At the most recent meeting in Tromsø, the Task Force noted the positive and valuable work that has been done towards a possible memorandum of understanding...

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The Task Force for Enhancing Scientific Cooperation in the Arctic was established at the eighth Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Kiruna, Sweden in May 2013. The Kiruna Declaration mandated the Task Force to work towards an arrangement on improved scientific research cooperation among the eight Arctic States. The fourth meeting took place in Tromsø, Norway from 30 September to 1 October. The previous three meetings took place in Stockholm (December 2013), Helsinki (April 2014) and Reykjavik (May 2014).

At the most recent meeting in Tromsø, the Task Force noted the positive and valuable work that has been done towards a possible memorandum of understanding to enhance the exchange of data, access to scientific infrastructure, and simplification of movement of scientists and their equipment, all of which relate to the goal of enhancing scientific cooperation in the Arctic.

Several presentations were given by the delegations to the Tromsø meeting. The Finnish delegation gave informative presentations on EU customs legislation and Schengen rules, while the Aleut International Association presented on traditional and local knowledge. In addition, two observer organizations – the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the University of the Arctic (UArctic) – provided updates on their current activities. IASC also informed the delegates of the current state-of-play of the International Polar Partnership Initiative (IPPI). UArctic underlined the importance of removing research obstacles in the Arctic.

Due to the complex character of the issues at hand, the Task Force co-chairs decided to recommend to Senior Arctic Officials that at the April 24-25, 2015 Ministerial meeting in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Arctic Council Ministers be asked to support a continued mandate for the Task Force, with a view to working towards a legally binding agreement on international scientific research cooperation among the eight Arctic states during the U.S. chairmanship (2015-2017).

Fifty-six delegates participated in the meeting, including representatives from all the eight Arctic Council States. Of the Arctic Council’s Permanent Participants, the Aleut International Association attended, as well as representatives of the Arctic Council Working Groups AMAP and PAME. Observers represented at the meeting included China, France, Poland, Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, Association of World Reindeer Herders (AWRH), the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), International Arctic Social Science Association (IASSA), North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO), and the University of the Arctic (UArctic). The European Union was also in attendance.

The fourth meeting was chaired by Evan Bloom of United States and Vladimir Barbin of Russian Federation.

 

Photo: ACS / Tom Fries