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One of the main themes at the 2016 Arctic Science Ministerial was Strengthening and Integrating Arctic Observations and Data Sharing. The ministers committed to the “shared development of a science-driven, integrated Arctic-observing system” and saw “a critical role for the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON) initiative”. 

As a response to this, the IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) and SAON published the International Arctic Observations Assessment Framework, defining 12 Social Benefit Areas (SBAs) that rely on Arctic observations:

  1. Disaster Preparedness
  2. Environmental Quality
  3. Food Security
  4. Fundamental Understanding of Arctic Systems
  5. Human Health
  6. Infrastructure and Operations
  7. Marine and Coastal Ecosystems and Processes
  8. Natural Resources
  9. Resilient Communities
  10. Sociocultural Services
  11. Terrestrial and Freshwater Ecosystems and Processes
  12. Weather and Climate

“The Arctic is a particularly important location to understand and conduct observations“, says the chair of SAON, Christine Daae Olseng: “This work can form the basis for prioritizing future observational efforts”

The Framework was developed in January 2017 as STPI and SAON co-hosted a workshop, convening experts from international, state, and local governments; industry; academia; and non-governmental organizations to review and revise a framework for assessing the societal benefits derived from Arctic observations. The methodology involved a review of international Arctic strategies for common objectives that rely on Earth observations. The resulting international Arctic Observations Assessment Framework will provide the foundation and justification for future international efforts to assess the value of Arctic observations and to structure a pan-Arctic observing system.

The report is available here