31 Aug 2018 Story Climate change

Momentum gathers for Last Game at the North Pole

Thinning sea ice in the Arctic. Credit: ESA–M. Drusch

Personalities and institutions around the world have expressed their support for the Last Game hockey match to be played on the North Pole at the end of April 2019.

Supporters of the initiative now include the UN Secretary-General, the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Culture, Prince Albert II of Monaco and the National Geographic Pristine Seas initiative.

The Last Game is led by UN Environment and will aim to draw attention to the devastating effects climate change is having on the most vulnerable part of our planet. Earlier this month, the Arctic’s strongest layer of sea ice broke for the first time on record due to a climate change-driven heatwave. At current rates, the Arctic could have ice-free summers by 2040, which means less solar radiations reflected by the ice and more heat absorbed by the darker ocean surface, exacerbating climate change.

Slava Fetisov and Erik Solheim at Raet National Marine Park. Photo by Peter Prokosch/GRID Arendal

Preparations for the game were also discussed at this month’s renowned traditional Arendalsuka festival in Arendal, Norway. The game’s expedition will set off next year from Svalbard, in Norway, and players will tee off at Barneo Base, about 80 km from the North Pole.

Viacheslav Fetisov – UN Environment’s Patron for Polar Regions – spoke about the game together with UN Environment Head Erik Solheim at the opening of an event at the festival titled ‘Is the Paris Agreement possible and can the Nordics lead?’. Their introduction was followed by a debate among representatives from the Nordic business sector and civil society on what this leadership could entail.

Erik Solheim and Slava Fetisov discussed with the Last Game with Norwegian Minister for Foreign Affairs Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide

Mr Fetisov – who is spearheading the Game – then visited GRID Arendal, a scientific centre working closely with UN Environment, to discuss game logistics before visiting the Raet National Marine Park to discuss its management and conservation.

Meetings also took place with Norway’s Foreign Affairs, International Development and Climate Change, and Environment ministers, as well as other international stakeholders.

Mr Fetisov being interviewed at the Arendalsuka festival. Photo by GRID Arendal

Follow preparations for the Last Game here.

For more information, contact UN Environment’s Principal Advisor for the Arctic and Antarctic Jan Dusik