IASC 25 years - Page 38

02 I AS C I n i t i at i ve s 2.1 International Science Initiative in the Russian Arctic (ISIRA) Sergey Priamikov and Odd Rogne Reviewer: Lee Cooper After a short period of time when foreign research groups flooded into the Russian Arctic (a region that had been mainly forbidden to foreigners), a federal access system was put in place with permits and logistical requirements. IASC was founded just after the end of the Cold War and as circumarctic cooperation was about to The idea of an International Science Initiative in the emerge. However, there were several barriers to Russian Arctic (ISIRA) was launched in 1993. This overcome before such cooperation could become a was a Russian and international cooperative initia- reality. A lack of contact networks between eastern tive designed to assist arctic science and sustain- and western scientists, language barriers, and fund- able development in the Russian Arctic by: ing opportunities were just a few of the challenges. - Initiating multinational research programs that would address specific key problems in the Rus- Toward the end of the Soviet Union, a few bilater- sian Arctic; al agreements had been signed and some progress - Providing a forum to link on-going or planned had been made in joint arctic studies. However, the bilateral projects to achieve added value and collapse of the Soviet Union and the ensuing eco- avoid duplication; nomic problems severely handicapped Russian arc- - Facilitating improved scientific access to the tic scientists and science institutions – a community Russian Arctic; that could contribute significantly to addressing - Advising on funding and organizing the imple- some of the vast environmental and other challeng- mentation of agreed-upon projects.1 es in the Russian Arctic and beyond. At first, the ISIRA secretariat (served by the IASC For western arctic scientists, the Russian Arctic – Secretariat) was focused on identifying potential covering almost half of the Arctic polar region – con- partners on both sides, pushing for funding oppor- stituted a wealth of research opportunities both in tunities (from the European Union – EU, and nation- the natural sciences and also, to some extent, in the al sources), and promoting the Russian Arctic as an human and social sciences. outstanding laboratory for both natural, and human Meeting of the IASC Advisory Group International Science Initiative in the Russian Arctic (ISIRA) at the Arctic Science Summit Week 2014 in Helsinki, Finland. Photo: IASC Secretariat 37 00 02 IASC Initiatives