COP23 – Arctic links to Small Island Developing States

BAS Press Release

British Antarctic Survey scientists at 2017 COP23 climate event in Bonn


This week (10-11 November) leading scientists and experts from EU-funded research programmes engage with political leaders from the Pacific Ocean and the Arctic to examine the economic and social consequences of climate change on Small Island States (SIDS).


Scientific researchers, economists and social scientists from a cluster of EU-funded programmes are mounting discussion events to stimulate new thinking and dialogue that will benefit people living on the front line of climate change.


Session organiser and polar sea-ice expert Dr Jeremy Wilkinson from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is the project lead for the EU-funded ICE-ARC programme. He says:


“The Bonn meeting gives us an opportunity for direct engagement with political leaders from two regions that are inextricably linked, and most affected by, global climate change. The events hosted by the German Development Agency (Deutsche Gessellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GIZ),  EU-PolarNet and ICE-ARC – examine the science, impact, opportunities and potential conflicts arising from Arctic climate change to the Small Island States.”


The events are:

  • Friday 10 November at the Fiji Pavilion: ‘Arctic and Small Island States. Keynote speeches representing both regions from Hon Inia Seruiratu, the Fiji Minister for Agriculture, Rural & Maritime and Aqqaluk Lynge, former President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council and member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.


  • Saturday 11 November at the GIZ headquarters: ‘Adaptation Now! But How? How climate research in the Polar Regions is influencing adaptation strategies for Small Island Developing States (SIDS)’. Keynote speeches from HE Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati and Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, former president of COP20 and former Peruvian Environment Minister.




Issued on behalf of EU-PolarNet, ICE-ARC and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zumammenarbeit (GIZ) by the Press Office at British Antarctic Survey.


To arrange interviews or obtain background information please contact:

Athena Dinar, Senior Press & PR Manager, British Antarctic Survey, Tel: +44 (0)1223 221 441; Mobile: +44 7909 00 85 16; Email:


Session details:

1. High-level session at the Fiji Pavilion, World Conference Centre, Bonn

Arctic and small island States: Two regions inextricably linked through climate change

Fiji Pavilion, Friday, November 10, 2017, 10:45 – 11:45 am

Aim: This session provides an opportunity for influential leaders to demonstrate the dramatic climate driven changes that are occurring in these fundamentally different regions, explain why the international community must increase the ambition of its mitigation and adaptation efforts, and provide their vision for outcome of the COP23.



      SIDS: Climate champion. Hon. Inia Seruiratu, Minister for Agriculture, Rural & Maritime Development, and National Disaster Management. Decisions, actions financing mechanisms to support adaptation (10 min)


To reiterate the decisions and actions needed at the COP23, especially the timetable associated with possible financing mechanisms that could support adaptation.


      Greenland: Aqqaluk Lynge, former President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, Member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: Political, cultural and economic ramifications of man-made climate (10 min)


To outline the political, cultural and economic ramifications of man-made climate change to these regions, highlight the resilience of their people, and explain how the regions can contribute to informed decision making regarding adaptation challenges.


Expert Panel

Scientific experts:

  • Deon E. Terblanche (WMO): How Arctic change impacts the weather beyond the Arctic through feedbacks with the rest of the planet. (5 min)
  • Angelika Humbert (AWI): Latest research on Arctic/Antarctic research with a focus on sea-level rise under a Paris Agreement (i.e. 1.5°C to 2°C) and what the region will look like under a ‘business as usual scenario’. (5 min)
  • Ulric Trotz (Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre): Building capacity for climate change adaptation within SIDS through the Green Climate fund and other initiatives. (5 min)


  • Manuel Pulgar-Vidal (Head of WWF’s Climate and Energy Practice, president of COP20 in Lima, former Peruvian Environment Minister): Consequences for COP23. (5 min)

Format:           Two high-level keynote presentations, Expert Panel presentations, Q&A session, and comment on necessary outcomes of COP23.

Moderation:   Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

2. Side event in the GIZ headquarters, Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 36, 53113 Bonn

Adaptation Now! But how? How climate research in the Polar Regions is influencing adaptation strategies for Small island Developing States (SIDS)

When: Saturday, November 11 2017, 10:00 – 12:30pm

Where: GIZ Headquarters, Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 36, 53113 Bonn (15 min walk from the Bonn Zone)

Registration: No accreditation is needed for this event, but please register beforehand


The Paris Agreement brings all nations into a common cause; to provide national pledges to cut emissions and keep global temperatures to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. It also recognises the need to strengthen the ability of countries to adapt to the risks related to climate change.


Millions of people living in Small Island Developing States and low-lying countries are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts, especially sea-level rise. The Agreement provides different climate finance mechanisms to allow these countries to adapt to the adverse effects and reduce the impacts of climate change. Informed decision-making on the appropriate strategies and policies for adaptation and resilience building requires, more than ever before, a profound scientific basis.


Europe is performing research focused on understanding rapid changes in both Polar Regions, and determining the impact these changes have at both a regional and global level. Such research provides a solid foundation from which we can better understand the dynamics of global climate change, and provides new insights about the relevance of the Arctic and Antarctic regions within the global climate system. For example, the melting of glaciers and ice sheets in the Polar Regions are a major contributor to sea-level rise. As a consequence, Small Island Developing States and Arctic States are two regions inextricably linked by man-made climate change. COP 23 provides an excellent opportunity to bring together representatives from SIDS, the Arctic and polar research.


Alfred-Wegner-Institut, the British Antarctic Survey, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit together with the EU funded projects ICE-ARC and EU-PolarNet, have therefore taken the initiative to convene a side event to COP23 to bring these communities together in the sprint of cooperation and understanding. This side-event will provide an excellent opportunity to better understand the adaptation challenges and the possible financing mechanisms required to support resilience building and adaptation (or even migration) processes. By bringing together science, policy and society we will learn more about the triggers of global sea-level rise and the impacts especially on Arctic and Small Island Developing States.


Part 1: Introduction and keynote 10:00 – 10:45

Introduction – GIZ


Turning commitment into actionHE Anote Tong (former President of Kiribati, member of the Global Climate Action Leaders Network)
COP23 and beyond: Engaging the global community Manuel Pulgar-Vidal (Head of WWF’s Climate and Energy Practice, president of COP20 in Lima, former Peruvian Environment Minister)

Keynotes on the importance of dramatically scaling up action, in order to reach the 1.5°C climate goal, and the vulnerability of small island states and the Polar Regions towards the effects of climate change.  There is a global responsibility to invest in the right research to ensure the best decisions are available to enable governments and civil society living in climate-vulnerable small island states to live with, or adapt to, environmental change.


Part 2: Regional presentations 10:45 – 11:30


  • David Vaughan (British Antarctic Survey, Director of Science) Scientific background: Ice-sheet and glacier retreat – Drivers, scientific evidence and projections

Small Island Developing States

  • Ulric Trotz (Deputy Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre) Scientific background: Vulnerability and adaptation of SIDS

Part 3: Panel discussion on “How can science and civil society work together on adaptation strategies?” 11:30 – 12:30



Angelika Humbert Alfred-Wegener-Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research
Ulric Trotz Deputy Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre
Ricarda Winkelmann Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Dmitry Yumashev Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business,
Lancaster University


British Antarctic Survey (BAS), an institute of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), delivers and enables world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions. Its skilled science and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica and the Arctic, work together to deliver research that uses the Polar Regions to advance our understanding of Earth as a sustainable planet. Through its extensive logistic capability and know-how BAS facilitates access for the British and international science community to the UK polar research operation. Numerous national and international collaborations, combined with an excellent infrastructure help sustain a world leading position for the UK in Antarctic affairs. For more information visit


ICE-ARC (Ice, Climate, Economics – Arctic Research on Change) is an £11.5M, four-year programme of research (2014-2017), which investigates the environmental, economic and social impacts of a changing Arctic. Physicists, chemists, biologist, economists and sociologists from 23 institutes and 11 countries across Europe, Greenland and Russia have to study and better understand the multifaceted impact of Arctic change.


EU-PolarNet is the world’s largest consortium of expertise and infrastructure for polar research. Twenty-two of Europe’s internationally respected multi-disciplinary research institutions represent seventeen countries. From 2015-2020, EU-PolarNet will develop and deliver a strategic framework and mechanisms to prioritise science, optimise the use of polar infrastructure, and broker new partnerships that will lead to the co-design of polar research projects that deliver tangible benefits for society.

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Last updated on 10-02-2021 14:22