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International Polar Year 2012 Conference Discusses Moving from Knowledge to Action

27 April 2012: The International Polar Year (IPY) 2012 Conference convened around the theme “From Knowledge to Action,” with discussions on a variety of issues related to Arctic issues. Panel sessions addressed, inter alia: Earth structure and geodynamics; polar ocean processes; permafrost; marine, territorial and freshwater polar ecosystems; and communicating polar science.

IPY 2012 Conference convened in Montreal, Canada, from 22-27 April 2012, bringing together experts and stakeholders to discuss polar science and climate change adaptation. The conference featured several keynote speeches delivered by: Gro Harlem Brundtland, member of the UN Secretary-General's High Level Panel on Global Sustainability; Aqqaluk Lynge, Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC); Louis Fortier, ArcticNet Canada; Sheila Jasanoff,  John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; and José Xavier, Institute of Marine Research, University of Coimbra, Portugal.

Various parallel sessions were held under the themes of science highlights, from knowledge to action, public engagement, education and outreach, and indigenous knowledge exchange. In addition, plenary panels discussed social interconnections issues, such as: human health and well-being, including food security; community vulnerability, resilience and adaptation; polar governance policy and management; and indigenous and local knowledge.

Plenary sessions addressed: poles and global linkages; adaptation to change; science and stewardship; and communities and health. Ronald Jean Jumeau, Ambassador for Climate Change, Seychelles, presented on "poles and global linkages," highlighting that as that “as the poles melt,” small island developing States (SIDS) drown. He emphasized that the impacts of climate change on SIDS is not limited to sea-level rise, but includes coastal erosion and water scarcity. Jumeau concluded by noting that the poles' global linkages make the Arctic and the Antarctic a common, global, "heritage of the whole community of man and womankind."

The Conference was organized by a variety of partners, including the World Meteorlogical Organization (WMO). [IPY 2012 Conference Website] [Roland Jean Jumeau's Speech]