I am very proud of Canadas contribution to International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 the largest ever international program of coordinated, interdisciplinary science focused on the Arctic and Antarctic. The official observing period for IPY took place over a 24-month period from March 2007 to March 2009. IPY involved conducting scientific activities in the Earth's Polar Regions to deepen the understanding of polar processes, global linkages and increase our ability to detect changes at the poles. IPY has also aimed 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 2007-2008 has been the largest-ever polar research program, valued at several billion dollars world-wide and encompassing more than 200 international projects led by thousands of researchers from over 60 nations. Canadian scientists led a number of the international projects and contributed to studies which addressed a wide range of physical, biological, social and health science topics including traditional knowledge and community-based research. From the design of the program, review of research proposals, and directing and taking part in training, research and outreach, Northerners have been present. Altogether, more than 900 Northerners and 130 Northern students were actively engaged in hands-on science during IPY.
New partnerships have also been formed, especially between Aboriginal/Northern organizations and the research community in Canada and internationally. These collaborations will be strengthened by the Canadian High Arctic Research Station to be located in Cambridge Bay and the $85 million invested in the improvement and upgrading of northern research facilities through the Arctic Research Infrastructure Fund.
A vast amount of new knowledge has been generated by IPY. The major achievements to come from Canada's 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. We must now move from knowledge to action, which is the title of the international conference Canada is hosting in Montreal in April 2012 as a final wrap-event to IPY. The Conference will bring together polar scientists and policy and decision makers from around the world to discuss next steps to address the current issues facing the Polar Regions. I look forward to the results of these discussions.
I wish to congratulate all who have been involved in IPY. I also encourage all Canadians to learn more about IPY and the issues facing the poles and our planet.
Hon. John Duncan, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada