New Arctic Science Cooperation Agreement Comes into Force

Eos published an article titled, “New Arctic Science Cooperation Agreement Comes into Force”. The article reads in part as follows:

Scientists and diplomats are applauding a new agreement on international scientific cooperation in the Arctic, which entered into force on Wednesday. They said it will help to advance Arctic research across borders and reduce obstacles to research at a time when the region is undergoing rapid changes. Administrative obstacles sometimes have blocked or delayed scientists from having access to Arctic research sites in other countries, they noted.

“The main concern that led to the negotiation of the agreement was that Russia from time to time denied access to its land and water areas in the Arctic to researchers from other states,” Ambassador David Balton, former chair of the Senior Arctic Officials group of the Arctic Council from 2015 to 2017, when the United States chaired the council, told Eos. “In this regard, it’s quite important—and interesting—that Russia cochaired (along with the United States) the negotiations that produced the agreement.”

The legally binding Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation promises “to increase effectiveness and efficiency in the development of scientific knowledge about the Arctic.” It focuses on facilitating access to research areas, research infrastructure and facilities, and data. It also calls for education, career development, and training opportunities, and it encourages the use of traditional and local knowledge in planning and conducting scientific activities. In addition, the document calls for each party to the agreement to designate a “competent national authority” as a point of contact to facilitate communication between and among parties, which could help with efficient implementation.

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