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An Arctic example: How scientific collaboration can foster international stability

American Association for the Advancement of Science

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IMAGE: Quebec Consulate Opening Consul Generals. This material relates to a paper that appeared in the 3 November 2017, issue of Science, published by AAAS. The paper, by P.A. Berkman at... view more 

Credit: Science Diplomacy PhD Workshop Aug. 2017_Copyright Trustees of Tufts College_Photos by Anna Miller

In this Policy Forum, Paul Arthur Berkman et al. underscore how international scientific collaboration in the Arctic can help align common interests among countries experiencing geopolitical conflict. Their article follows the signing of the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation last May. The Agreement was signed by the foreign ministers of the eight Arctic States - including by the U.S. and Rus­sia, despite deteriorating relations between the two countries in the wake of conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, issues involving cyber-security, and broader concerns about expand­ing militarization. The authors walk readers through a history of international Arctic collaboration that began in the 1950s and has continuously grown ever since. They highlight numerous benefits that this latest agreement will yield, including: improved movement of researchers, equipment, and materials; increased sharing of data and metadata; and the transfer of tradi­tional and local knowledge across territories. As well, they offer a list of ways to further foster better scientific collaboration within the limits of the Agreement. Effective implementation of the agree­ment will require its associated networks to help strengthen re­search and education across borders, Berkman et al. say, noting that this underscores how science diplomacy helps to balance national interests and com­mon interests for the lasting benefit of all. Related stakeholders plan a meeting in Moscow in November.

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