SAON facilitates partnerships and synergies among existing observing and data network. The need for a well-coordinated and sustained Arctic Observing Network that meets scientific and societal needs has been identified in numerous high profile reports (e.g. Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network (NRC)) and at a variety of workshops and conferences. In November 2006, at the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Salekhard, Russian Federation, Ministers welcomed the International Polar Year (IPY), 2007 –2008, as a unique opportunity to stimulate cooperation and coordination of Arctic research and increase awareness of the importance of the Arctic region.