IASC 25 years - Page 7

P ref a c e Initiation of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC): Susan Barr IASC President 2014 the membership continues to grow. This fact alone proves that those involved in arctic science consider IASC to be relevant and important. In addition I wish to highlight some developments that I have seen during my period of direct involvement, starting as a Council member in 2008. The Arctic Science Summit Week, which began in a modest way in 1999, has become a leading forum for interaction and communication. The Association of Early Career Scien- The First International Polar Year 1882-83 was tists (APECS), which grew out of the Fourth Polar initiated with the goal of changing the focus of arc- Year 2007-2008, has been and continues to be tic expeditions from personal and national ambitions strongly supported by IASC, as is also the inclusion to scientific cooperation for the common good. This of indigenous representatives in the development cooperation increased and expanded through the of arctic science. The establishment in 2010 of the following three Polar Years. At the same time the five Working Groups enables active scientists to number of scientific bodies cooperating on specific participate more strongly in providing initiatives and disciplines increased until arctic science seemed to cross-cutting possibilities for arctic research. Not be well covered with scientific societies and com- least I am personally pleased to note the stronger mittees. In the Antarctic the International Geophys- position that the humanities and social sciences ical Year 1957-58 (Third Polar Year) established the now has within the IASC system. The newly-estab- Special (later Scientific) Committee on Antarctic lished Fellowship Program to help young scientists Research (SCAR) in order to increase cooperation develop a network within their own discipline, and and structuring of the various scientific activ- the expansion of the IASC Secretariat to include ities, and SCAR became a model for the idea of a more officers based in their own countries, are the non-governmental scientific body in the Arctic that latest initiatives of IASC which underline the organi- could help to promote and facilitate cooperation and zation’s purpose as a non-governmental organiza- coordination within the various disciplines over the tion that aims to encourage, facilitate and promote entire circum-Arctic. cooperation in all aspects of arctic research in all countries engaged in arctic research and in all areas The background for the establishment of IASC was of the arctic region. many faceted and involved also shifting international political developments as is well documented This account of “25 Years of Arctic Research in this review of IASC’s history. Once the organiza- Cooperation” could have been a relatively dry list- tion was established, however, the development ing of facts. However, the contributors have all from 1990 to today has proved that the idea of been, or still are, deeply committed to the develop- such a body was both sound and, indeed, seems to ment of the International Arctic Science Commit- have been successful beyond even the ambitions of tee and they convey an insight, engagement and its founders. enthusiasm that lifts the story to a higher level. I am sure that both the knowledgeable and the less in- This preface will not attempt to summarize the volved reader will find much here to awaken interest developments that are documented in the book, and understanding, not only of IASC itself, but also but I will point to the fact that IASC now consists of the general history of the last 25 years of arctic of representatives of 22 member countries and research.