Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 438

438 Arctic Yearbook 2015 first International Polar Year (IPY) (1882-1883) organized by the International Polar Commission.1 The first IPY did not only collect an enormous amount of material and information, but it was also the first successful attempt at collaboration by different countries in the field of scientific research (Barr & Luedecke 2010) and a major breakthrough in the conduct of research in the Arctic, dominated until that time by patriotic rivalries and separate competitive national explorations (Stone 2015: 71). The second IPY took place fifty years later in 1932-33 and the third, under the banner of International Geophysical Year (IGY), in 1957-1958. The IGY had a strong focus on Antarctica and, as a form of its legacy, the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU, today’s International Council for Science) established in 1958 the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), which later came to serve as a model for scientific cooperation in the Arctic. It was during the SCAR meeting in San Diego in 1986 that the idea of creating an equivalent body for scientific collaboration in the Arctic was informally discussed among delegates from both Arctic and non-Arctic countries. The initiative came from the United States and the then President of SCAR and the Chairman of the newly established US Arctic Research Commission (USARC) who proposed the creation of similar collaboration mechanisms that existed for the Antarctica also for the North. However, the situation in the Arctic was much different from that around the South Pole and still strongly marked by the Cold War divisions. Apart from single occasions like the signing of the Polar Bear Treaty in 1973, the Soviet Union had a strict policy of bilateral contacts in the region, which during the 1980s took form of scientific cooperation between the USSR and Canada, and the USSR and Norway. Moreover, the long-standing Soviet position was that Arctic affairs should be dealt with by Arctic rim states alone (Keskitalo 2004: 45). Hence, even though the main outcome of the San Diego meeting was a consent to continue to explore the possibility of creating an international Arctic science committee (Rogne, Rachold, Hacquebord & Corell 2015: 9), due to the USSR stance it was agreed that the next meeting would include representatives solely from Arctic nations. However, at that time no clear definition of the Arctic nation yet existed. It was only after a series of consultations, which began with the Arctic littoral states, that it was decided that countries with territories north of the Arctic Circle would be considered the Arctic ones, hence laying ground for the final identification of the eight states as “Arctic” (Keskitalo 2004: 45), the definition later adopted by the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS) and subsequently by the Arctic Council. With regard to what later became the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), the planning process and elaboration of the organizations founding articles continued in the cycle of meetings between February 1987 and May 1989. In the meantime, in October 1987, Mikhail Gorbachev delivered his groundbreaking speech in Murmansk, which paved the way for future collaborative efforts in the region. Next to proposing an integrated plan for protecting Arctic natural environment, Gorbachev put forward the idea of an international organization to facilitate scientific research in the North. While the discussions on its creation had already been well underway, the Murmansk speech ensured the USSR support to the initiative and provided the impetus for further work. However, it turned out that the main obstacle in the process was reaching an agreement among Arctic countries on participation and a role of non-Arctic nations in the new body. Even though delegates 25 Years of IASC