WBPI: Newsletter December 2016
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With this renewed newsletter we would like to inform the Willem Barentsz Polar Network with news from the Arctic Council (AC), the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), Council of Managers of National Antarctic Program (COMNAP) and other news we consider relevant for the Dutch Polar research community.
Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna
In April the AMBI workshop on migratory waders brought an international expert group in conservation together on NIOZ Texel. As a result the Netherlands has given support for an international coordinator, from Wetlands International in the Wadden Sea secretariat. This coordinator can bring parties together across the AFEU flyway, and from other flyways where World Heritage Site nomination processes and expertise could be shared. For those of you who are interested in education and outreach activities, CAFF has made some educational toolkits for children and teachers.

Sustainable Development Working Group

One of the focus areas of the chairmanship of the US is addressing energy security in remote Arctic communities. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is supporting the Arctic Renewable Energy Atlas (AREA) to promote sustainable development in the Arctic region by creating a comprehensive online tool to enhance knowledge of the best practices and local adaptation actions on renewable energy and energy efficiency within the region.

New reports Arctic Council
We want to highlight two new reports.
Arctic Centre researcher Frits Steenhuisen is one of the lead authors of the AMAP Assessment 2015 report: Radioactivity in the Arctic. This assessment provides new insights and updated information concerning actual and potential sources of radioactive contamination in the Arctic. In the Arctic Resilience Report 19 tipping points have been identified that can and have occurred in Arctic marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The new Arctic ambassador Kees Rade went to Ny-Ålesund this summer. See this written report by Marlies de Boer.
In the upcoming Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders will join the high level session 'The Arctic in a global context' on January 24.
The Netherlands Embassy in Oslo invited Douwe Maat (NIOZ), as the president of APECS-NL, to participate in the emerging leaders program, that takes place at Arctic Frontiers.

White House Arctic Science Ministerial
On September 28, 2016, the US Administration hosted the first-ever White House Arctic Science Ministerial, that brought together leaders from foreign governments around the world to expand joint collaborations focused on Arctic science, research, observations, monitoring, and data-sharing and the relevance of open science. On behalf of the Netherlands Secretary of State Sander Dekker gave a speech, in which he stressed the importance of scientific cooperation with a focus on sharing facilities and data.

SIOS is a Norwegian / EU research infrastructure which prepares Spitsbergen research data for a System Earth analysis. Sander Dekker specifically mentioned during the before mentioned Ministerial that the Netherlands will contribute to SIOS. Please contact Maarten Loonen if you think that you can contribute to this project.

The International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic has restarted in October 2016. A first call for access to all the Arctic research station has a deadline of the 16th of December.

Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research
Steven Chown has been elected the new president of SCAR, following-up Jeronimo Lopez Martinez.
Within the Life Sciences group a new Action Group has been accepted: Biogeochemical Exchange Processes at the Sea-Ice Interfaces (BEPSII). Contact Jacqueline Stefels if you want more information.

Protection Ross Sea
After years of negotiations, the member countries of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) have reached an agreement to establish a marine protected area (MPA) in Antarctica's Ross Sea. Seventy-two percent of the in total 1.55 million km2  will be a 'no-take' zone, which forbids all fishing, while other sections will permit some harvesting of fish and krill for scientific research. 

EU-PolarNet is publishing a newsletter on a regular basis. The most recent one had an issue on Dutch polar research.You can subscribe to this newsletter by sending an email to

Many groups have shown interest in the field season summer 2017 in the Netherlands Arctic station on Spitsbergen. An overview is given on
The Ny-Ålesund Science Managers Committee is publishing a 2-annual newsletter. Click here for the latest one. You can subscribe to this newsletter by sending an email to

Monitoring facilities
Since 1994, the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University (IMAU), has deployed several automatic weather stations (AWS) on glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets. The monitoring network requires financial support. The WBPI hopes for long-term governmental support linked to our national obligation to the Antarctic Treaty System.

Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund
Two Dutch projects have successfully applied for a grant from the Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund (SEPF): Frigga Kruse and Frits Steenhuisen together with Martine van den Heuvel. Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund's purpose is to ensure that Svalbard's distinctive wilderness character and the unique cultural heritage is preserved as the basis of experience, knowledge and wealth creation.

NWO-Polar Programme
On November 3th 2016 the annual symposium of the Netherlands Polar Programme took place in The Hague. An abstract and pdfs from the presentation can been read on the NWO-NPP website.

Opportunity for Visiting Professorship in Arctic studies
The University of Akureyri is accepting applications for the Nansen visiting professorship or Nansen Research fellowship based on a cooperation between the governments of Iceland and Norway. The Nansen Professorship in Arctic Studies is awarded each year for a twelve month period to a person working on issues that works on the legal, economic, social, political, international and natural circumstances in the Arctic. Deadline is 1th of January 2017.

Upcoming events
14 December 2016: 100 years Kingsbay Ny-Ålesund
22-27 January 2017: Arctic Frontiers symposium in Tromsø.
7-9 March 2017: Senior Arctic Officials Meeting of the Arctic Council
10 March 2017: Dutch Polar Policy day, organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
23 March 2017: Arctic Social Science and Humanities Symposium WUR
31 March – 7 April 2017: Arctic Science Summit Week in Prague, abstract submission deadline is December 15th 2016.
11 May 2017: 10th Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council.
15-27 June 2018, SCAR together with IASC will organise their combined meeting: “POLAR2018” in Davos, Switzerland.
Overview of Dutch Contact Persons
Click here for an overview of Dutch contact persons in international polar organisations.
If you have any news or information that you would like to share in our next Newsletter, please send an email to


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