Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Founded on science, world cooperation in Antarctica a model for meeting climate, other challenges

16.06.2011
The success of world co-operation based on science and practiced since the Cold War by nations operating in Antarctica offers a model to humanity as it confronts challenges to common interests like climate change, biodiversity loss and overfishing, says the editor of a new book on science diplomacy.

Since the end of the Second World War science has become an important tool of diplomacy, not only for issues involving environmental management, but for peace in the world we live in, says Paul Berkman, former Head of the Arctic Ocean Geopolitics Programme, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, UK, and Research Professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California Santa Barbara.

Says Dr. Berkman, keynote speaker at an international conference on Antarctica being held in Malaysia: "For half a century, it has become increasingly obvious that we face planetary-scale phenomena that cannot be solved by any one nation or region, nor solved quickly. Today and forever after, national and international interests need to find the type of balance practiced today under the Antarctic Treaty."

"I believe that the view expressed by some US lawmakers at the time of its creation is as true today as then: the Antarctic Treaty will be seen one day as the Magna Carta of peaceful, cooperative international diplomacy."

Negotiated amid deep military distrust between the USA and former USSR in the 1950s, the Antarctic Treaty designates the vast polar area – 10% of Earth's surface – as a place for peaceful, scientific purposes exclusively.

It bans the testing or storage of nuclear weapons on the continent, constituting the world's first nuclear arms treaty with rigorous inspection provisions included to ensure transparency.

The Treaty includes just 14 provisions and the 12 original signatory nations have since grown in number to 47. Malaysia is in its final phase of national preparations to accede to the Antarctic Treaty this year.

In a new book published by the Smithsonian Institution, Science Diplomacy: Antarctica, Science and the Governance of International Spaces, Dr. Berkman writes: "The two world wars of the 20th Century underscored animosity on a global scale. In contrast, reflecting unparalleled international cooperation, institutions have evolved since 1945 to prevent or resolve disputes transcending national boundaries. Most of these institutions relate to issues that cross national boundaries. However, there is a suite of institutions that has emerged to manage regions beyond the reach of national jurisdiction in the high seas (1958), Antarctica (1959), outer space (1967), and the deep sea (1971)."

The origin, development and success of the Antarctic Treaty offers hope and inspiration applicable to the challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, overfishing and a host of similarly vexing environmental problems, he writes.

"Any lessons we are able to glean from the Antarctic experience will be relevant not only to those interested in traditional international spaces but also to those in search of effective approaches to governing an expanding range of issues (e.g., climate change)…that are destined to become even more important in the future."

"Perhaps the broadest legacy of the first 50 years of the (Antarctic Treaty) is the development of a suite of practices that are useful in any effort to ensure that interactions between science and policy produce positive results for both communities in addressing a wide range of large-scale issues for the benefit of humankind and the world we inhabit."

"The parts of the planet that fall under national jurisdiction constitute just 30% of the world," says Dr. Berkman. "We're still in infancy in terms of how to work as a civilization. The extent of humanity's common interests and inter-connectedness has only become truly apparent in the second part of the 20th Century."

The fundamental role of science in international governance as exemplified in the Antarctic Treaty includes such responsibilities as monitoring and assessing change over time and space, the discovery of new beneficial health and other products derived from biological resources, and prioritizing and framing issues for consideration.

"Most political decision making involves short term perspective when the problems involve results likely to take place decades or even centuries in the future," says Zakri Abdul Hamid, Science Advisor to Prime Minister of Malaysia, Chair of the International Advisory Panel of the Centre for Global Sustainability Studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia, and a member of the International Advisory Board created to mark the Antarctic Treaty's 50th anniversary in 2009.

"Science is free of such time-bound blinders and therefore is fundamental to environment-related diplomacy at a global scale," says Dr. Zakri, who co-chairs as well the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT).

"The world is changing always. Science provides the common language, culture and foundation for nations and people to work together in decision-making on shared global interests."

5th Malaysian International Seminar on Antarctica (MISA5)
June 14 - 15 2011, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
(http://misa5.wordpress.com):
More than 500 local and international participants from various research fields are expected at the 5th biennial MISA, the theme of which this year is: 'Rapid Warming in the Polar Regions and Its Implication to the Pacific'.

The Centre for Global Sustainability Studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia is a major sponsor of the concurrent 22nd Pacific Science Congress, June 14 -18, also at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. This year's PSC theme: 'Asia Pacific Science in the 21st Century: Meeting the Challenges of Global Change.'

Terry Collins | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://cgss.usm.my/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties

23.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light-driven reaction converts carbon dioxide into fuel

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Oil and gas wastewater spills alter microbes in West Virginia waters

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>