Thorsteinn GunnarssonAt their meeting this week, AMAP, a working group of the Arctic Council, appointed Thorsteinn Gunnarsson of ‘The Icelandic Centre for Research’ (RANNIS), and IASC Council Member for Iceland, as the new Chair of the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON).

A warm welcome to Thorsteinn!

Christine Daae Olseng of the Research Council of Norway stepped down as chair on 1st July. Thanks to Christine for her hard work!

The Arctic Council (AC) 2011 Nuuk declaration decided that the AC, through AMAP, appoints the chair of SAON. The SAON process was initiated by the AC and has been underway since early 2007. SAON's purpose is to support and strengthen the development of multinational engagement for sustained and coordinated pan-Arctic observing and data sharing systems that serve societal needs, particularly related to environmental, social, economic and cultural issues. SAON promotes the vision of well-defined observing networks that enable users to have access to free, open and high-quality data that will realize pan-Arctic and global value-added services and provide societal benefits. Its goal is to enhance Arctic-wide observing activities by facilitating partnerships and synergies among existing observing and data networks (“building blocks”), and promoting sharing and synthesis of data and information. SAON also is committed to facilitating the inclusion of Arctic indigenous people in observing activities, in particular by promoting community-based monitoring (CBM) efforts. The SAON Board, co-chaired by IASC Vice-President Larry Hinzman, is currently working on a new strategic framework.