With the end of the 2018/2019 Antarctic summer field season, we now approach the 42nd Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting. The meeting is especially significant because it marks the 60th Anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty, signed in Washington, D.C. on December 1st, 1959.
SCAR will attend the Prague ATCM as an Observer, in keeping with its usual practice, offering science-based advice to the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) and to the Antarctic Treaty Parties, both as a consequence of information coming from SCAR’s activities, and in response to requests from the Parties to the Treaty, and the Members of the CEP.
Offering advice to the Antarctic Treaty System and to others, such as bodies of the United Nations, is one of SCAR’s primary roles, including as a body of the International Science Council, a major partner in the International Network for Government Science Advice.
SCAR’s other primary role is to facilitate research in, from and about Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. To give effect to this facilitation, SCAR is structured in a way that enables its Members and its participatory scientists to bring new ideas to the fore, and to decide how these will be supported. The structure, which at its heart consists of the flagship Scientific Research Programmes, Science Groups and their subsidiaries covering a range of disciplinary areas, and Standing Committees, has been in place since SCAR’s review in the early 2000s.
In 2018, the Delegates to SCAR requested that the Executive Committee of SCAR re-examine this structure, by way of a Structural Review, to determine whether the structure continues to serve the organisation, and to make recommendations for any changes at the 2020 meeting of Delegates. That process is now underway. A survey has gone out to the community as a whole. That survey is, however, not the only way SCAR’s Members (and thus the national adhering bodies to SCAR) may make contributions.
The Executive Committee of SCAR, and notably the Vice-President for Administration, Gary Wilson, will circulate a first draft of the Structural Review outcomes and proposals by March 2020 with opportunity for comment. A final draft of the proposals will then be circulated with the documents for the 2020 Delegates meeting.
That meeting will be held in Hobart, Australia. SCAR is delighted to be holding its Open Science Conference together with the meeting of the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs, and in a city that is host also to the Secretariats of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels.
Details of the SCAR 2020 OSC are available at: https://www.scarcomnap2020.org/