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ASUS: Arctic SUStainability: A Synthesis of Knowledge


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Type of project
Project theme
Education & Outreach
Project topic
Education & Outreach

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Science / project summary

This award provides support to U.S. researchers participating in a project competitively selected by a 14-country initiative on global change research through the Belmont Forum. The Belmont Forum is a high level group of the world's major and emerging funders of global environmental change research and international science councils. It aims to accelerate delivery of the international environmental research most urgently needed to remove critical barriers to sustainability by aligning and mobilizing international resources. Each partner country provides funding for their researchers within a consortium to alleviate the need for funds to cross international borders. This approach facilitates effective leveraging of national resources to support excellent research on topics of global relevance best tackled through a multinational approach, recognizing that global challenges need global solutions. Working together in this Collaborative Research Action, the partner agencies have provided support for research projects that utilize existing Arctic observing systems, datasets and models to evaluate key sustainability challenges and opportunities in the Arctic region, to innovate new sustainability science theory and approaches to these challenges and opportunities, and support decision-making towards a sustainable Arctic environment. This award provides support for the U.S. researchers to cooperate in consortia that consist of partners from at least three of the participating countries and that bring together natural scientists, social scientists and end users (e.g., policy makers, regulators, NGOs, communities and industry). Arctic Sustainability: A Synthesis of Knowledge (ASUS) unites a team of diverse expertise from Canada, Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the US to develop a framework that highlights the state of current understanding, best practices, and metrics for achieving sustainability in the Arctic. NSF provides support to the US team members of the ASUS consortium. The effort takes into account not only the social, demographic, economic, and environmental aspects of resilience in creating this framework, but looks at these across a range of scales using an inclusive process that engages a breadth of Arctic stakeholders. The team leverages existing investments in Arctic sustainability, observing, and development to inform the eight work packages (1: Sustainable Arctic Regions and Communities, 2: Sustainable Arctic Environments, 3: Sustainable Arctic Cultures, 4: Sustainable Arctic Economies, 5: Sustainable Arctic Cities, 6: Sustainable Resources, 7: Monitoring of Sustainability, 8: Governance for Sustainability). The team will gather and communicate progress through the vast networks of international Arctic scientific associations. The synthesis products from this project will be disseminated through workshops and through educational and web-based materials. Key Arctic stakeholder, such as the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council, will be considered when constructing products and materials. The team will conduct this synthesis through a managed constellation of centers and a committee structure to ensure continued communication and coordination of this complex, multi-national effort.