Chilling realities: Assessing gaps in global leadership to preserve the poles and glaciers
This paper critically assesses the outcomes of the One Planet-Polar Summit (November 2023) and the related “Paris Call for Glaciers and Poles”. While taking the initiative of this first summit on a crucial issue must be commended, and while scientists, civil society and governments agreed on important topics such as Indigenous engagement and increased financial mobilisation, the Paris Call fell short of many of the stakeholders’ expectations.
First, the Paris Call lacks tangible commitments and support from major players such as China and the Arctic countries, including the United States. Second, findings reveal critical disparities between science and civil society recommendations on one side and political commitments on the other side regarding areas such as greenhouse gas reductions, marine protection, deep-sea mining, and fisheries.
The paper recommends strengthening efforts to address the urgency of the observed environmental challenges. It also emphasises the need for sustained collaboration between civil society and governments to enhance the protection of the polar regions and ensure the effective implementation of the political commitments made in that regard in upcoming events, such as the second Polar Summit planned for October 2024 and the third United Nations Ocean Conference (UNOC) in June 2025.