAREA XVIII – Canada; NAVAREA/METAREA XIX – Norway; NAVAREA/METAREA XX- Russian Federation; NAVAREA/METAREA XXI – Russian Federation).

This was a significant step. However, the present Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) service provider (Inmarsat), recognized under the GMDSS, utilises geostationary satellites that cannot provide full coverage in the Polar regions, so high-frequency narrow-band direct printing has to be used as an alternative means of promulgation of maritime safety information.

In order to provide comprehensive coverage of GMDSS using polar orbiting satellites, the Iridium mobile satellite system is currently being evaluated for recognition under the GMDSS.

If an accident or oil spill were to occur in the Arctic then search and rescue facilities and oil spill preparedness of the States concerned would be highly tested. In this context, the Arctic Council has already prepared a multi-lateral agreement for providing SAR services in the Arctic region. Similar proposals are afoot for the Antarctic region.

Meanwhile, there is good cooperation among members of the Arctic Council's Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response Working Group (EPPR), which is addressing various aspects of prevention, preparedness and response to environmental emergencies in the Arctic. Further, in 2013 the Arctic states (who are also IMO Member States) signed the legally-binding Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution, Preparedness and Response in the Arctic, which will enhance response capacity in the region.

Arctic Council Members have also contributed to the development of IMO's Guide on oil spill response in ice and snow conditions, which is expected to be finalized at the next session of its Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 3), in 2016.

Voyage planning is one of the most important elements for successfully navigating in the Polar regions. To this end, it is perhaps time to consider extending the provisions of IMO resolution A.999(25) on IMO Guidelines on voyage planning for passenger ships operating in remote areas to all ships operating in the Polar Regions.

Ice breaker provision, such as that made available by the Russian Federation for merchant ships transiting the Northern Sea route, is another aspect of the crucial support system for Arctic voyages. The provision needs to be monitored to ensure it meets demand.

All the above are largely the responsibility of coastal States, but I see a role for IMO and the Arctic Council in terms of coordination and collaboration.

I have personally had the good fortune to experience both the Arctic and the Antarctic at first hand, which has reinforced for me how vital it is that regulators, governments, policymakers and administrators work together to create the conditions in which Polar development can be safe, environmentally sound and sustainable.

In 2013, I was lucky enough to experience the realities of navigation in the harsh, remote and environmentally-sensitive Arctic region when I undertook a 1,700-mile voyage from the Kara Sea to the East Siberian Sea aboard the nuclear-powered icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy, as a guest of the Government of the Russian Federation. During the voyage, I was able to observe closely the operation of the vessel, communication systems, charts and other navigational aids, and to assess the development of the search and rescue coordination centres at Dikson in the Kara Sea and Pevek in the East Siberian Sea.

Q: Protection of the marine environment is an issue important to both the Arctic Council and the IMO. How will the Polar Code's pollution prevention provisions help protect Arctic waters?

A: The Polar Code adds additional requirements to those already applicable to ships under relevant IMO treaties, in order to address the specific challenges ships face when trading in the harsh conditions of the two poles. This should help to prevent accidents, thereby minimizing any potential pollution damage.

Also, specific environmental provisions address operational discharges, to supplement the requirements already contained in MARPOL. As the Antarctic area is already established as a Special Area under MARPOL Annexes I and V, with stringent restrictions on discharges, the Polar Code aims to replicate many of those provisions in the Arctic area.

Part II of the Polar Code, which has been approved by the MEPC for adoption in May this year, includes mandatory provisions in chapters covering the following topics:

prevention of pollution by oil, including discharge restrictions prohibiting any discharge into the sea of oil or oily mixtures from any ship, as well as structural requirements including protective location of fuel-oil and cargo tanks;
control of pollution by noxious liquid substances in bulk, prohibiting any discharge into the sea of noxious liquid substances, or mixtures containing such substances;
prevention of pollution by sewage from ships, prohibiting the discharge of sewage except for comminuted and disinfected sewage under specific circumstances, including a specified distance from ice; and
prevention of pollution by garbage from ships, adding additional restrictions to the permitted discharges (under MARPOL Annex V, discharge of all garbage into the sea is prohibited, except as provided otherwise). Food wastes shall not be discharged onto the ice and discharge into the sea of comminuted and ground food wastes is only permitted under specific circumstances including at a not less than 12 nautical miles from the nearest land, ice-shelf or fast ice. Only certain cargo residues, classified as not harmful to the marine environment, can be discharged.
Q: How should the IMO and Arctic Council further enhance cooperation and collaboration to achieve safe and sustainable Arctic shipping in the coming years?

A: I would like to see further cooperation between the Arctic states – who are Member States of IMO in their own right - and the IMO in terms of supporting and coordinating the necessary infrastructure to ensure safe shipping in the region.

The coastal States have the largest burden of responsibility for providing infrastructure and support and there are already good examples of this. But if shipping in the Arctic expands significantly then the need for cooperation will increase, with the involvement of the coastal State but also the flag States whose ships will ultimately trade in and through the region. This is where IMO and the Arctic Council can play a supportive role, including providing the relevant forum for discussion of any further measures to support the implementation of the Polar Code.

The forthcoming International Conference on Safe and Sustainable Shipping in a Changing Arctic Environment (ShipArc 2015) which will be held at the World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmö, Sweden, from 25 to 27 August 2015, is a good example of how we can pursue working together to assess the challenges and work on them. The conference is being co‑organized and co-chaired by WMU, IMO and the Arctic Council. .

The conference aims to bring together relevant stakeholders, including those proposing resource development and shipping, those most likely impacted by Arctic shipping (for example, coastal communities) and those responsible for its sustainable management, to discuss a forward-looking regulatory, governance, research and capacity-building agenda that will define and assist in achieving safe and sustainable shipping in a changing Arctic environment.

This kind of conference is therefore a good example of ways in which we can build cooperation and collaboration.

All eight Arctic states are also Members of IMO and have contributed to the development of the Polar Code. I have no doubt that they will continue to play a part in the Organization's work on matters of relevance to the region, including developing and strengthening maritime infrastructure, the provision of navigational charts, the maintaining of search and rescue facilities, ensuring a continued comprehensive network of icebreaker support and providing maritime safety information. These are amongst a number of issues which will all need to be addressed in parallel with the implementation of the polar code by the shipping community.


Source: Arctic Council

Reminder: Arctic Yearbook 2015, call for abstracts
Other News
Written by Federica   
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 08:58

2015 ArcticYearbook2015 ArcticYearbookThe Arctic Yearbook is calling for abstracts for the 2015 edition. Deadline for abstracts: 1 March 2015.

The Arctic Yearbook is an international and peer-reviewed volume which focuses on issues of regional governance, circumpolar relations, geopolitics and security, all broadly defined including global aspects. The Arctic Yearbook is an initiative of the Northern Research Forum (NRF) and University of the Arctic's joint Thematic Network on Geopolitics and Security.

This year's theme is "Arctic Governance and Governing". The theme is meant to evaluate the innovation and progress being made in Arctic governance today, as well as conflicts and challenges. Topics may include, but are not limited to, local impact benefit agreements; local politics and elections; northern self-governance arrangements; current and future environmental regulatory frameworks; governance and regulatory gaps; state and non-state cooperation; state and sub-national government cooperation; the new IMO polar shipping regime; regional agreements; regional and/or global governance structures; and assessments of regulatory barriers to economic development. Comprehensive or theoretical evaluations of Arctic governance, including examples of successes and failures, are also encouraged.

Other topics of contemporary significance to regional development, circumpolar relations, geopolitics and security will also be welcome.

Abstracts should be 250-400 words and include author name(s), institutional affiliation and article title, to be submitted to Heather Exner-Pirot ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

The deadline for abstracts is March 1, 2015. Notice of acceptance will be provided on March 15, 2015, and articles (4000-6000 words) must be submitted by June 15. Expected publication is in fall 2015.

The editors also welcome proposals for commentaries (1-3 page opinion pieces) and briefing notes (3-5 pages) from experts and policymakers on current issues and events.

See the full call for abstracts on the Arctic Yearbook website.


Internship at the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Other News
Written by Federica   
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 09:11

Reindeer (Source:Getty Images)Reindeer (Source:Getty Images)The Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) / Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) /Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (SPFII) has an opening for a internship of for two (2) months with an opportunity for extension, pending on the needs of the department, for the Spring session. The expected start date is by 1 April 2014.
The internship is UNPAID and full‐time. Interns work five days per week (35 hours) under the supervision of a staff member in the department or office to which they are assigned.


Special Notice

A completed online application (Cover Note and Personal History Profile) is required. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
The Cover Note must include:
• Graduate Degree Programme (What are you currently studying?)
• Graduation Date (When will you be graduating from the programme?)
• List the IT skills and programmes that you are proficient in.
• List your top three areas of interest.
• Explain why you are the best candidate for this specific internship.
• Explain your interest in the United Nations Internship Programme.

In your online Personal History Profile, be sure to include all past work experiences, IT skills, and three references.

Due to the high volume of applications received, ONLY successful candidates will be contacted.



Assist the work of the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in its mandated areas: human rights, economic and social development, environment, education, culture and health. The Forum's seven socio-cultural regions provide broad representation to the world's indigenous peoples in Africa; Asia; Central and South America and the Caribbean; the Arctic; Russian Federation, Central and Eastern Europe, Russian Federation, Central Asia and Transcaucasia; North America; and the Pacific.
In order to obtain experience in the areas of work of the Secretariat, the following general responsibilities are allocated:
• Become familiar with the work of the Secretariat by reading documents of the past twelve sessions of the UNPFII, Expert meeting reports as well as speaking with staff about their areas of responsibility and regional focus (see website);
• Assistance in drafting and preparing official documents;
• Document, legal and internet research to assist staff, including for the compilation of reports as needed;
• Assist staff in the organization of the annual Session of the Permanent Forum, the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, the Expert Group Meetings and others (through note-taking, speaker's list and side events);
• Translation of speeches, papers, letters and other documents into the languages known/spoken by the candidate;
• Attending and summarizing conferences and meetings concerning the issues dealt by SPFII; and
• Provide administrative support to the Secretariat as required.

The intern will be assigned also to a specific project according to the needs of the Office and depending on the individual's background.


The United Nations Core Competencies include:
• Communication: Ability to draft clearly and concisely, good written and oral language skills.
• Teamwork: Good interpersonal skills, ability to work collaboratively with colleagues from different national and cultural backgrounds to achieve organizational goals.
• Client Orientation: Considers all those to whom services are provided to be 'clients' and seeks to see things from clients' point of view.
The intern is expected to:
• Have a demonstrated keen interest in the work of the United Nations and a personal commitment to the ideals of the United Nations Charter; and
• Have a demonstrated ability to successfully interact with individuals of different cultural backgrounds and beliefs.


To qualify for an internship with the United Nations New York Headquarters Internship Programme, the following conditions must be
• Applicants must be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university degree or higher); or
• If pursuing their studies in countries where higher education is not divided into undergraduate and graduate stages, have completed at least four years of full time studies at a university or equivalent institution towards the completion of a degree.
• Be computer literate in standard software applications.

Work Experience

Applicants are not required to have professional work experience for participation in the programme.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. Fluency in spoken and written English is required for the Internship Programme. Knowledge of an additional official UN language is an asset. Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish are the official languages of the United Nations Secretariat.

Assessment Method

Potential candidates will be contacted by hiring manager directly for further consideration.

United Nations Considerations

Job openings posted on the Careers Portal are taken off at midnight (New York time) on the deadline date.

Applications are automatically pre-screened according to the published evaluation criteria of the job opening on the basis of the information provided by applicants. Applications cannot be amended following submission and incomplete applications shall not be considered. The selected candidate will be subject to a reference checking process to verify the information provided in the application.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the At-a-Glance on "The Application Process" and the Instructional Manual for the Applicants, which can be accessed by clicking on "Manuals" on the upper right side of the browser on Inspira.

The United Nations shall place no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. (Charter of the United Nations - Chapter 3, article 8). The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

Candidates will be required to meet the requirements of Article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter as well as the requirements of the position. The United Nations is committed to the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity for all its human resources, including but not limited to respect for international human rights and humanitarian law. Candidates may be subject to screening against these standards, including but not limited to whether they have committed, or are alleged to have committed criminal offences and/or violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.


Apply here


International Polar Week Spring 2015
Other News
Written by Federica   
Monday, 23 February 2015 09:19

APECS Polar Week logo ( Polar Week logo ( polar regions of our planet contain some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. These ecosystems support a rich array of life, both human and non-human, on both ends of the globe. Whether it's in the Arctic or Antarctic, scientists from all over the world are working together to increase our knowledge of the cryosphere and its inhabitants. It is for this spirit of international cooperation and the excitement of scientific discovery that the APECS proudly supports International Polar Week.

International Polar Week is an opportunity for APECS to promote polar science. APECS uses this opportunity to plan & develop polar science related activities alongside teachers, educators and those interested in polar education for the equinoxes of each year. The equinoxes in March and September are the only time when everywhere on earth the day length is 12 hours, a perfect opportunity to celebrate the poles on a global scale!

March 21-29 2015 is the spring International Polar Week Spring 2015! We want to celebrate on a global scale by focusing on the science being conducted in the Arctic and Antarctic. Inspired by the many great things that came out of the International Polar Year celebrations, we hope that the bi-annual Polar Week celebration will link people in polar science and polar education.

Looking for activities and ways to celebrate? Below you will find a listing of activities, events, and information for Polar Week all over the world. Have an event you'd like to add? All are free to join in this week of international celebration of the pursuit of knowledge about our planet's frozen regions! For questions on how to join or to email us information about your planned events or activities contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Happy Polar Week!




You can find others some good suggestions for education and outreach activities in the Polar Outreach Catalogue on the APECS website or have a look at the Polar Resource Book - Polar Science and Global Climate: An International Resource for Education and Outreach.

You can contact the APECS Education and Outreach Committee with questions at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . When you choose the activities you will promote or support let us know including a summary information in the Polar Week March 2015 activities list.

In Pin yourself activity access the map and let us know what type of activity you are doing this week whether it is a classroom activity or a public talk. Watch the map and see where other people are celebrating the March Polar Week! We'd love to know what you are doing to highlight the global impacts of changes in the polar regions. Send pictures and stories to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


More info at APECS

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