Strategic Polar Plan 2016-2020 Focuses on economic/societal relevance

1 December 2014

The new strategy for the Netherlands Polar Programme (NPP) has been published. In the period 2016 – 2020 the NPP wants to focus on economic and societal interests. However, the realisation of the strategic plan is dependent on an expanded continuation of the funding.

This strategic plan wants to be a building block for the total polar policy of the Dutch government. In the current strategy period, the NPP is being funded by four government ministries: Education, Culture and Science; Infrastructure and the Environment; Foreign Affairs; and Economic Affairs. In addition, NWO is also funding the NPP. For the forthcoming strategy period, NWO hopes that these ministries will increase their contributions and that contributions will come from industry as well. The subjects within the NPP tie in with three of the top sectors, namely Water, Logistics and Energy. The strategic plan therefore envisages that companies will be involved in the organisation of funding rounds.

Economic activities are expected to increase in the North Pole region. Opportunities exist for Dutch industry but these also raise issues about the protection of the vulnerable polar region. Changes in the polar regions also have consequences for the Netherlands, for example in the form of sea level rises due to the melting of the ice caps on Greenland and Antarctica. As a result of these developments the demand for 'polar expertise' is growing. Knowledge from the NPP must contribute to a responsible decision making about activities in the polar regions.

International focus

Polar research allows the Netherlands to participate in large international consultations and for its voice to be heard despite the relatively small size of our country and our polar programme. For example, keeping the consultative status of the Netherlands within the Antarctic Treaty is partly dependent on the realisation of scientific polar research. Based on that vision in which the polar regions are not viewed from the perspective of a national interest but more from the perspective of an international responsibility for their sustainable management, international collaboration has been given a strong emphasis in the polar programme. The NPP has set up collaborations with partners in countries like the United Kingdom, Germany and France.


Source: NWO