International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 is the largest ever international program of coordinated, interdisciplinary science, research and observations over a 24-month period, focussed the Arctic and Antarctic. Commencing March 1, 2007 the initiative will include activities in the Earth's two polar regions in order to explore new scientific frontiers, deepen our understanding of polar processes and their global linkages, improve our ability to detect change, continue to involve Arctic residents in research activities, attract and develop the next generation of polar scientists and experts, and capture the interest of the public.
IPY is set to involve as many as 60 countries, including Canada, and tens of thousands of scientists and research personnel from around the world. It is coordinated internationally by the International Council of Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and has been endorsed by numerous international bodies, including the Arctic Council and the United Nations Environment Program.
Canada is poised to play an important global leadership role in IPY 2007-2008. It is estimated that 60 per cent of the projects with a northern polar component will include Canadian involvement and/or activity within Canada's borders. As the second-largest polar nation in the world - nearly 25 per cent of the Arctic falls within our borders. Canadians recognize that changes in the Arctic will inevitably be felt by the rest of Canada and the world. During International Polar Year, scientists and researchers will help find answers to urgent questions facing the Arctic, to the benefit of all. Many of the strategic issues for the North - climate change, contaminants, circumpolar health - cannot be addressed by any one nation. IPY provides Canada with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work together with researchers from other countries on issues which affect all of us.
IPY is an international initiative involving more than 60 nations including Canada and key partners such as the United States, China, Norway, the European Union, Finland, Iceland, Russia and others. Canada has made a significant investment in a Canadian involvement in IPY. Canada contributes to IPY through our National Committee, the Canadian IPY Secretariat and the Federal Program office for IPY.
In 2004, the Canadian Steering Committee (subsequently renamed National IPY committee) was established to provide leadership and promote interest in International Polar Year across Canada. This committee includes representatives from federal departments and agencies, universities, Aboriginal organizations, Northern communities, territorial and provincial governments, Northern research institutes and colleges and others.
The Canadian IPY Secretariat was established at the University of Alberta to support the National IPY Committee and facilitate the planning and implementation of IPY in Canada. The mandate of the Secretariat is to support planning and implementation of the Canadian IPY program, broaden the discussions of proposed IPY research, facilitate collaborations between projects (regionally, nationally and internationally), enable the development of Canadian contributions to IPY, and provide support to the efforts of the National Committee.
The IPY Federal Program Office has been established at Indian and Northern Affairs Canada in Ottawa (previously referred to as the Canadian IPY Program Office - Federal Secretariat). It is responsible for the administration and coordination of the Government of Canada Program for IPY, on behalf of the six co-lead federal departments (Indian and Northern Affairs, Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, Health, Industry, and Natural Resources).
The IPY Federal Program Office works closely with the Canadian IPY Secretariat, the IPY Northern Nodes, and others to ensure coordination with the broader national and international IPY programs.
Northern offices, or "IPY Northern Coordination Offices", are hosted by regionally based organization in several regions of Canada's North. These offices coordinate IPY activities on a regional and community level, and support and encourage northern communities and organizations to become more engaged in IPY activities.
At this time, IPY Northern Coordination Offices coordinators have been hired on an interim basis to serve as a regional point of contact and to facilitate the involvement of northerners in IPY. IPY Northern Coordination Offices will be established on a longer term basis following further consultation with regional and national stakeholders. The IPY Northern Coordination Offices coordinators are:
Nunavut : hosted by Nunavut Research Institute in Iqaluit
Coordinator: Andrew Morrison, tel: (867) 979-7297; fax: (867) 979-7109
Yukon: hosted by Council of Yukon First Nations
Coordinator: Bob Van Dijken, tel: (867) 393-9237; fax: (867) 668-6577;
Nunavik and Labrador: hosted by the Nunavik Research Centre
Coordinator: Barrie Ford, tel: 819-964-2951; fax: 819-964-2230;
Northwest Territories - hosted by the Aurora Research Institute
Coordinator: Alana Mero, tel (867)777-3298 ext. 30; fax: (867)777-4264
Aboriginal people and Northerners play a significant role in the planning, coordination and implementation of the upcoming IPY.
Aboriginal and northern organizations including Council of Yukon First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Inuit Circumpolar Conference, Government of Yukon, Government of the Northwest Territories, Government of Nunavut, Yukon College, and Nunavut Research Institute are members of the Canadian IPY National Committee, which coordinates the overall IPY activities for Canada. Offices, or "northern nodes", are being established in several regions in Northern Canada to facilitate the involvement of Northerners in IPY and to ensure that northern priorities and needs are met.
IPY research in Canada will involve partnerships, including working with territorial governments, northern Aboriginal organizations, communities and other northern stakeholders. IPY activities will integrate traditional and local knowledge, and research teams will be expected to involve Elders and other Aboriginal knowledge-keepers, as appropriate to the research.
IPY research and other activities will also incorporate capacity building and training opportunities, especially for Northerners and new northern researchers. There will be special emphasis on communications and outreach activities that engage and are led by Northerners and Aboriginal peoples.
The Government of Canada has allocated funding in the amount of $150 million, which, over six years, will enable Canada to carry out an innovative, multi disciplinary program for IPY. This $150 million includes $92 million for science and research; $16.5 million for logistics for health and safety; $7.5 million for Northern training and capacity building; $11 million for communications and outreach; $7 million for data management; $4.5 million for research licensing and permits; and $5.5 million for program management. The IPY program will come to an end on March 31, 2012 to be followed by the IPY Knowledge to Action Science Conference which will be held in Montreal from April 22-27, 2012.
The major achievements to come from Canadas IPY Program include the innovative research results, products, new and augmented monitoring networks, data and information that will continue to support the development of programs, policy initiatives and other important applications such as ice and weather forecasts. More information on the results and application of IPY findings will be brought together in the upcoming IPY Science Report which will be a consolidation of Canadian IPY science results, as well as the IPY Program evaluation which will be conducted in 2011, the final year of Canadas IPY Program.
For the purposes of the Call for Proposals under the Government of Canada Program for IPY, Canada's North is defined as the land and ocean based territory that lies north of the southern limit of discontinuous permafrost from northern British Columbia to northern Labrador.
Canadians, generally, and Northerners, in particular, will benefit from the IPY research. However, since climate change is a global problem, it is anticipated that the results of the research and observations uncovered during IPY will benefit a broader international audience. Canadians can expect to benefit from the legacy of enhanced research capacity and infrastructure, data, communications tools, and a new generation of scientists. It is estimated that 25 to 50 percent of IPY projects will include Canadian involvement and/or activity in the Canadian Arctic.
Aboriginal people and Northerners play a significant role in the planning, coordination and implementation of the upcoming IPY. Offices, or "northern nodes", have been established in four regions in Northern Canada to facilitate the involvement of Northerners in IPY and to ensure that northern priorities and needs are met. IPY research in Canada will involve partnerships, including working with territorial governments, northern Aboriginal organizations, communities and other northern stakeholders. IPY activities will integrate traditional and local knowledge, and research teams will be expected to involve Elders and other Aboriginal knowledge-keepers, as appropriate to the research. IPY research and other activities will also incorporate capacity building and training opportunities, especially for Northerners and new northern researchers. There will be special emphasis on outreach activities that engage and are led by Northerners and Aboriginal peoples. Both of the areas of Canadian science and research are issues of importance to Northerners: health and wellbeing of Northern communities and climate change adaptation. Through IPY Northerners will become more directly involved in research that affects their communities.
The Government of Canada Program for IPY acknowledges that Elders and other knowledge-keepers are in a position to make a crucial contribution to the design and management of Northern research.
Researchers have also been encouraged to integrate both western science and traditional knowledge into their proposals. Social cultural review teams in each region have also provided advice to researchers on how to incorporate traditional knowledge into their projects. This will be an ongoing effort throughout the IPY.