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The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) is a thematic organisation of the International Science Council (ISC). SCAR is charged with initiating, developing and coordinating high quality international scientific research in the Antarctic region (including the Southern Ocean), and on the role of the Antarctic region in the Earth system. The scientific business of SCAR is conducted by its Science Groups which represent the scientific disciplines active in Antarctic research and report to SCAR.

In addition to carrying out its primary scientific role, SCAR also provides objective and independent scientific advice to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings and other organizations such as the UNFCCC and IPCC on issues of science and conservation affecting the management of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean and on the role of the Antarctic region in the Earth system. SCAR has made numerous recommendations on a variety of matters, many of which have been incorporated into Antarctic Treaty instruments. Foremost amongst these have been the advice provided for the many international agreements which provide protection for the ecology and environment of the Antarctic.

SCAR meets every two years to conduct its administrative business at the SCAR Delegates' Meeting. At these meetings the members of SCAR, through their appointed Delegates, are responsible for formulating SCAR policy and strategy. They also elect an Executive Committee from among themselves to manage SCAR on behalf of its members. The Executive Committee comprises the President, and four Vice-Presidents (each appointed for a term of four years), the immediate Past-President (appointed for a term of two years immediately following their presidency), and the SCAR Executive Director. The SCAR Secretariat is based at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, UK, and is staffed by the Executive Director, Executive Officer, Communications and Information Officer and part-time Administrative Officer. It is responsible for the day-to-day administration of SCAR and is responsible to the Executive Committee.

SCAR also holds, prior to the Delegates Meeting, a major Open Science Conference to draw attention to Antarctic issues, along with meetings of the Science Groups that are designed to finalise the Science Programmes for eventual approval by the Delegates.