Our Mission

Our Mission is to safeguard the biodiversity within the international waters surrounding the North Pole, the Central Arctic Ocean (‘CAO’), and the associated ecosystem services for which the region is responsible, by minimising the avoidable risks to the survival, health and abundance of the native and migrating non-native species.

To maximise the resilience of the region’s marine life it is imperative additional direct human stressors are minimised because the CAO is the world’s fastest changing environment due to global greenhouse gas emissions and all the indirect stressors these are introducing.

Our Aim is to catalyse the processes whereby the optimum protective measures are agreed through an international legal instrument by 2030, the most comprehensive solution being to establish ‘Fully Protected Marine Protected Area’ status for this unique and threatened marine habitat.

Consequently, our Objectives are:

  • To generate scientific research, analysis and insight about the wildlife, ecosystem, and ecosystem services of the region that informs the development of conservation measures.
  • To deliver special interest and public education programmes that build awareness and understanding of the rationale behind the conservation effort.
  • To advocate for the necessary conservation measures within the ocean policy-making community.

Our Work-Streams

Scientific Research

To generate scientific research, analysis and insight about the wildlife, ecosystem, and ecosystem services of the region that informs the development of conservation measures.

Through the Foundation’s partnership with the world-class marine research faculty of the University of Exeter (UK), the Central Arctic Ocean Research Unit was established this year, with some of its leading marine researchers and policy-influencers engaged with the Research Unit’s vision.

The Research Unit’s primary focus is the Central Arctic Ocean, and its core research themes are aligned with the Foundation’s research objective and include:

  • Changing Oceanography
  • Biodiversity & Habitats
  • Ecosystem Services
  • Emerging Stressors & Risks
  • Governance & Conservation Policy

Over the next eight years the ambition is to deliver a £30 million research effort that shifts the dial towards appropriate conservation action.

The need to begin such a major research programme is urgent for two reasons. Firstly, the sheer speed of sea-ice retreat has been such that hardly any research vessels have yet accessed the now seasonally-open waters, so the necessary information is in short supply; and secondly, because building the necessary body of research inevitably takes time – and the Foundation’s deadline for an international legal instrument is 2030.

Public
Education

To deliver special interest and public education programmes that build awareness and understanding of the rationale behind the conservation effort.

Few people witness first-hand the wildlife and seascape of the Central Arctic Ocean (CAO) which goes some way to explaining why it is the least disturbed, least explored, and at this critical juncture in its management unfortunately, the least understood marine environment in the world.

Awareness and understanding of the role and value of the ecosystem and ecosystem services of the CAO is of special relevance to the people and nations living closest to the CAO, especially the circumpolar Indigenous Peoples who are all too aware of their changing environment, as they are directly impacted by these services in the future.

However, the Foundation’s educational work will be engaging with increasingly international audiences around the world, not simply because what happens in the far North will have impacts for everyone, but because the CAO is comprised entirely of ‘international waters’ making it a body of water for which all nations have an equal stake in its future.

Conservation Advocacy

To advocate for the necessary conservation measures within the ocean policy-making community.

The Foundation’s advocacy work catalyses the processes within the ocean policy-making community to minimise surface-vessel activity and the associated impacts on the wildlife and ecosystem services in the Central Arctic Ocean (CAO). Its objective is to establish Marine Protected Area status for these international waters, with ‘Fully Protected’ status for the MPA providing the highest level of protection for the Central Arctic Ocean Marine Reserve

The majority of the envisaged protections for the wildlife can be secured by: upgrading the existing voluntary international no-commercial fishing agreement (managed by the Arctic Council); agreeing shipping lanes for an Offshore Northern Sea Route, and upgrading international shipping’s existing Polar Code (both managed by the UN International Maritime Organization); and agreeing an exclusion zone for mineral exploration and extraction in the CAO.

And then, with the High Seas Treaty’s new biodiversity component (Areas of Marine Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction, aka BBNJ) ratified, the aforementioned agreements can be brought together through an international legal instrument to establish the Central Arctic Ocean Marine Reserve - the largest marine reserve in the world.

No other conservation organisation exists focused exclusively on bringing about the protection of the biodiversity, ecosystem, and ecosystem services within the international waters around the North Pole.

Organisation

The 90 North Foundation is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) registered in 2021 with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity No 1194573). The Foundation is governed by its Constitution, available on request from the Charity Commission.

No other organisation is focused exclusively on the protection of the biodiversity and ecosystem services within the international waters around the North Pole, the Central Arctic Ocean.

It is this focus, together with its independence from other internal agendas, its scientific evidence, and its collaborative approach with the key stakeholders, notably in the fishing, shipping and mining communities, that underpins its work to secure protection for these waters.