Joint press release ICSU/WMO: Polar year comes to a close

Joint press release ICSU/WMO: Polar year comes to a close



8 June 2010

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Not an official record

Polar year comes to a close

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Paris and Geneva. The International Polar Year 2007–2008 (IPY), the largest polar research and education venture ever undertaken, will formally come to a close at a ceremony in Oslo on Saturday 12 June—the final day of the IPY Oslo Science Conference. The IPY sponsors, the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), will thank the many thousands of participants who made the IPY a spectacular international success, before passing the baton to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and WMO Executive Council Panel on Polar Observations, Research and Services, to secure the legacy of this important initiative.

“IPY was founded on the ideas and energy of thousands of scientists, educators, technicians and many more”, said Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of WMO. “We as co-sponsors of IPY wish to express our most sincere thanks to all the participants and the organizers who made this venture one of the biggest internationally coordinated research programmes ever undertaken.”

Deliang Chen, Executive Director of ICSU, added: ‘IPY has paved the way for a solid understanding of the polar regions at a critical time for society’s relationship with the Earth. The collaboration among many nations and among many scientific disciplines has been critical to the success of IPY, and it is crucial that the energy and partnerships that converged in IPY are sustained in the long-term.’

The IPY success story has been captured in a summary report Understanding Earth’s Polar Challenges: International Polar Year 2007–2008 from the ICSU-WMO Joint Committee, which oversaw the implementation of the IPY. Jeronimo Lopez-Martinez, the co-chair of the Joint Committee who will deliver the report at the ceremony, described it as: ‘telling the story from the unique perspective of the Joint Committee, with the help of more than 100 contributors; from the earliest planning almost a decade ago to the current challenge of ensuring a robust IPY legacy. It involves tens of thousands of participants, and highlights the global influence of the polar regions’.

The ceremony will be opened by Gerlis Fugmann, President of the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS)—a group that originated and flourished during IPY and will carry the momentum of polar research, education and outreach in the years to come. This will be followed by the presentation of the Joint Committee summary report and an outline of the future path for the international polar science community by representatives from SCAR, IASC and APECS. The ceremony will conclude with the formal closing of the IPY programme by ICSU and WMO.

Event details

What:     Celebration and formal closing ceremony of the International Polar Year 2007–2008

When:    Saturday 12 June, 8.30–9.50 am

Where:   Oslo Science Conference, Hall B3-B4, Norway Convention Centre, Lillestrom

For more information, please contact:


Paul Cutler, Science Officer, Tel: +33 (0)6 89 98 86 52, email:

At the WMO Communications and Public Affairs Office:

Carine Richard-Van Maele, Chief, Tel: +41 (0)22 730 83 15, E-mail:

Gaëlle Sévenier, Press Officer, Tel: +41 (0) 22 730 8417, E-mail:  Website:

About ICSU

Founded in 1931, ICSU is a non-governmental organization with a global membership of national scientific bodies (119 Members, representing 139 countries) and International Scientific Unions (30 Members). The Council is frequently called upon to speak on behalf of the global scientific community and to act as an advisor in matters ranging from the environment to conduct in science. ICSU’s activities focus on three areas: planning and coordinating research; science for policy; and strengthening the Universality of Science.

About WMO

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1950 as the successor to the non-governmental International Meteorological Organization. It coordinates the activities of the Meteorological and Hydrological Services and relevant other research institutions of its 189 Member States and Territories. Early warnings provided by those Services are key for reducing weather-, climate- and water-related risks and the protection of life and property against natural disasters. WMO is the United Nations’ system authoritative voice on weather, climate and water.


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