Brought together in Paris on 10 November during the One Planet - Polar Summit, as part of the Paris Peace Forum, at the initiative of the President of the French Republic and in partnership with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO);
1. We have seen the Scientific Statement (annexed to the Call) from researchers from all over the world specializing in the cryosphere, i.e. regions of Earth’s surface where water is in solid form: including the vast ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, sea ice in the Arctic and Southern Oceans, snow cover, mountain glaciers and permafrost. These regions, which cover about 10% of the Earth’s surface and are home to Indigenous Peoples, populations and unique ecosystems, are among the areas most affected by the climate crisis, with implications for the rest of the planet. These experts convened at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle on 8-9 November 2023 and highlighted the worsening of the many local, regional and global consequences associated with shrinking of the cryosphere. Following on from the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate in 2019, the IPCC reports in 2021 (The Physical Science Basis) and 2022 (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability), the experts’ updated overview which they presented (and which is annexed to this declaration) leads us to raise the alarm about the scale and the speed of the melting ice and thawing permafrost and the risk of crossing thresholds and tipping points, which have increased with the continued rise in global greenhouse emissions.
2. We have noted the almost irreversible retreat of some 200,000 glaciers, located in Africa, the Americas, Antarctica, Asia, Europe and Oceania. The years 2021 and 2022 saw massive ice loss in mountain glaciers, with ice loss rates 20% higher on average than the previous decade. It is expected that at least half of these glaciers will be lost by 2100. We have recorded surface temperature increases in the Arctic of up to four times the global average increase over the past forty years and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica have experienced massive ice loss. This loss has increased four-fold in 30 years, thus contributing to global mean sea level rising at an increasing rate. Arctic sea ice has been rapidly declining over the last 45 years; it reached the fifth lowest minimum in September 2023, with the extent of multiyear sea ice being the second lowest since 1985. In February 2023, Southern Ocean ice reached the lowest extent ever recorded, and sea-ice loss in the Antarctic region leads to an increased risk of reproductive failure in emperor penguins and other dramatic ecological changes. Without rapid global mitigation efforts, upper estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from thawing permafrost during the course of this century could significantly reduce the ability to limit warming to 1.5 degrees C.
3. We emphasize that while the effects of climate change in the cryosphere have environmental, economic and social implications that are local, regional and global, their cause is mainly linked to activities taking place outside these regions. We are also well aware of the feedback effects by which climate change itself is accelerated and intensified due to the warming of the cryosphere, particularly the permafrost thaw, and of the negative impacts on biodiversity.
4. We are aware of the serious consequences and the risk of disasters that stem from the shrinking of the cryosphere due to global warming: The loss of high elevation glaciers will have disastrous effects on rivers, agriculture and electricity production, thus affecting food and water security for up to two billion people, notably in South Asia; and hundreds of millions of people globally living in areas that are at risk of coastal flooding due to sea level rise.
5. We are also aware of the negative impacts of climate change and melting of the cryosphere on ecosystems and biodiversity. On a global scale, climate change related extinctions have been estimated to be 5% in a scenario of 2 °C of warming and to drastically increase to 16% under a 4.3 °C of warming scenario (IPBES 2019). In the Polar Regions, effects include loss of habitat, disruption of food patterns for migratory species, shifts of distributions, changes to species composition and food-webs and increased risks of invasive non-native species. In the Arctic such changes also have severe impacts on the people that live in the Arctic and especially for the livelihoods and food and water security of indigenous peoples.
6. In light of these indisputable and alarming findings, on which there is consensus among the international community, we are thus launching the Paris Call for Glaciers and Poles.
• Against a backdrop of the three-pronged challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, we emphasize that we have no option but to cooperate with each other to preserve the cryosphere.
• We are calling for more in-depth scientific research on the cryosphere without delay, better integration of the effects of cryosphere changes into economic decision-making and increased education on the issues relating to this:
o By supporting disciplinary and interdisciplinary research on the cryosphere, taking into account the knowledge of local communities and Indigenous Peoples;
o By encouraging nations and all relevant organizations such as the European Union to continue to work together in the scientific field, to jointly finance research, monitoring and protection programmes for the cryosphere, to support data sharing to allow all countries access to the latest information on the state of the cryosphere and its specific ecosystems;
o By working together over the long term and providing all strong support for ambitious international programs on the cryosphere including the Fifth International Polar Year in 2032-33.
o By supporting initiatives such as the Ice Memory Project, which aims to collect and preserve ice cores from glaciers at risk of disappearance, thus safeguarding the critical environmental data preserved in the ice;
o By giving consideration to the idea of a Decade of glacier and polar / Cryosphere science, from 2025 to 2035;
o By encouraging education on polar and glacier issues, by highlighting the International Year of Glaciers’ Preservation in 2025 and World Glacier Days on 21 March each year, and raising public awareness of the importance of glaciers, snow and ice in the climate system and hydrological cycle, as well as the unique features of polar biodiversity and the threats facing it.
• We are calling for the international efforts underway to be scaled up:
o To ensure faster reduction of greenhouse gas emissions based on a path in line with the Paris Agreement’s goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C, and to promote best practices in terms of adaptation;
o To swiftly and fully implement the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and to achieve all of its goals and targets, which inter alia sets out: that by 2030 at least 30% of the world’s terrestrial and inland water areas and of coastal and marine areas are effectively conserved and managed; that at least 30% of areas of degraded terrestrial and inland waters and marine and coastal ecosystems are under effective restoration; to stop the human-induced extinction of known threatened species; to increase the level of financial resources from all sources, mobilizing by 2030 at least 200 billion US$ per year;
o To encourage States to join and support the full implementation of the United Nations Agreement on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) adopted in June 2023 and which has opened for signature on 20 September 2023, with a view to its early entry into force. In particular we encourage States to work on the identification of high seas marine protected areas and the member States of the Commission for the Conservation of the Antarctic Marine Living Resources to designate a representative system of marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean;
o To promote and seek to apply the highest sustainability standards regarding all activities having an impact on glaciers and sea ice, including tourism and the exploration and production of hydrocarbons and mining resources where allowed.
o To implement the Decision 6 reached at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting 45 in Helsinki (2023) to start a dedicated process to develop a comprehensive and consistent framework for the regulation of tourism and other non-governmental activities with a view to minimizing its impacts. Tourism operators that are signatories to the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism should aim to implement this over the next decade, and to act to preserve the relevant sites;
o To structure a coalition of coastal cities and regions by the Third UN Ocean Conference (UNOC) co-hosted by France and Costa Rica in June 2025. This coalition would bring together the communities sheltering most of the Earth’s population directly affected by rising sea levels by 2100. We encourage participants of the 9th Our Ocean Conference in Greece to make ambitious announcements regarding the ocean – climate nexus.
7. We welcome the creation by Chile and Iceland of the high-level group ‘Ambition on Melting Ice (AMI): On Sea-level Rise and Mountain Water Resources’ which now has 24 members. We encourage all interested States to join the high-level group. This Ambition on Melting Ice group will meet every year at ministerial level during the UNFCCC COP and for the next time at COP 28, in order to share knowledge and focus international efforts on preserving the global cryosphere.
The Paris Call has been endorsed by the following countries and International Organizations:
Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Chile, Chyprus, Comoros, Croatia, Estonia, France, Germany, Guinea, Italy, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Marocco, Monaco, Montenegro, Mozambique, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Singapor, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Uruguay
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
On the occasion of the One Planet Polar Summit, France, Italy and Netherlands joined with other countries the ‘Ambition on Melting Ice (AMI) high-level group : on Sea-level Rise and Mountain Water Resources’, launched November 16, 2022. Co-chaired by Chile et Island, the AMI counts today amongst its signatories the following countries :
Austria, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Georgia, Iceland, Italy, Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Mexico, Monaco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zeland, Norway, Peru, Romania, Samoa, Senegal, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Vanuatu