European Commission logo
English English
CORDIS - EU research results

Arctic and North Atlantic Security and Emergency Preparedness Network

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - ARCSAR (Arctic and North Atlantic Security and Emergency Preparedness Network)

Reporting period: 2021-09-01 to 2023-02-28

The overall aim of ARCSAR is to fast‐track uptake of existing innovations and knowledge by practitioners, predict future needs for innovation and knowledge, and identify priorities for security and standardization across the Arctic and North-Atlantic (ANA) region. To establish international best practice and develop innovation platforms for the professional security and emergency response institutions in the region.

ARCSAR will look into the need for enhanced measures to emergency response capability related to search and rescue (SAR) and environmental protection.
The focus is on increased interaction in targeted networks between the professional institutions, academia and the innovators in the preparedness service and equipment industry. To monitor research and innovation projects and recommend the uptake and the industrialization of results, express common requirements as regards innovations that could fill in capability and other gaps and improve their performance in the future, and indicate priorities as regards common capabilities, or interfaces among capabilities, requiring more standardization.

In more recent times, the Arctic has experienced a significant increase in human activity and interactions. The region is becoming a highly important economic trade route with increasing infrastructure. New shipping routes are opening up due to changes in the ice coverage, providing new routes for the transport of goods from east to west. Fossil fuel exploration and infrastructure development has resulted in a 63% increase in shipping activity between 2018 – 2019. With economic drivers such as reduced transit times and increased fuel efficiency available to ship owners, as the Arctic becomes more accessible, so too will the likelihood of increased shipping activity. Demands from consumers for extreme tourism has resulted in a significant increase in tourism activity and cruise ship traffic throughout the region. The increase of mainstream traffic within these regions pose a number of safety challenges. Environmental considerations such as variable and dynamic ice cover, ice build-up on vessels, harsh sea conditions, extreme climates, 24hr darkness during winter, and remoteness/disconnections from SAR infrastructure pose a number of major challenges for ANA stakeholders. The increased activity requires more open cooperation among governments, industry, and security organisations across many jurisdictions.
During the first and second reporting period, ARCSAR has:
- Continued to situate ARCSAR within existing international fora of key networks for ANA region in emergency preparedness, reduce overlap and establish unique competencies and domains. ARCSAR well known in Arctic circles and diplomacy. Results from ARCSAR are exploited on high-level forums.
- Updated the ARCSAR website and network platform to expand impact and provide important information about the project
- Established a social media presence by creating an ARCSAR Twitter and Instagram feed, Facebook page, YouTube channel and LinkedIn account.
- Hosted a high profile event, showcasing the ARCSAR project to a global audience
- Launched and updated the Innovation Arena.
- Held several workshops and open meetings, including 3 Innovation and Knowledge Exchange events, practitioner workshops, joint training and stakeholder events.
- Hosted two joint tabletop exercises (TTX) providing participants the opportunity to work through a disaster scenario requiring cooperation, trust, and coordination between incident responders and the industry
- Mapped knowledge and innovation needs.
- Mapped sources for uptake of innovation and knowledge.
- Mapped barriers for innovation and knowledge exchange.
- Developed 4 policy briefs from the ARCSAR results.
- Developed foresight analysis including a categorization and risk analysis of potential maritime disasters, incidents, and threats in the ANA region.
- Started planning ARCSAR live catastrophic exercise in order to test mapped innovations/gaps in procedures and methodology.
In the last years members of the media, government and NGO representatives and business and enterprise organizations, a total of over seventy different entities, have attended and/or participated in ARCSAR events.
- The Innovation Arena (IA) has been developed and launched. A platform where new advancements can be proposed and promoted, challenges can be diagnosed, and Arctic specific best practices can be shared.
- Workshops and meetings have addressed technology needs and improvements including satellite-based services, cold climate tests of rescue equipment, cold climate oil spill response and sharing of situational awareness and broadband communication, physiological responses during cold exposure, challenges of operating in sea ice, and how to engage indigenous peoples and volunteers in emergencies. ARCSAR has conducted a Mapping of Practitioner Needs for Innovation and Knowledge Exchange. Based on the mapping, the ARCSAR project has conducted events corresponding to the identified gap and needs in order to faciliate the uptake of innovation and knowledge.
- An instruction video for helicopter rescue has been developed and produced, based on ARCSAR practitioner’s' workshop discussions where a need for knowledge on how to safely perform helicopter winching (hoisting) operations on a vessel was identified.
- An online Arctic On Scene Coordination (OSC) course available to the cruise industry has been developed by two of the ARCSAR members, also based on needs communicated through the ARCSAR workshops
- ARCSAR has hosted two table top exercises – involving expedition cruise operators, Arctic search and rescue (SAR) responders and other relevant stakeholders. The events allowed participants to engage in frank discussions and gain valuable insight into the perspective and operational mode of the entities they will deal with in the event of an emergency. The event is aimed at enhancing dialogue and cooperation between the cruise industry and the SAR sector in the Arctic. It also features presentations with updates on the latest developments in maritime preparedness, policy, technology and SAR cooperation. This contributes to the mapping of uptake of innovation but also to building trust between the practitioners and the industry.
- Developed foresight analysis provides tools for practitioners for strategic decision making in risk assessment and root cause analysis techniques for operational learning from failures.
- ARCSAR has established links and collaborated with a number of Arctic themed EU projects and other Arctic networks. The project is ative in the EU Polar Cluster. The project also collaborated with other relevant Arctic projects including SEDNA, KEPLER, AI-ARC, and ARMNet projects, as well as two Arctic Council working groups and the Arctic Coast Guard Forum.
- ARCSAR has been an inspiration for further EU projects including the AI-ARC. The Automatic Arctic Sea Vessels Anomality Detection: AI-ARC project and solution received funding from EU H2020, and was established based on the ARCSAR network and results.
ARCSAR Network at kick-off meeting