In 2020, a scoping group was convened to investigate the best way forward for SCAR in addressing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) issues. The membership drew on experience of EDI issues as well as SCAR, and recognised similar efforts in other polar organisations, sharing membership in the case of the SOOS Working Group on EDI.
The main proposal from the scoping group was for a dedicated SCAR Action Group on EDI to be recommended to SCAR Delegates, which would take forward the areas identified by the scoping group. It was envisaged to present these to the new Action Group to ensure there was already a series of actions relevant to SCAR to begin working on, with the Action Group deciding how to deliver on these actions and identify further actions that were required.
Included in the actions was a survey to establish relevant baseline information from the community, using available historical data to evaluate diversity and investigating best practice in terms of codes of conduct. The impact of language restrictions and the barrier it can present to sharing relevant research on EDI issues is an important consideration.
At their meeting in March 2021, SCAR Delegates approved the formation of the EDI Action Group and the formal Group proposal was agreed in May 2021 by the SCAR Executive Committee.
The leadership of the Action Group is decided from within the volunteers from the community, and the leadership team will work with the Executive Committee and Secretariat, as well as the Capacity Building, Education and Training (CBET) Committee, to deal with the issues identified by the scoping group and help SCAR further develop into a truly inclusive organisation.
Aims, Goals and Objectives
The EDI Action Group is tasked with broadly looking at how EDI issues can be effectively dealt with within SCAR and what practical actions are relevant for the organization.
Following the work of the scoping group, a number of specific activities and areas to be addressed have been identified:
- Reviewing high level ambition through e.g. mission statements;
- A community-wide survey to gauge understanding and experience of EDI issues;
- Working with partners on setting recommendations for Codes of Conduct that can be referenced by individual national programmes;
- Reviewing all SCAR literature and communications;
- Advise on review of SCAR Medals nominations and evaluations processes;
- Audit of existing information about diversity from attendance, leadership positions etc.;
- Linking with partners and other relevant initiatives to learn from existing best practice.