10 January 2022 – Blog: My Internship At NAMMCO

Background

I first learned about NAMMCO during my Polar Law studies in Iceland. As we studied the protection and conservation of the Arctic marine environment, the work of the Commission was mentioned several times. Later, as I wrote my Master Thesis on the consequences of colonisation in Northwest Greenland, I came across NAMMCO’s work again. When I discovered that the Secretariat had an internship programme, I immediately applied. As NAMMCO is a science-focused organisation and my background in social sciences, I saw this internship as a great opportunity to expand my knowledge of polar issues.

The fact that the Secretariat is located in Tromsø also strongly motivated my choice. A year ago, I should have spent a semester at UiT as an exchange student but the programme was cancelled due to the pandemic. This internship was therefore the perfect opportunity to get to live in Tromsø and discover northern Norway’s incredible nature.

About my internship

I started my internship in Marseille (France) to attend the IUCN World Conservation Congress with part of the Secretariat’s staff. NAMMCO exhibited a stand at this event, which gathered leaders, scientists and citizens around pressing conservation issues. This Congress allowed me to rapidly get a better understanding of NAMMCO’s work, and to share it with interested participants. In addition, I had the chance to attend several sessions on topics of personal interest.

Picture of Martin who participated in the internship programme at NAMMCO
About the intern

Martin is a French student and recent graduate from the Polar Law M.A. at the University of Akureyri. Throughout his studies, Martin has developed a broad interest in circumpolar issues, with a particular concern for the conservation of the Arctic environment.

Martin was NAMMCO’s intern in the second semester of 2021

Once in Tromsø, I quickly plunged into the daily activities of the Secretariat. I attended Committee meetings, sometimes writing their subsequent reports, worked on the website and social media, copy-edited scientific publications, and helped on many more tasks where help was needed. Additionally, I worked on a personal project in preparation for NAMMCO’s Council’s annual meeting. I was tasked with presenting examples from other places of the world where traditional ecological knowledge is collected and used to inform management advice and support conservation efforts. This personal project fitted well with my educational background and allowed me to dive further into a subject that I find extremely relevant.

NAMMCO’s Secretariat is a small team, with currently three permanent employees. For me, this setting was very enjoyable as it permitted me to work closely with the – fantastic – permanent staff and to discover all aspects of the Secretariat. Working for NAMMCO’s Secretariat enabled me to learn how an intergovernmental organisation functions daily. Apart from furthering my professional skills on a wide array of topics, this internship helped me understand how scientific studies become management advice.

Challenges

To rapidly understand the organisation and vision of the Commission in order to present them to interested participants of the IUCN Congress was somewhat challenging. However, this was an amazing opportunity to challenge my thoughts on conservation and to better my critical abilities.

Understanding scientific considerations sometimes required some effort, yet I was never handed a task that completely surpassed my scientific capacities. On the contrary, I enjoyed the importance that natural sciences play in NAMMCO’s work as it greatly improved my basic knowledge of marine mammals in the North Atlantic.

Living in Tromsø

Tromsø is a surprisingly active city considering its remoteness and northern location. Although Covid restrictions limited the life of the city, I never felt bored or lonely while in Tromsø. For me, one of the greatest interests in living in Tromsø is the accessibility to nature. Within the city itself, one can easily go cycling, walking or skiing – and if you decide to leave town you will find thousands of amazing hikes that are easily reachable. Northern Norway is certainly one of the most beautiful places I have had the chance to visit so far; living in Tromsø allows you to easily discover this region of the world and enjoy its raw beauty.

If you are interested in becoming the next intern at the NAMMCO Secretariat in beautiful Tromsø, the next deadline for applications will be 01/04/2022. For more information, visit the following link.

Skiing with Geneviève on the lysløypa

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