InterRidge is pleased to announce a Letter of Agreement (LoA) to be signed with GRID-Arendal, a collaborating center of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The GRID (Global Resource Information Database) center, recognized worldwide for its role in bridging the gap between science and policy, is based in Arendal, Norway
(http://www.grida.no/). The objective of the LoA is to establish a framework for cooperation between UNEP/GRID-Arendal and InterRidge. This will be the first LoA in which InterRidge is a signatory. LoA’s are routinely used at UNEP/GRID-Arendal for non-binding expressions of cooperation.
The mission of UNEP/GRID-Arendal is “to provide environmental information, communications and capacity building services for information management and assessment,” with a vision that includes being “a leading centre for marine environment issues and global environmental information.” As explained by Yannick Beaudoin, Geoscientist at UNEP/GRID-Arendal, “Through a formal Memorandum of Understanding involving UNEP and the Government of Norway, UNEP/GRID-Arendal is an Official Collaborating Center of UNEP. This essentially means that our program of work is dedicated to supporting the activities and priorities of UNEP, but we remain an administratively independent organization.” Their Marine Programme is working on the UNEP Shelf Programme, marine protected areas of the high seas, a global assessment of methane gas hydrates, and a proposed assessment of Pacific deep-sea minerals. The Marine Programme’s interests align well with several of the InterRidge Working Groups, including Seafloor Mineralization and Vent Ecology.
The LoA will promote cooperation in the form of information exchange, workshops, and collaborative ventures. Both parties will benefit from increased communication and interaction in activities of mutual interest such as providing scientific information to international organizations and decision makers (e.g., UNESCO, International Seabed Authority, NGOs). InterRidge will benefit from the access to UNEP/GRID-Arendal’s outreach capacity and involvement with their University of the Sea programme to implement a new cruise berth program proposed by the incoming InterRidge Chairs. Jon Copley, incoming InterRidge Co-Chair, said that the LoA “fits well with how we see InterRidge continuing to develop in the next office term (particularly our goals for reaching out to policymakers).”