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The Arctic is one of Earth’s most fragile ecosystems, disproportionally affected by climate change and warming at twice the average rate of the rest of the planet. To garner global attention and support for the rapidly disappearing ice in the Polar regions, UN Environment is organising “The last ice hockey game on the North Pole’, in partnership with the Republic of Sport Foundation and with the support of Grid Arendal.

The event, to be held on the North Pole in April 2019, is spearheaded by legendary Russian ice hockey player Viacheslav Fetisov, UN Environment Patron of the Polar Regions.

This symbolic ice hockey game aims at involving a great diversity of female and male players, including athletes from different disciplines and countries, Arctic indigenous peoples and youth. It will bring together sports and environment as agents of peace.

The Last Game is a prelude to the September 2019 Climate Summit of the UN Secretary General.

UN Secretary General @antonioguterres receives his #hockey stick and gloves to get ready ahead of the 'Last Game for the #Arctic'! The match will be played at the North Pole next April with new @UNEnvironment Polar Patron Slava Fetisov https://t.co/STNyhcYTaJ pic.twitter.com/2sOAScTemi

— UNEnvironment Europe (@UNEnvironmentEu) June 22, 2018

 

The context of the Last Game:

  • Arctic climate change already has a large impact on the ecosystem and people living in the region. Furthermore, Arctic climate change affects large parts of the planet, e.g. global sea level, permafrost thawing (release of the greenhouse gas methane), as well as floods and droughts in heavily populated areas such as Asia and Africa. 
  • With unprecedented and accelerating melting ice cover in the Arctic, there are already plans to explore new economic opportunities such as taking advantage of new marine routes and setting up new mining and drilling operations. 
  • These potential developments will challenge the pristine environment of the Arctic.

The objectives of the Last Game:

  • To demonstrate that the Arctic environment is very fragile and important for the well-being of all people on the planet.
  • To emphasize the value of collaboration, friendship and peace.
  • To raise attention to the rapid speed of the global warming, which is changing the face of the Artic in such a way that it may become nearly ice-free during the summer by 2040, (hence the title of the event).
  • To showcase state-of-the-art possibilities of holding sports events with a minimum environmental impact, even in such an extreme setting.

The Last Game itself:

  • There will be two captains, leading two teams of diverse players, from legendary professionals to absolute newbies, including renowned personalities from different fields, Arctic indigenous peoples and youth.
  • Viacheslav Fetisov, UN Environment Patron of the Polar Regions, will be one of the captains.
  • There will be no official winners or losers, but the Arctic will come out triumphant.

The logistics of the Last Game:

  • The Last Game can only accommodate a very limited amount of people for environmental and logistic reasons, therefore there will be no spectators brought to the North Pole.
  • However, the game will be broadcast across the world, and numerous global media are already lining up for participation and coverage.

Despite the operational complexity, the aim is to ensure that the event has the minimum environmental impact on the North Pole and that all the unavoidable CO2 emissions associated with the preparation and celebration of the game are offset.

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Alejandro Laguna, Regional Information Officer, Europe
E: laguna[at]un.org
T: +41-22-917-8404

Jan Dusik, Principal Advisor, Strategic Engagement for the Arctic and Antarctic
E: jan.dusik[at]un.org
T: +41-22-917-83-31