Science Diplomacy and Security in the Arctic
The side event “Science Diplomacy and Security in the Arctic” raised several interesting points on the topic of science collaboration in the face of security concerns in the Arctic. As pointed out by Dmitry Tulupov, from St. Petersburg State University, science diplomacy can often act as a double edged sword, in that science can be essential to maintaining ties between Arctic nations while also posing challenges in the event that research overlaps with security interests. While caution and careful selection of research projects may serve as a solution, as Dmitry suggested, we are left wondering how emerging technology will challenge the border between science and security. As Michael Byers from the University of Columbia pointed out, citizen science in particular may add an additional element of transparency in both scientific and security measures globally, as ordinary citizens gain access to previously exclusive information. In light of Jakub Gozimirski’s discussion of the historical fluctuation of international cooperation and competition in the Arctic, we are thus left speculating the role of technology and innovation in mitigating or perhaps even exacerbating future international tensions, in both scientific and military arenas. Other notable points included those made by Christoph Humrich, who spoke of the interaction between science and policy, with a “less enthusiastic” opinion that science is becoming increasingly political, and therefore, that we should not rely upon scientific collaboration as a means of diplomacy. While Humrich’s analysis addressed the larger, more theoretical scale, Jørgen Berge, a professor of Marine Biology at UiT, on the other hand, offered a more positive example of successful research collaboration through his observational ice platform project. Thus, it seems the question of scale emerges as an important indicator of successful science collaboration and “diplomacy.”
By Rylin McGee, Bachelors, University of Richmond, USA
DISCLAIMER: These posts are contributions from participants in Arctic Frontiers Young Ambassadors program and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arctic Frontiers.