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)
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!
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
22.05.2018 | Life Sciences
22.05.2018 | Life Sciences
22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News