Introduction to the Polar Programme

The Polar Programme undertakes environmental management approaches, capacity-building projects and initiatives in the Arctic within a global context. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has designated GRID-Arendal as the UNEP Polar Centre on environmental assessments and early warning issues, with particular focus on the Arctic.

UNEP Polar Centre on environmental assessments and early warning issues

The Polar Programme, with an out-posted office in Ottawa, works in collaboration with numerous polar partners and stakeholders in undertaking projects and initiatives focused on the Arctic in a global context, and in the following areas:

  • Stakeholder processes - To facilitate and participate in stakeholder processes that recognize different values, perspectives, and knowledge, with a particular emphasis on empowering Arctic peoples.
  • Assessments and Early Warning - To provide interdisciplinary polar assessments and early warning to build awareness as a foundation for decision-making.
  • Capacity Building – To engage in projects and initiatives toward building the capacity of Arctic peoples to effectively manage regional challenges and to take advantage of emerging opportunities.
  • Communication and Outreach - To raise the profile of the Polar Regions by providing outreach, education and communication services.

To carry out this work, the Polar Programme works closely with Partners on the international level, such as the Arctic Council working groups and the University of the Arctic, with institutions in the UNEP family, with Indigenous Peoples organisations and with NGO partners - and many more.

Information on current activities and projects can be found on the Activities page.