IUCN unites its polar and marine work under one programme.
Fragile polar ecosystems require urgent attention particularly in the face of expanding human activities including shipping, tourism, fishing as well as oil and gas development.
The Global Marine and Polar Programme is encouraging and assisting countries, institutions and the private sector to conserve the integrity and diversity of the Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems.
Recent studies conducted in the Arctic concluded that ocean warming and loss of ice is expected to accelerate, exacerbating major physical, ecological, social and economic changes already underway. IUCN, together with partners, is exploring new ways to preserve and protect the Arctic marine environment in the face of new industrial activities.
Antarctica plays an important role in influencing global climate and oceanic circulation; it is important for research and monitoring which can provide greater understanding of the natural environment and ecological processes, including those modified by human activity. Antarctica is threatened by the expansion of fisheries in the oceans around Antarctica and continued harmful levels of fishing impacts including overfishing of certain fish species, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, increasing interest in invasive species as well as bioprospecting.