A Note from a Member of the Board of Directors
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In May 2012 the ARCUS Board met in its first face-to-face meeting of recent years. The ARCUS Annual Meeting, convened in Washington, D.C. following the inaugural AGU Science Policy Conference and the ARCUS Arctic Forum, was the opportune time for a one-day retreat. The ever-growing myriad of arctic-related organizations emphasizes the increasing need for interdisciplinary science research that will form the basis for informed arctic policies. An organization such as ARCUS, whose membership is largely academic institutions, can play an important role in enabling this necessary research and transmitting relevant data to effective receptor agencies, both nationally and internationally. Given the global commons of changing arctic ecosystems and the heightened awareness of issues concerning arctic governance, security, and energy development, communications at a circumarctic (international) level are equally important to those at the north-south (national) level. For these reasons, ARCUS should be connecting with international organizations from the eight circumarctic states.
ARCUS plays an important role in promoting arctic science and education, and encouraging interdisciplinary research with broad participation including social scientists and stakeholders. As a result, programs that use real-time data, such as the Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook, are proving useful to a number of communities and stakeholders at a local and national/international level. Its ability to connect arctic-related organizations and assist in producing integrative science programs and information outreach (e.g., ArcticInfo, Witness the Arctic, Arctic Visiting Speakers Program is a model for other circumarctic nations to follow. ARCUS is in many instances the "go-to" place for information about programs and events relevant to the Arctic. Many arctic-related organizations could make their own lives easier by increasing their engagement with ARCUS, who can partner effectively with them and amplify their findings to ensure that their data are used in effective arctic science policies. A first step would be to become an ARCUS member. The latest International Polar Year culminating conference was titled "From Knowledge to Action," and this is what ARCUS fundamentally espouses.
Canadian Circumpolar Institute and Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
University of Alberta
Member, ARCUS Board of Directors