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Adelie penguin populations, like this one at Cape Crozier, is the focus of ornithologist David Ainley and his teams research
Photo Credit: Mike Lucibella
Adelie penguin populations, like this one at Cape Crozier, is the focus of ornithologist David Ainley and his team’s research.

New Tracking Devices Let Researchers Know What Penguins are Up To in the Winter

By Michael Lucibella, Antarctic Sun Editor

Posted May 17, 2017

A number of Adelie penguins around the Ross Sea are sporting sophisticated new leg bands this year.

David Ainley and Jean Pennycook attach a new location tracking band to a penguin's leg

Photo Credit: Jean Pennycook

David Ainley and Jean Pennycook attach a new location tracking band to a penguin’s leg.

A number of Adelie penguins around the Ross Sea are sporting sophisticated new leg bands this year.

Ornithologist David Ainley and his team attached new electronic tags to about 150 penguins to record where each penguin goes and how deeply it dives under water. The tagging project ties in with a broader effort that he’s been spearheading for 20 years, monitoring Adelie penguin populations and demographics around Ross Island.

Already the tagging has yielded a rather surprising scientific result: though there have been annual variations, overall the average annual extent of the sea ice around the Ross Sea has been increasing for the last 30 years. However, the number of penguins in the region haven’t been doing what Ainley predicted.

The new bands can tell researchers where a penguin travels using only the sun, and pressure sensors to see how deep they dive

Photo Credit: Jean Pennycook

The new bands can tell researchers where a penguin travels using only the sun, and pressure sensors to see how deep they dive.

“We were expecting the population size to be decreasing because the sea ice is expanding, but it’s not,” Ainley said. “The population isn’t decreasing, in fact it’s increasing rather dramatically.”

He added that the penguins are thriving likely because too much commercial fishing has dramatically reduced the population of their biggest competitors, the Antarctic toothfish. Both Adelie penguins and the toothfish feast on the sardine-sized silverfish, but as the numbers of toothfish have declined, it’s made for easier pickings for the Adelies.

“Chicks raised with a high prevalence of fish in their diets become much more robust than those just raised on krill,” Ainley said.

Researcher Katie Dugger observes Adelie penguins at Cape Royds

Photo Credit: Mike Lucibella

Researcher Katie Dugger observes Adelie penguins at Cape Royds.

Ainley is the senior ecologist at a San Francisco Bay Area ecological consulting firm, H.T. Harvey and Associates. Every summer, he and his team set up camp near the Cape Crozier and Cape Royds penguin colonies on Ross Island to track how many there are and their nesting behavior.

With these new tracking leg bands, they hope to better understand what the penguins do and where they go over the long dark austral winter, when the team is back home and the penguins migrate out to sea. The project is supported by the National Science Foundation, which manages the U.S. Antarctic Program.

Previous research has shown that during the darkness of the months-long Antarctic winter, Adelie penguins leave their nests on dry land and swim north, past the Antarctic Circle, and spend the season on ice floes in the Ross Sea Gyre, a spiraling ocean current off the coast of West Antarctica.

“Like a big merry-go-round, they go around this big gyre in the winter time,” Ainley said. “Essentially they sit on ice floes most of the time, jump off every few hours, for a few hours a day they eat, then jump back on the ice.”

Analog penguin tags help researchers keep track of the overall penguin population and their behavior

Photo Credit: Mike Lucibella

Analog penguin tags help researchers keep track of the overall penguin population and their behavior.

About the size of a high school graduation ring, the tags loop around the lower leg of the penguins so they don’t affect their mobility in the water. They’re similar to tags he and his team have used in the past to track their locations, but they also record information about how deep they dive.

Like their precursors, these new tags contain precise clocks and tiny light sensors. Using a modern version of age-old maritime techniques, it measures the position of the sun in the sky to calculate the bird’s location to within about 50 kilometers without needing a GPS.

“Just like in the old days of sailing ships with your sextant and all that kind of stuff, you can determine position based on day length and time of local noon relative to local Greenwich Time, and that gives you latitude and longitude,” Ainley said.

These new ones also have pressure sensors built into them so they can record how long and how deep a penguin dives under water. Next season, Ainley and his team will recover as many of the 155 deployed devices as they can, download the data and attach new devices to the same animals.

Researcher Emily Burke writes down a note after observing penguin chicks at Cape Crozier

Photo Credit: Mike Lucibella

Researcher Emily Burke writes down a note after observing penguin chicks at Cape Crozier.

“The idea is to do it three years in a row and get a longitudinal study of having them on the same individual for three years, to see how it responds to differences in sea ice extent in the winter,” Ainley said.

Over the frigid winter months, the temperature around Antarctica drops to the point where the ocean itself starts to freeze. The ice builds up along the coastline and by the end of winter, extends out to sea for miles. How far out it reaches has a major impact on the penguin populations.

“We found in years where there’s really extensive sea ice in the Ross Sea region that four to five years later there would be a decrease in the colony size,” Ainley said. “What that’s saying is that survival of young birds is reduced in those years of very extensive sea ice.”

The new tags will be able to tell Ainley and his team more about how often the penguins are feeding on the silverfish. Krill live higher up in the water column than the silverfish, so when the penguins swim deeper to catch the fish, it’ll be recorded on their leg bands.

“This is an aspect of learning more about possible factors that affect population change,” Ainley said.

NSF-funded research in this story: David Ainley, H.T. Harvey & Associates, Award No. 1543541.

Earthenware Market with Geographic Segmentation, Statistical Forecast and Competitive Analysis Report to 2021

Earthenware Market analysis is provided for Global market including development trends by regions, competitive analysis of the Earthenware market. Earthenware Industry report focuses on the major drivers and restraints for the key players.

Earthenware generally means a ceramic material which has a variety of uses ranging from pottery, tableware to decorative objects. The compositions vary to a great extent among countries and also among individual makers.

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Eight Geological sites in Asia, Europe and Latin America become UNESCO Global Geoparks

Paris, 05 May—Eight sites demonstrating the great diversity of our planet’s geology have received the UNESCO Global Geopark label on 5 May, when UNESCO’s Executive Board endorsed the decisions made by the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council during its first session in Torquay, UK, last September.

UNESCO Global Geoparks are territories that promote geodiversity through community-led initiatives to enhance regional sustainable development. They help monitor and promote awareness of climate change and natural disasters and many of them help local communities prepare disaster mitigation strategies.

With this year’s eight additions, the world network now numbers 127 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 35 countries. They celebrate the 4.6-billion-year history of our planet and the geodiversity that has shaped every aspect of our lives and societies. Furthermore, Geoparks create opportunities for sustainable tourism, whose importance has been recognized by the United Nations, which named 2017 as International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

The eight newly designated sites are:

Arxan is a mid-low mountain region situated in China’s Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia. With 35 well-exposed volcanoes that are over 2.5million years old, Arxan features an exceptionally dense concentration of volcanic landforms, with a rich variety of lakes and natural springs.  The UNESCO Global Geopark has developed extensive sustainable rural tourism services which offer the visitor a rare and unusual experience of a northern Chinese frontier area.

The Causses du Quercy UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the southwest of France, at the northern end of the Midi-Pyrénées region. It features a unique karst heritage shaped by a unique geological history that led to the formation of phosphate caves containing thousands of perfectly preserved fossils that recorded life conditions 52 to 20 million years ago. It makes this area a true “natural evolution laboratory”. The study of these fossils is part of a participatory science education programme, Graines de paléontologues („paleontologists seeds”) for elementary and secondary school students.

(Republic of Korea)

© Cheongsong UNESCO Global Geopark

Cheongsong UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the central eastern area of the Republic of Korea. Its name is derived from “Cheongbo” and “Songsang,” meaning “green treasure” and “pine tree ecology,” respectively. The volcanic rocks in Cheongsong have exceptionally high silica content, which caused the hot lava that flowed from the area’s volcanos to form balls of dark and light layers as it cooled down. This has resulted in a unique and beautiful type of rock, locally called the Flower Stone.

© Comarca Minera, Hidalgo UNESCO Global Geopark

The Comarca Minera, Hidalgo UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the State of Hidalgo, to the east of central Mexico, The Geopark’s most remarkable geological feature are the Prismas Basalticos, basalt or volcanic rock columns, first described in 1804 by Alexander von Humboldt, the Prussian geographer, naturalist and explorer. The 2.58-million-year-old Prismas Basalticos are exceptionally tall, some over 40 metres in height. They are the most famous basalt columns in Mexico and among the tallest in the world.

Keketouhai (China)

Keketuohai UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China, in the inland area of Central Asia. With its spectacular granite landforms, the Geopark has sometimes been referred to as China’s Yosemite. The mainly Kazak inhabitants of the area have a rich history and culture preserved through many distinct local traditions. The site also features the unique Botamaoyin rock paintings, which are at least 3,000 years old.

Las Loras (Spain)

The Las Loras UNESCO Global Geopark is located in Spain, north of Castile and León. Its high altitude limestone moorlands, Loras, are characterized by mountainous folds of earth separated by spectacular river canyons. They dominate a spectacular landscape of natural fortresses that have been used by successive populations and cultures for refuge and protection throughout history. The area is dotted by caves, limestone cliffs, and karst landscapes resembling ruins with countless waterfalls. The well-preserved small villages of Las Loras have fine Romanesque churches, rock hermitages and examples of popular local architecture.

Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca (Mexico)

The Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca UNESCO Global Geopark is located in Mexico’s mountainous Sierra Madre del Sur province. The name of the Geopark is derived from the Mixteca civilization, which flourished from the 2nd century BC to the 15th century AD and ended with the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadores in the early 16th century. The UNESCO Global Geopark features trails along which visitors guided by local residents can examine the geological heritage of the region and its relation to ecological, historical, archaeological and cultural features.

Qeshm Island (Iran)

Qeshm Island UNESCO Global Geopark is an island shaped like a dolphin in the Strait of Hormuz, off the southern coast of Iran. Its exposed geological formations have been shaped by erosion generating a range of spectacular landscapes and beautiful rock deserts. Its preservation is supported by green tourism activities managed by local communities.

The Executive Board of UNESCO also endorsed two requests for substantial extensions to two existing UNESCO Global Geoparks in China: Leiqiong and Zigong .

Caves Of Gas

A fumarole on the slopes of Mount Erebus is the tell-tale sign that there is gas seeping from underground
Photo Credit: Tobias Fischer
A fumarole on the slopes of Mount Erebus is the tell-tale sign that there is gas seeping from underground.

Evaluating the Effervescent Emissions of Mount Erebus

By Michael Lucibella, Antarctic Sun Editor

Posted April 26, 2017

Planet Earth is gassy.

The team camped on the side of Mount Erebus, who’s smoking crater can be seen in the background

Photo Credit: Tobias Fischer

The team camped on the side of Mount Erebus, who’s smoking crater can be seen in the background.

All over the world, plumes of gasses that formed deep under the planet’s surface, pour out of active volcanoes and mix with the atmosphere. Tobias Fischer, a volcanologist at the University of New Mexico, spent two seasons exploring the frozen face of Antarctica’s Mount Erebus, the world’s southernmost active volcano, to better understand these fumes escaping from the depths of the Earth.

He and his team traveled to Antarctica to take the closest look yet at the gasses seeping out of the slopes of the volcano. Their project is supported by the National Science Foundation, which manages the U.S. Antarctic Program.

Scientists have been studying the fumes pouring out of the open crater at the peak of the mountain for years, Fischer’s is the first major attempt to understand the gasses coming off the sides, or the flank, of the volcano. They want to get as complete a picture as possible of all the emissions emanating from the mountain because they likely played a major role in Earth’s prehistoric climate.

“The bigger question is to understand what are the carbon-dioxide emissions from volcanoes globally,” Fischer said. “If we want to understand how climate has been influenced by carbon emissions from volcanoes, then we have to understand how much carbon is actually coming out of volcanoes… Erebus is a really good analogue, and so understanding that, we can use that data, we can extrapolate back into Earth’s history to see how it might have affected it.”

The gasses are the product of the Earth’s solid outer crust melting deep below the surface. At depths of several miles, the Earth’s rocky crust contacts the red-hot mantle. The extremely high temperatures and pressures at those depths liquefy the crust, releasing a range of gasses in the process.

Mountaineer Lyra Pierotti stands in front of a fumarole, an ice tower formed when water vapor refreezes into frozen tower

Photo Credit: Tobias Fischer

Mountaineer Lyra Pierotti stands in front of a fumarole, an ice tower formed when water vapor refreezes into frozen tower.

What seeps out is a mixture of carbon dioxide, sulfur, water, nitrogen and the noble gases, some of which are common in normal air, but in very different proportions. They flow up to the surface through the same magma tubes that carry the molten rock up to crater of the volcano.

“Most of the gas would come out through the crater. That’s the plume that you see looking up at Erebus,” Fischer said. “But there’s also degassing going on… this degassing happens much deeper and so the gas comes out on the sides of the volcano.”

Measuring this flank degassing on volcanos in other parts of the world is difficult because it’s hard to spot where the invisible gasses leak out of the ground. However, because a thick sheet of ice covers Mount Erebus, these warm gasses carve out spectacular ice caves and ice towers that pinpoint exactly where these seeps are located.

“Mount Erebus is the ideal laboratory volcano,” Fischer said.

Graduate student Tehnuka Ilanko of the University of New Mexico and mountaineer Lyra Pierotti prepare to climb into a fumarole

Photo Credit: Tobias Fischer

Graduate student Tehnuka Ilanko of the University of New Mexico and mountaineer Lyra Pierotti prepare to climb into a fumarole.

As the warm vapors rise out of the ground, they melt the overlying ice. This can create the dramatic ice caves that pockmark the sides of Mount Erebus. If the gasses are particularly hot, the water will evaporate and then refreeze where it contacts the cold air, forming giant ice towers called fumaroles.

Fischer and his team climbed into a number of these caves and fumaroles to sample the gasses that created them.

“Some ice caves you can just walk in, they’re horizontal. Some of them you have to climb up with rope and repel down into them,” Fischer said. “One of the caves is called Sauna Cave, and you actually have to climb up quite a bit then repel down 40 feet on a rope.”

Inside the caves, the team looked for areas on the ground that were devoid of frost, the surest sign that warm gasses were leaking out of the rocks at a particular spot.

Mountaineer Lyra Pierotti descends down into a fumarole

Photo Credit: Tobias Fischer

Mountaineer Lyra Pierotti descends down into a fumarole.

“In the caves there are these areas that are warmer areas, but [the gasses] are still really hard to collect because it’s very diffuse and to make the measurements in the caves is challenging,” Fischer said.

When they found a spot with seeping gas, they would insert a probe into the ground connected to a pump. It drew in the emissions and pumped it into the team’s sampling vials to bring back to their home institutions for analysis.

“We don’t want to pump too fast because then we’re just sucking in the ambient air, and we don’t want to pump too slow because then there’ no gas coming through,” Fischer said. “Then we just leave it for 12 hours or 24 hours or whatever works.”

They also brought along an infrared spectrometer that they kept at camp. With it, they could immediately analyze the carbon dioxide levels of the gasses they collected.

The team set up sample collectors next to spots where gas was seeping out of the ground in the ice caves

Photo Credit: Tobias Fischer

The team set up sample collectors next to spots where gas was seeping out of the ground in the ice caves.

“That’s extremely useful because you come all the way here, and you collect these samples but you don’t know if you got anything good,” Fischer said. “With that instrument that gives us really good hints.”

Though he’s studying all of the gaseous emissions, carbon dioxide is of particular interest to Fischer and his team. It’s a way to better understand how this carbon dioxide emitted by volcanoes affected Earth’s ancient climate.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat from the sun in Earth’s atmosphere. The more carbon dioxide concentrated in the atmosphere, the more heat gets trapped and the warmer the climate gets.

Graduate student Tehnuka Ilanko of the University of New Mexico worked with Fischer to sample the gas inside the ice caves

Photo Credit: Tobias Fischer

Graduate student Tehnuka Ilanko of the University of New Mexico worked with Fischer to sample the gas inside the ice caves.

“We know that anthropogenic emissions, what we put out by burning fossil fuels, are much higher than what volcanoes put out, probably by a factor of 100,” Fischer said. “But before anthropogenic emissions happened, volcanoes were the main source of putting carbon into the atmosphere. And volcanic carbon emissions in the past have very likely influenced climate.”

The team collected samples from ten different caves and is in the midst of processing and studying them.

Already they encountered some surprising preliminary results. The team found isotopic evidence that some the carbon dioxide they collected seems to be coming from different sources below the surface. The main source is likely directly from the magma deep underground, as expected. However, in a few of the caves they found carbon dioxide with an isotope signature that seems to hint that it was created by some other underground process.

“It has implications for microbial life below the surface,” Fischer said. “If there is an envelope of hydrothermal water, perhaps the microbes live in that water. I don’t know.”

The team is continuing to study and map where these unusual samples came from on the mountain. It’s still too early to tell for sure what’s casing these anomalous results, but the results are tantalizing, and could lead to new directions for future research.

NSF-funded research in this story: Tobias Fischer, University of New Mexico, Award No. 1443633.

Brexit talks: President Tajani in London

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In his first official visit, EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani met with British Prime Minister Theresa May in London to discuss the Brexit conditions set by an overwhelming majority of MEPs earlier this month.

Transcript:

It’s a visit set amid an ongoing separation. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani arrived in Downing Street for the first time to talk Brexit with the British Prime Minister. We want to strengthen citizens’ rights. European citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the European Union. This is the most important message, we want to work together. Parliament’s priorities remain: from putting citizens first to no cherry-picking in the single market and no bilateral talks between the UK and individual EU member states. Any Brexit withdrawal deal will need Parliament’s green light. In the meantime, Theresa May has unexpectedly called for a snap election seeking a stronger mandate before talks begin. President Tajani welcomed the move. To have a new government before the beginning of the official negotiation is good not only for the UK but also for us. But caught in between all this are people on both sides of the Channel – unsure of what it all means for them. President Tajani met with NGOs in London to listen to some of their concerns.

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Antonio Tajani
Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) – Italy –

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  • News 00:52

    EU affairs – 21-04-2017 – 10:00

    Up for discussion next week are states of play in Turkey and Hungary, a flagship initiative on the garment industry, as well as rules on geo-blocking and audio-visual content.

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    EU affairs – 07-04-2017 – 10:17

    A wide range of topics is on the agenda for the week ahead: managing unsold food, migrant return policy, e-privacy, women in transport and child marriage.

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    EU affairs – 06-04-2017 – 04:15

    Five numbers to take away from the plenary this week: conditions for a Brexit deal, stricter regulation on cars and medical devices, a more flexible EU budget, and phasing out palm oil in biofuels by 2020.

  • News 01:23

    EU affairs – 05-04-2017 – 02:18

    The United Kingdom has begun the formal process to withdraw from the European Union. The European Parliament has identified its red line issues for the negotiations. They include putting citizens’ interests first and the UK honouring its commitments to the EU budget. This video provides insight into the Parliament’s priorities.

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Nigeria: World Bank Approves $150 Million to Enhance Mining Sector Contribution and Support Economic Diversification

ABUJA, April 14, 2017—The World Bank’s Board today approved a $150 million credit to enhance the contribution of the mining sector to the Nigerian economy. The project will help establish a strong foundation for mining sector development and enhance competitiveness by improving information infrastructure and knowledge, strengthening of key government institutions, and fostering of domestic investment in the sector.

Nigeria has a favorable geological potential that, if adequately assessed, well exploited and sustainably managed, could support broader economic growth through mineral sector,” said Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director, Nigeria. “In line with the Nigerian government’s priority to diversify the economy to a broader range of non-oil productive sectors, one of the key objectives of this project is to support the government in the realization of the full mineral endowment for sector policy, promotion, conducive business environment and integrated long-range resources and investment planning.”

Nigeria has been unable to attract significant investment in exploration and mining into the sector, and current productivity from the Nigerian mining sector is still insufficient to meet local demands, particularly for industrial minerals.  Insufficient geo-data and geological knowledge, weak implementation and enforcement of the mining law and regulations, and a large, poorly regulated and informal artisanal and small-scale mining sub-sector are among the critical binding constraints for sector development.

The project will help develop measures for formalizing, regulating and inventorying artisanal and small-scale mining, facilitate the flow of mineral transactions, facilitate access to finance, technology and equipment, increase knowledge and support the mining and processing of the minerals in accordance with best practices, including with regards to environmental and social protections.

Over the medium to longer-term, expected results include the ability to successfully attract and develop mineral transactions on medium to large mining operations as well as any other mining related (infrastructure) investments.

National Archives to Present Program on French Involvement in the American Revolutionary War on April 20

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On Thursday, April 20, at 7 p.m.,the National Archives, in partnership with the French American Cultural Foundation and The American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati, will present a special author program titled “When the United States Spoke French-The Role of France in the American Revolution and its Aftermath.” The program is free and open to the public, reserve your seat online or watch it live streamed on the National Archives YouTube channel.

“When the United States Spoke French-The Role of France in the American Revolution and its Aftermath”

Authors Larrie Ferreiro and François Furstenberg will discuss French involvement in the Revolutionary War and early America, sharing how the Revolution’s success depended on the assistance provided by France and Spain and information on the nation’s formative years, with special attention to a distinguished circle of five Frenchmen taking refuge in America. Guiding the discussion will be Rosemarie Zagarri, Professor of History, George Mason University.

Book signings of Brothers at Arms and When the United States Spoke French will follow the program. Purchase these books on the day of the event from the National Archives Store and receive a 15% discount (members get 20% off).

The program will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC.  Attendees should use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue at 7th Street, NW.  Metro accessible on the Yellow and Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter station.

For attendees without reservations, seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The Theater doors will open 45 minutes prior to the start of the program. Late seating will not be permitted 20 minutes after the program begins.

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For press information contact the National Archives Public and Media Communications staff at 202-357-5300.

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Pleistocene Park an experiment in adventure

More than 700 donors believe in an attempt to recreate the ice age in Siberia. The operators of Pleistocene Park have raised more than $100,000 in a crowdfunding effort to bring bison and yaks to eastern Russia. The creators think the animals will help convert tundra to ancient grasslands that will slow global warming.

An Alaska researcher has visited Pleistocene Park five times. He has affection for the directors and an admiration for their lofty mission: „Turning the Arctic into a northern Serengeti and stopping permafrost degradation on a big scale.”

Colin Edgar is a research technician at UAF who works on devices that measure greenhouse gases wafting from the tundra. He installs, fixes and gathers data from carbon dioxide and methane meters near Toolik Field Station and Bonanza Creek Experimental Forest in Alaska. Until funding fell off, he also traveled on occasion to Pleistocene Park.

Edgar’s trips from Fairbanks to the North-East Scientific Station in Cherskiy, Russia, took four days. The station, a center for scientists visiting far eastern Siberia, is the jumping-off point for Pleistocene Park.

Pleistocene Park is a 50-square-mile fenced-in patch of tundra and larch trees in lowlands off the Kolyma River. There, Nikita Zimov leads a project to restore the northern ecosystem that existed at the time of the mammoths. His father, Sergey Zimov, envisioned and initiated Pleistocene Park.

The Zimovs are bringing in large, cold-adapted creatures descended from those that roamed the landscape during the last ice age, which ended about 11,500 years ago. In adventurous missions to other parts of Russia, they have retrieved reindeer, musk oxen, horses, bison and elk.

As these animals graze the tundra in winter, they pack down snow and lessen its insulating qualities. In this way, the Zimovs want to preserve the permafrost by increasing its exposure to cold winter air. They also hope their large herbivores will trample trees, shrubs and moss, restoring the mammoth steppe ecosystem.

The mammoth steppe once extended across the top of the globe, covering much of Alaska and the Bering Land Bridge. When mammoths disappeared, the modern boreal forest and its relative paucity of animals emerged.

From ice-age bones they have found in eroding river bluffs, the Zimovs estimate 30 large grass-eaters roamed a typical square kilometer of the mammoth steppe during the Ice Age. This is the density they are trying to reproduce at Pleistocene Park.

The Zimovs’ dream is an eventual expansion of their experiment across the circumpolar north.

In Edgar’s visits to Pleistocene Park, he worked on the tundra-gas measuring equipment that showed what observations in northern Alaska are showing: the tundra is now acting as a slight source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

„It remains a very relevant scientific question,” Edgar said. „What’s happening in Siberia (where the permafrost is one mile thick in places)? We know so much less about the ecology there.”

Edgar enjoyed working with Nikita Zimov and others at the outpost, which resembles a much smaller, more rustic Toolik Field Station. The North-East Scientific Station offers scientists rooms, meals, a Russian-style sauna and free vodka and beer.

Pleistocene Park is 25 miles down the Kolyma River from the station. Zimov ferried Edgar and others in a riverboat. Edgar maintained the gas-measuring equipment, mounted on a tall metal tower. He also assisted with other projects in the park.

Edgar once helped capture reindeer from northern Siberia and transport them back to Pleistocene Park by riverboat.

He remembered when the boat could not proceed that morning because of dense fog. The Zimovs pulled to a riverbank. There, they smoked cigarettes and played cards, waiting for the fog to lift.

After an hour, conditions did not improve but they started upriver anyway. Edgar and another helper stood on the front of the boat to squint for obstacles. He called the progress „terrifying.”

On the way, the boat engine overheated. An alarm beeped, and the Zimovs pulled back the engine cowling to add cooling river water.

This continued for the rest of the trip. On the return, with the boat full of a dozen reindeer, they could not reach the engine when it overheated. They cut the engine and let the boat drift.

They made it to Pleistocene Park. There, they released the reindeer. By then it was nightime, but the Zimovs continued the 25 river miles back to the science station. Edgar remembers a „super terrifying” ride through the darkness.

For the Zimovs, it was mission accomplished.

„It was this 16-hour day of extreme adventure,” Edgar said. „But that’s like every day for them.

„They have a lot of tenacity to keep at this even though there’s a lot of people who doubt them,” Edgar said.

He thinks the Kickstarter money will help the Zimovs make more trips to continue “rewilding” Pleistocene Park.

„That’s really going to go a long way,” he said. „They do so much with so little.”

Programme Support Assistant (national), (Nairobi), Deadline

VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT
Issued on: 11/04/2017

ORGANIZATIONAL LOCATION:

UN-HABITAT

DUTY STATION:

Nairobi/ Kenya

FUNCTIONAL TITLE:

Programme Support Assistant (national)

DURATION:

6 working months

CLOSING DATE:

18 April 2017

 

Prolonged instability in Somalia has culminated in widespread adverse social and economic consequences that have inhibited the development of the livelihood asset base of the Somali people. The country’s 25 year conflict has seen the destruction of key economic infrastructure on a scale seen nowhere else on earth; government buildings, public facilities, roads, and transportation and communication networks have been destroyed or severely damaged. Although this destruction has been wide-spread and affected populations throughout the country, urban centres – hubs for economic activity and development – have been adversely affected. The lack of economic infrastructure that stimulates enterprise development and supports economic growth has resulted in limited investment in the productive sectors, effectively constraining the urban population to rely predominantly on an informal economy based on trade, transport, utilities, communication and construction, for income and service provision. Subsistence petty trading and micro-sized enterprises have become the primary sources of employment and income for the majority of city-dwellers.

Fragile livelihoods, highly vulnerable to shock, and high unemployment rates are challenges that are exacerbated by the absence of adequate infrastructure. Overall unemployment rates are amongst the highest in the world; 67% among people aged 14 to 29, and 74% among women. The urban economy urgently requires technology and skills transfer to be able to improve productivity and increase access to new markets. Dire living conditions and a system of sustained exclusion have adversely affected the lives of vulnerable urban communities such as IDPs and poor host communities. In the 2001 Somalia Human Development Report Somalia ranked 161 out of 163 countries worldwide in terms of human development.

25 years of conflict in Somalia has also resulted in a significant loss of human capital, technical knowledge and capacities; problems which continue to hinder stability and economic development throughout the country. The population in general lacks both the technical skills/knowledge and the funds to initiate or resume any kind of income-generating activities, thus exacerbating the country-wide situation in terms of poverty, job insecurity, and social instability.

The vast majority of Somalis, in particular youth and women, do not have access to technical and vocational training.  A core problem is the lack of availability of high quality vocational skills training and a mismatch in the training that is available and the actual need within the existing market. There is no existing institutional vocational training system in Somalia.  Existing vocational training infrastructure is inadequate to supply a qualified and skilled workforce to support the existing and foreseen reconstruction and development efforts, especially in the construction and transportation sectors.  Even those that have acquired a basic set of skills, often either possess skills that are not demand driven – resulting in a mismatch between their education/training and the skills in demand by the private sector – or are underskilled and therewith still do not have the minimum skills required by the employees or are unable to move to higher income categories or expand their business activities.  In addition, for those already engaged in business activities or those wishing to start a business, lack of access to relevant entrepreneurial training is a major constraint to business development. Once skills have been attained access to meaningful employment does not come automatically.

Project Context

The project supports both the revitalization of critical economic infrastructure and the development of human capital vis-a-vis quality technical and vocational training necessary to support stability and economic development. This will be achieved by i) rehabilitation of key economic infrastructure ii) women’s empowerment and food security through improving productive capacities iii) strengthening the institutional capacity of Somalia’s vocational training system to deliver up-to-date training courses relevant to the requirements of modern enterprises operating in the country.

Project Development Goal:

Improve economic growth and employment opportunities in Somalia

Project Objectives:

  • Strengthen quality of, and access to, vocational training & improve workforce skills and productivity focusing on critical urban infrastructure (transportation, light manufacturing, construction sector/ construction related industries) as well as in upcoming sectors of the urban economy;
  • Improve livelihoods and food security for urban women in the (renewable) energy and handicraft sectors;
  • Create short and long term jobs through the revitalization of key economic infrastructure such as communication, transportation, distribution networks, financial institutions, energy supply systems, and/or markets through physical rehabilitation, capacity building and on the job skills training.

The project will be jointly implemented by UN-Habitat and UNIDO.

UNIDO’s mission is to improve the living conditions of people and promote global prosperity by offering tailor made solutions for sustainable industrial development. In Somalia, UNIDO has been focusing on private sector development and the development of vocational training schools to deliver demand-driven training courses. UNIDO’s role in the project is to provide the technical aspects of skills training, such as rehabilitation of training centers, provision and installation of equipment, and development of curricula for the technical subjects.

UN-Habitat’s mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all. In Somalia, UN-Habitat has been heavily involved in the development of the urban economy, urban basic services, and capacity development. UN-Habitat’s role in this project focuses on the coordination of rehabilitation activities, as well as the promotion of livelihood activities in Mogadishu. UN-Habitat specializes in the rehabilitation of public facilities and technical Infrastructure hand-in-hand with capacity building.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Under the overall supervision of the Chief Technical Advisor (CTA) and the direct supervision of the UN-Habitat Project Manager, the incumbent will be in charge of the following responsibilities:

  • Support programme implementation, including research, data collection and support of other project activities as required,
  • Support preparation and tracking of all partnership agreements and contracts and maintain data to track  contracts, and agreements of cooperation,
  • Prepare and/or review terms of reference and all contractual documentation for consultants and implementing partners,
  • Prepare documents for drawing up Agreements of Cooperation and other legal instruments applicable in the implementation of programme activities,
  • Review interim and final narrative and financial reports submitted by project partners and identify missing documentation and support documents,
  • Organize all logistical and procurement services (travel, transportation, accommodation, and other relevant bookings),
  • Support field staff in administrative and logistic matters,
  • Support other administrative and financial tasks and coordinate as appropriate with other UN-Habitat staff and departments.
  • Assist in procurement processes,  working in collaboration with relevant stakeholders in Nairobi and Somalia, and maintain data  for the tracking of procurement processes,
  • Organize project activities and meetings in Nairobi and Somalia as required and in close cooperation with project staff and counterparts,
  • Organise training workshops and meetings in Nairobi including liaison with training providers and participants, organising contracts, conducting site visits, and assisting with writing/analysing training reports
  • File contract documents, reports, etc.,
  • Assist in preparation and organisation of consignments, parcels and shipments,
  • Support the communication strategy and maintain effective communication amongst relevant stakeholders (disseminating important and relevant information as required),
  • Undertake any other duties and responsibilities which are within the incumbent’s expertise and experience and related to the Programme 

COMPETENCIES

Demonstrate integrity by modelling the UN’s values and ethical standards. Promote the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UN-Habitat. Display cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability. 

EDUCATION

Bachelor degree in public/ business administration, development studies or related fields.

WORK EXPERIENCE

A minimum of two years of work experience in supporting programme implementation in an international context.  

LANGUAGE SKILLS

Proficiency in English (both oral and written) is required.

OTHER SKILLS

Proactive, results oriented, independent, able to identify and carry out duties and responsibilities with minimum supervision. Professional, supportive and cooperative in all matters within the work setting, problem-solving oriented. Maintain confidentiality with regards to all work-related issues.

Applications should include:

  • Cover memo (maximum 1 page)
  • Summary CV (maximum 2 pages), indicating the following information:
    • Educational Background (incl. dates)
    • Professional Experience (assignments, tasks, achievements, duration by years/ months)
    • Other Experience and Expertise (e.g. Internships/ voluntary work, etc.)
    • Expertise and preferences regarding location of potential assignments
    • Expectations regarding remuneration

All applications should be submitted to:

UN-HABITAT Somalia

P.O. Box 30030, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya

Email: un-habitat.som@unhabitat.org

Deadline for applications: 18 April 2017

UN-HABITAT does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process. If you have any questions concerning persons or  companies claiming to be recruiting on behalf of these offices and requesting the payment of a fee, please contact: recruitment@unon.org

FACE is hiring: Senior Manager of Legal & Public Affairs

FACE is looking for a Senior Manager of Legal & Public Affairs to join its ambitious team in Brussels. We are looking for someone who has a proven track record in legal affairs and interest representation that can ensure the effective coordination and delivery of FACE’s legal and public affairs objectives.

He or she should be passionate about hunting and willing to work hard to increase our reach and promote sustainable hunting and conservation in Europe. The successful candidate will also be responsible for the oversight and management of policy and legal staff.


ROLE DESCRIPTION & RESPONSIBILITIES 
                                
Advocacy and External Relations
– Develop advocacy strategies and ensure effective coordination and delivery of FACE’s legal and political objectives, with focus on the EU and international institutions;
– Represent FACE and its positions in external meetings and public events, and as required, engage with the media;
– Develop and leverage key relationships and alliances with decision makers and stakeholders, with particular attention to the EU and international institutions.

Legal Affairs
– Oversee the monitoring and intelligence gathering of EU and international legal and policy developments in the field of hunting and nature conservation (such as environment, firearms, animal health, animal welfare & ethics, wildlife trade,…);
– Analyse and report on relevant political and legislative developments of relevance to FACE’s Members and draft positions papers;
– Manage and coordinate FACE’s legal affairs expertise (personnel and Members’ working group).

General
– Responsibility for personnel, budgetary, and administrative matters, as assigned;
– Willing to work flexibly and travel frequently;

BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE

– Higher university level education or equivalent (preferably in law);
– A minimum of five years’ experience in European public affairs in any of the following areas: EU institutions, trade associations, NGOs, corporations or think tanks;
– Excellent knowledge of EU law and policy making processes;
– Demonstrated ability to work in an international context from differing backgrounds and varying cultures with tact and diplomacy.

KEY SKILLS AND PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES

– Passionate about hunting, shooting, countryside activities and nature conservation  
– Excellent communication, diplomatic and networking skills and ability to convince groups; 
– Ability to think and act strategically and laterally and understanding of political processes;
– Strong organisational skills and ability to manage priorities and work to deadlines under pressure;
– Fluent in written and spoken English with a working knowledge of at least one other European language, preferably French and/or German. Additional European language would be an asset;

Location: Brussels, Belgium
Terms: Time-unlimited contract (under Belgian law). Attractive salary & benefits combined package.
Reports to: Secretary General
Starting date: As soon as possible
How to apply: Please send your CV and covering letter to ludwig.willnegger@face.eu by 5 May.

Only shortlisted candidates will be interviewed.

For questions about this position, please contact Mr. Ludwig Willnegger.