SAON Committee on Observations (CON): Co-chair vacancy

SAON is seeking nominations for the co-chair positions of SAON CON (Committee on Observations and  Networks). The positions are dynamic, as engagement is required at the international level, participating in forums, networking with multi-sector organizations and events (e.g., Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) and Arctic Observing Summit (AOS)). Together the co-chairs provide leadership for a team of national, organizational and Arctic indigenous representatives on observation networks. Due to the highly interactive nature of the positions, SAON CON is seeking motivated individuals with interests in working at an international level, across sectors and organizations to support SAON goals on observing networks.

More information


Fourth Polar Data Forum - Call for abstracts is now open

Polar Data Forum IV will be held online September 20th to 24th, 2021. The event will be co-organized with the Second Southern Ocean Regional Workshop for the UN Ocean Decade and Hackathon and focus on the polar oceans.

Abstracts for oral presentation and posters will be accepted on a wide variety of data, information and knowledge related issues. Abstracts will be reviewed primarily for their relevance or connection to the polar regions and polar activities. While talks or posters on general topics will be considered, priority will be given to abstracts focused on experiences, Indigenous Knowledge research, operations, projects, programs or topics based in or are about the polar regions. Of particular interest are talks that report on how broader, regional, disciplinary or global standards, protocols and methodologies are, or could be applied, to the polar domain (e.g. how does your polar work link to broader efforts to make data FAIR: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). In keeping with past community events, we see the polar data system as part of the broader global system.

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3rd Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM3)

ASM3 was held 8-9th May 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. A theme was Implementing Observing Networks; Datasharing, and one of the actions in the Joint Statement of Ministers proposes this role for SAON:

Explore opportunities for mapping as well as supporting the implementation of an enhanced observing system for sharing data and results and deepening collaboration among scientists, technical experts, Indigenous Peoples, and other Arctic residents. We recognize the need to support and integrate Indigenous and community-led observations and foster the co-production of knowledge based on their free, prior and informed consent, as appropriate. We recognize the role the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON) initiative has already played and acknowledge that supporting implementation mechanisms identified by SAON will continue to generate long-term benefits for strengthening Arctic observation and data systems.We recognize the need for research partnerships to be built on equal respect, with mutually beneficial and transparent protocols for data governance and intellectual property rights built on ethical guidelines as outlined in the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) Data Statement.


Ocean Decade Arctic Action Plan

The Arctic Action Plan aims to provide Arctic Peoples and stakeholders with a shared agenda that will implement actions that support the United Nations Decade for Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) (‘Ocean Decade’). It presents challenges to address in the Arctic regions. One of the challenges described is Research challenges – to achieve transformative ocean science solutions with these transformative solutions:

  1. Provide the entire Arctic region with a detailed open-access inventory of spatial and temporal information on bathymetry, oceanographic conditions, documenting geodiversity and biodiversity, disaster and pollution risks, provisioning of ecosystem services and their value to support evidence-based decision making.
  2. Understand core Arctic climate and ecosystem dynamics; the impacts of anthropogenic pressures on the environment and ecosystem; and the mechanisms that threaten human health and safety in its regions.
  3. Observe the state of Arctic environments and development trends in near-real time supported by information services that are tailored to the needs of Indigenous peoples, science, environmental management and industry. This includes co-designed sustained observation programmes to establish baselines and trends in: ice distribution and condition; weather and sea state; ecosystem structure and dynamics; biodiversity; distribution of natural resources; carbon cycling; anthropogenic pressures; ocean circulation; and spatial and temporal distribution of contaminants.
  4. Predict and forecast Arctic climate and ecosystem dynamics on scales from hours to millennia, to enable climate adaptation, mitigation and ecosystem-based management of human activities.

Both SAON and IASC have indicated an interest in assisting with updating of the Action Plan as needed over the course of the Decade and beyond. However, there is a clear recognition that the participation of other entities and programmes will be needed so that all parts of the Arctic Action Plan remain relevant to the societal goals set forth.


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