Science Diplomacy and the Arctic Council: A Catalyst for Deeper Regional Cooperation?

World Policy Blog posted an article titled, “Science Diplomacy and the Arctic Council: A Catalyst for Deeper Regional Cooperation?” The article reads in part as follows;

This week, Arctic Yearbook managing editor Heather Exner-Pirot interviews Clemens Binder, author of “Science as Catalyst for Deeper Arctic Cooperation? Science Diplomacy and the Transformation of the Arctic Council” to better understand how the strengthening of scientific cooperation, including the development of an epistemic community, can improve political cooperation and enhance regional stability. 

HEATHER EXNER-PIROT: What is science diplomacy?

CLEMENS BINDER: It is a growing political concept of using science as a means of foreign policy. Foreign policy is no longer exclusively hard diplomacy, but can include the exchange of knowledge, the exchange of scientists, and cooperation between states regarding prevalent science issues.

The concept of science diplomacy sees scientific cooperation not as its own policy field but as a sub-field of foreign policy. For example, in the Arctic it strengthens cooperation as a whole and serves as a means of deepening cooperation in other fields—what we call a spillover effect.

HEP: Why do you think science cooperation has become such a big part of the work of the Arctic Council?

CB: The main issues in the Arctic can only be solved through scientific cooperation. Climate change, global warming, marine pollution, and so on are global issues and in order to tackle them you need to work through the national level. Cooperation is important—indispensable—for tackling environmental issues, which will likely be exacerbated in the next few years.

In the short term this might be a problem, as the current U.S. administration doesn’t really believe in climate change. But we will need to address these issues through scientific means to increase liveability and promote our common security.

Despite the public position of the Trump administration, these issues are a priority of all the Arctic countries as we saw in the Fairbanks Declaration. All the Arctic states prioritize climate change, the melting of sea ice and glaciers, and adapting to changes, and there are a lot of possible points where states can connect and work together.”

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