International mobilization

How do we take action in terms of mobilization?

Faced with the accelerating melting of glaciers, the Ice Memory Foundation calls to strengthen collective efforts to collect ice cores urgently

The Ice Memory Foundation aims to unite scientific and political institutions, at a global level to lead the collective efforts in order to constitute the Ice Memory Heritage.

A - Advocating at the international and political levels

Ice Memory Foundation, supported by UNESCO and recognised by the Antarctic Treaty System, addresses nations and international institutions to raise awareness of the importance to preserve today the ice memory for future generations.
We call on nations to support the international Ice Memory initiative, in particular to:

  • facilitate and support, through diplomacy, logistics and assistance to their scientific community, access to their glaciers by national or international scientific teams to extract ice-cores for science and for the Ice Memory heritage,
  • support the very long-term preservation of heritage ice cores in a dedicated sanctuary in Antarctica,

From 2015 to 2023, our advocacy work has already resulted in:

Meeting Unesco 2017

Acknowledgement from UNESCO 

The French and Italian National Commissions for UNESCO granted their patronage in 2016 and 2017 respectively. In 2017, the UNESCO Executive Board (represented by 58 member states) acknowledged the scientific and cultural heritage significance of glaciers, as well as the relevance of the Ice Memory initiative, and encouraged the international community to take swift action.

In 2018, the UNESCO Executive Board, through a 2nd decision, highlighted the urgency of safeguarding the last remaining ice in Africa, as well as the role and special legal status established by the Antarctic Treaty.

Logo Unesco Commission française Logo Unesco Commission italienne


Acknowledgement from the Antarctic Treaty

The storage of ice cores in Antarctica requires a major commitment within the Antarctic Treaty system, a scientific evaluation and a collective agreement by all parties. The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting acknowledged the importance of Ice Memory in 2018 and will be making sure that the project follows the rules regarding the Madrid Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.

Since 2018, and at each ATCM - Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, our work consists in informing all Parties, through French and Italian delegations, about the evolution of the programme, the operating mode for the design and construction of the future storage cave.

Polar Summit

Acknowledgement from 35 countries gathered at the One Polar Planet Summit 

With the objective to step into action for the cryosphere on the international level, the One Planet Polar Summit - took place in November 2023 in Paris, on the initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron. The Summit brought together experts and leaders from over forty glacier and polar nations for the first time. A non-binding declaration titled the “Paris Call for Glaciers and Poles” included a request for support for the Ice Memory initiative, and called for support for the principle of a future Decade of Glacier and Polar Research.

The French President Macron committed to allocating one billion euros to inter- disciplinary and collaborative polar research and infrastructures before 2030. The Paris Call is recognized and supported by 35 signatory countries.

An Ice Memory Research Chair for a sustainable and international governance

Constituting the Ice Memory heritage involves a number of actions on diplomatic and institutional levels, and raises multiple legal issues, most of them unprecedented and/or not covered by existing international law.  Questions arise in the area of ownership of heritage ice cores collected in different countries around the world, their long-term preservation in an Antarctic sanctuary, the protection of reference data and, more broadly, the international governance of the Ice Memory heritage.

The Ice Memory International Law and Governance Chair, launched in 2023 for 3 years and led by the Law Research Center of Université Grenoble Alpes, aims to establish proposals for filling existing legal gaps and to propose a legal framework for the development of the Ice Memory heritage.

C - Calling on the scientific community for contributions

The international community of  scientists' engagement is crucial to constitute the Ice Memory heritage. IPICS (International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences) has recognised Ice Memory since 2015 and encourages the glaciologists to contribute. Ice Memory Foundation leads the collective efforts to drill and preserve as fast as possible ice cores from selected glaciers. International glaciologists are committed to supporting the Ice Memory challenges and contributing to its strategic and operational development. Scientists from Russia, North America, China, Japan, Brazil, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Italy and France have jointly validated the principles of the initiative and engaged to contribute.

Get together

We call on the contribution from the international community of scientists to succeed in this race against time. In the framework of the Ice Memory Protocol, operations are labeled. In the near future, these labeled ice cores will be stored in Antarctica and feed a unique, global and open access Ice Memory database, which will be a valuable resource for scientific research, both now and in the future.
Published on  October 11, 2019
Updated on February 20, 2024