Project proposal by Norway. Maximising the Legacy of IPY.
Norwegian Delegation to the Arctic Council
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The International Polar Year 2007-2008 (IPY) is a major, international research programme involving many tens of thousands of scientists. IPY aims to make significant advances in the polar sciences, and the IPY effort is especially large in the Arctic. IPY lasts from 1st March 2007 to 1st March 2009, but in reality many IPY projects will continue beyond that date. IPY will have a major impact on polar sciences for years to come. IPY consists of more than 200 international projects. The larger of these typically involve between 10 and 20 countries and a few hundred scientists. A major legacy of the research will be the advances in knowledge that IPY produces, both in publications and in stored, accessible data. In general, such issues are managed by the research communities, and there are already various discussions underway within the IPY bodies on such legacy questions. But this large cooperative effort also opens several other legacy issues. The permanent human presence in the Arctic, the different legal regimes in the Arctic compared to the Antarctic, and the different evolution of science cooperation in the two polar areas mean that many of these are Arctic specific. Thus the Arctic Council is the relevant body to discuss these, rather than the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings, although there obviously are also issues of common interest. It is thus both appropriate and timely that the Arctic Council now considers such IPY legacy issues and decides where it should apply efforts, to ensure that IPY provides maximum benefits and outcomes for society at large.