The Canadian Guard Ship Louis S. St-Laurent maneuvers into position to moor up with the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy during a cooperative science mission to the Arctic Ocean between the U.S. and Canada, Sept. 25, 2008.
Photo Credit: Courtesy: USCG Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Anderson

Arctic science cooperation agreement ‘good for Canada’: POLAR

An agreement on enhancing scientific cooperation among circumpolar countries and others interested in polar research signed in Ottawa last week by the representatives of all eight Arctic nations will benefit Canada’s northern communities, says the president of Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR).

“I think this is good for Canada, it will assist us in creating more knowledge about Canada and it will be globally relevant knowledge about Canada,” said David J. Scott. “And from the perspective of the organization that I have the privilege to lead, Polar Knowledge Canada, we really trying to ramp up the creation of new knowledge that is primarily intended to benefit the lives of northern Canadians.”

(click to listen the full interview with David J. Scott)

Listen

The ad referendum agreement signed at the meeting of Arctic Council’s Task Force for Enhancing Scientific Cooperation in the Arctic (SCTF) will help Canada to harness scientific resources of other nations, Scott said in a telephone interview from POLAR’s headquarters in Ottawa.

“Canada has about one-quarter of the Arctic in the global context, but we don’t have a corresponding amount of capacity to study the unknowns in that Arctic,” Scott said. “We really believe there is strong interest and need to bring additional qualified folks to Canada to assist us with creating knowledge.”

Globally relevant knowledge
 David Shean a Ph.D. student at the University of Washington (R) and Scientist Ian Joughin of the University of Washington place a GPS system into the ice on July 17, 2013 on the Glacial Ice Sheet, Greenland.
David Shean a Ph.D. student at the University of Washington (R) and Scientist Ian Joughin of the University of Washington place a GPS system into the ice on July 17, 2013 on the Glacial Ice Sheet, Greenland. © GI/Joe Raedle

That knowledge matters in the global context.

“There is a growing recognition that information about the polar regions, both north and south, is really key to understanding how the environment is changing, how the climate is changing, and specifically how can we be more predictive about that,” Scott said. “Many of the current models that are predicting climate evolution, for example, don’t fully take into account the phenomena that occur in the Arctic.”

Many non-polar nations, including China, South Korea, Japan are keen to learn more about the polar regions and to contribute to the global knowledge and understanding how these global systems are evolving and help us prepare for the changes that are coming, Scott said.

“Immediate beneficiaries would be folks in the North, as well as people in mid-latitudes where most people live, distant from the polar regions but definitely impacted by the phenomena that are happening at both the northern and southern polar regions,” he said.

‘Difficult place to work’
 In this Friday, July 15, 2011 photo, scientists walk on the snow surrounding Summit Station, a small research facility situated 10,500 feet above sea level, on top of the Greenland ice sheet.
In this Friday, July 15, 2011 photo, scientists walk on the snow surrounding Summit Station, a small research facility situated 10,500 feet above sea level, on top of the Greenland ice sheet. © Brennan Linsley

The agreement underlines the recognition by the Arctic states, as well as other polar players that “the Arctic can be a very difficult place to work,” said Scott.

“It’s vast, the conditions are often harsh, even in the summertime, and certainly the Inuit have always known that it’s often best to collaborate and work together, particularly in those areas that are quite remote, logistically challenging and are often in some cases dangerous to work in,” Scott said.

Thus the very nature of the Arctic provides a very good natural driver for the eight member countries of the Arctic Council to work together to enhance cooperation on scientific work in the Arctic, he said.

“The real goal here is to make it easier to create knowledge that can be shared about the region,” Scott said. “The climate is changing, we don’t know nearly enough about what exactly is happening in terms of climatic change, how it would impact, and how we can model it in the future.”

Culmination of three years of work
Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station (APLIS) employee Keith Magness (L) and Nick Michel-Hart cut a hole in the Arctic ice to hang sonar instrumentation for research at the 2011 Arctic APLIS camp north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska March 18, 2011.
Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station (APLIS) employee Keith Magness (L) and Nick Michel-Hart cut a hole in the Arctic ice to hang sonar instrumentation for research at the 2011 Arctic APLIS camp north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska March 18, 2011. © Lucas Jackson / Reuters

The meeting in Ottawa brought together 57 delegates representing all the Arctic states, as well as three out of six permanent participants (Aleut International Association, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Saami Council), one of the Arctic Council’s six Working Groups (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme), and 11 observer nations and organizations (China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, the United Kingdom, the EU, IASC, UArctic, and WWF).

It was the culmination of three years of work, spread out over nine meetings by experts who tried to find a common ground and come up with a text that was acceptable for all, said Scott.

“At the conclusion of the Ottawa round of discussions last week, we were very pleased that were able to come up with a text that addressed all of the important issues basically to the satisfaction of each of the negotiating teams,” Scott said. “And it’s now the responsibility of each of the countries to bring that back, check in with each country’s respective authorities and approval system.”

In case of Canada that means checking with other federal agencies whose mandates are impacted by this agreement, including the Canadian Border Services Agency, because part of the agreement deals with facilitating the entry of foreign scientists who are coming to Canada to collaborate on science research, Scott said.

There is also a need for a thorough legal review of the treaty text by legal experts at Global Affairs Canada.

The goal is to be able to have the eight foreign ministers sign this agreement once it’s finalized at the upcoming ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council in May 2017 in Fairbanks, Alaska, which will conclude the U.S. chairmanship of the council, Scott said.

Reducing red tape
Rebecca Woodgate (R) and Dan Naber prepare a mooring to be deployed into the Bering Strait on board the Russian ship Professor Khromov in this August 25, 2009 file photo. Jeff Jones/REUTERS/Files

Rebecca Woodgate (R) and Dan Naber prepare a mooring to be deployed into the Bering Strait on board the Russian ship Professor Khromov in this August 25, 2009 file photo. Jeff Jones/REUTERS/Files

Once the document is signed it will become a binding international treaty where the participating agree to facilitate scientific research by making it easier for scientists to cross international borders back and forth along with their specialized equipment, to carry out research and take samples back to their labs, he said.

“Canada has expectations about who’s admissible to our country, we’re not looking to change those rules; Canada has rules about the movement of certain types of samples, plants for example, those existing rules and regulations will need to be followed,” Scott said. “But what we’re committing to under this agreement is to ensure that those processes are very clear and when our participating partners want to get in or out of Canada, when they are planning their project, that they are aware of those expectations and the timelines that go with them.”

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Environment, Science and Technology

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

One comment on “Arctic science cooperation agreement ‘good for Canada’: POLAR
  1. Pat Jennings says:

    Having read this mornings news, I am a little unhappy that we allow the Russian government to be a part of any agreements. They sign whatever you put out there, and when it doesn’t please them they run over you as in the South China Sea! I’m afraid I don’t trust them at all. Watch out, they cheat to make their own rules win.