Task Force Report to the Senior Arctic Officials.
Arctic Council Task Force on Scientific Cooperation in the Arctic
"As a result, under the co-chairmanship of representatives from Sweden, the Russian Federation and the United States, the Scientific Cooperation Task Force met five times, with participation from all Arctic States, Permanent Participants, and accredited observers. Delegations confirmed the importance of scientific research in the Arctic and the role of traditional knowledge and, given the elevated cost of performing research in the Arctic, the importance of efficiency and collaboration to further research in areas of common interest. Delegations identified many national research priorities that are shared among the Arctic States and international science planning bodies, and then focused on the need to remove obstacles to collaboration and to support efficiency in collaborative Arctic research. The Task Force identified several key areas where shared efforts could improve scientific cooperation including sharing of data and metadata, facilitating the movement of people, samples and equipment across borders for the purposes of conducting research, facilitating logistics and access to research areas, and facilitating access to research facilities. The Task Force concluded that a high-level agreement was the best mechanism to advance the objectives set by the Ministers in Kiruna, and the text of a draft Memorandum of Understanding was initially discussed. In the course of these discussions, it became clear that, for some countries, addressing issues such as the movement of people and equipment across borders and access to research areas may require significant involvement from a wide range of government agencies and stakeholders that do not have a science mandate. It was agreed that resolution on these issues may benefit from the force of a legally binding agreement. The Task Force recommends to SAOs, for inclusion in the Iqaluit Declaration, that the Task Force work towards a legally binding Agreement on scientific cooperation with a view to completing its work during the US Chairmanship." /.../