The Arctic Council’s Task Force for Enhancing Scientific Cooperation in the Arctic (SCTF) met on 1-2 December 2015 in Reykjavik, Iceland. During the meeting the group continued to work on drafting the legally-binding agreement on scientific cooperation in the Arctic.
At their last meeting in Copenhagen in August 2015, the Task Force focused on drafting the text of the agreement, including discussions of terms to be used, access to scientific data, infrastructure, and simplification of movement of scientists and their equipment. The Task Force built upon that momentum in Reykjavik with more in-depth consideration of terms and definitions, description of the geographic scope of the agreement, and provisions for review and meetings of the parties.
The Task Force also emphasized the importance of scientific cooperation with the non-Arctic States. A Joint Statement prepared in advance of the meeting by the accredited Arctic Council Observers: France, Germany, and the United Kingdom contributed to the discussion on the draft agreement.
In addition, on Tuesday evening the Icelandic hosts generously invited all meeting delegates to a dinner at the iconic Harpa Concert Hall in downtown Reykjavik.
The Task Force is co-chaired by Vladimir Barbin of the Russian Federation and Evan Bloom of the United States. Both co-chairs expressed their optimism following the meeting.
The next meeting of the Task Force will take place in Arlington, Virginia, USA in March 2016.