‘Science can bring world’s leading superpowers together’

New Delhi: International scientific collaboration in the Arctic can help align common interests among countries experiencing geopolitical conflict, including the US and Russia, researchers say. The assessment builds upon the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation that was signed in May this year by the foreign ministers of the eight Arctic States, including the US and Russia, despite deteriorating relations between the two countries, according to researchers at Tufts University in the US.

The agreement, also known as the Arctic Science Agreement, minimises the risks that short-term domestic policy shifts will impact relations within the Arctic by cementing a consensus among the countries that will last beyond political cycles, said Paul Arthur Berkman, professor at Tufts. He noted that the agreement enhances the stability of research platforms across nations to interpret and disseminate previously inaccessible data, and will generate continuous data to interpret marine, terrestrial, atmospheric, and human-centred changes.

In effect, the Arctic Science Agreement enhances the capacity of all nations to integrate diverse data into evidence and options that contribute to informed decision- making for Arctic sustainability, he said.

“Governments respond to security issues that involve the risks of political, economic, and cultural instabilities,” said Berkman, lead author of the study published in the journal Science.

“In a global context, unlike any time in human history, there also is urgency to address issues, impacts, and resources involving present and future generations, recognising that children born today will be living in the 22nd century,” he said.

The researchers examined the history of international Arctic collaboration that began in the 1950s and has grown ever since, illustrating how science diplomacy has already promoted cooperation and prevented conflict in the Arctic, most notably between the US and Russia.