Projects & Activities

Short lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) are responsible for 40 to 45% of global warming caused by humans. They include black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and many hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Why mountains matter for climate change & disaster risk reduction, energy, biodiversity and forests - A Call for action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 

The EU Arctic Impact Assessment is part of the “Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment of development of the Arctic”, which will identify recommendations to guide future EU Arctic policies.


The future of the North is highly dependent on the successful sharing of knowledge and promoting quality discussion on contemporary issues related to the region. It is equally important to increase knowledge about northern issues globally, in order to promote understanding and cooperation. The Snowy OWL Talks aim at sharing knowledge through a series of short lectures addressing specific topics or ideas about the North. The main target audience for these videos are students. GRID-Arendal produces these videos for University of the Arctic.

The Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP) is an applied research programme in the Hindu Kush Himalayas. Its goal is to contribute to enhancing the resilience to change, particularly climate change, in mountain communities by improving the understanding of vulnerabilities and opportunities for adaptation. 

Recent research has shown that the degradation of pastures combined with the consequences of a changing climate poses significant challenges to nomadic pastoralism. The Nomadic Herders project addresses this by aiming to improve the development and resilience of reindeer pasture ecosystems in Russia and Mongolia; to strengthen the sustainability of the pastoralist livelihoods; and to increase the resilience and capacity of the nomadic communities to adapt to land-use change and climate change.

The Arctic and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have been identified as regions where impacts of climate change are already occurring and where coastal environments and coastal residents are particularly vulnerable to these impacts. This programme is a collaboration that will support people in these two regions to have their voices heard at the local, regional, and international levels.

Launched in 2011, the Arctic NGO Forum is a new initiative that aims to provide a consistent way for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) concerned with Arctic environmental issues to get together, exchange ideas and perspectives and provide advice to the global Arctic community. The creation of this platform will allow NGOs the possibility to strengthen their positions and gain access to policy makers.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is an official observer at the Arctic Council, a multi-lateral body established in 1996 composed of the eight Arctic nation states, six Indigenous Peoples organizations and about 30 state and non-state observers. 

Completed projects

UNEP has singled out the Arctic for particular attention and the Monaco Decision on Sustainable Development of the Arctic (2008) encourages UNEP to: “co-operate, as requested, with the Arctic Council, relevant Multilateral Environmental Agreements and other relevant regional and international bodies, as appropriate;” in addressing the identified, urgent, needs for action to address the growing concerns about the vulnerability of the Arctic environment to impacts from climate change and accelerating development.

International Polar Year (IPY) extends over two years from March 2007 to March 2009 and is planned to be the largest ever international research programme in the Polar Regions.

Polar View is the Arctic and Antarctic component of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security Service Element (GSE) initiative of the European Space Agency and the European Union. It is a collaborative project involving about 20 partners, including research institutes, government agencies and private sector technology, environmental and engineering firms.

An integrated ecosystem management approach to conserve biodiversity and minimise habitat fragmentation in three selected model areas in the Russian Arctic, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).