IASC 25 years - Page 79

endeavors was natural for me since I was among This was triggered during 2004 with the pending the founding PIs of the US Long-Term Ecological retirement of Odd Rogne, who had been with IASC Research project and the International Tundra Ex- from its conception and through its formation and periment (ITEX). Further, I was an officer at the US entire existence and brought his energy, diplomacy NSF, OPP when the US Study of Environmental Arc- and total understanding of international science tic Change (SEARCH) program, an analog of ISAC, administration to the Committee. He had counseled was being envisioned. Both involved my predilection each successive president with unflagging skill and for systems science and maintaining and expanding energy. During the international search for a new capabilities for long-term observation with the nec- Executive Secretary it became apparent that IASC essary data archiving and the increasing awareness should explore other ways to host and fund the of global change. Secretariat. For fifteen years, the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment and the Norwegian National I was delighted to have championed the formation Committee on Polar Research had generously un- of PAG within the IASC umbrella (see Chapter 2.4). derwritten the costs of the Secretariat´s physical John Calder, Martin Bergman, and Zhanhai Zhang led space, salaries, and travel costs. Our problem was this effort which brought a Pacific Rim dimension to solved when an offer from the Royal Swedish Acad- ASSW deliberations. PAG provided, with the growing emy of Sciences to fund and host the Secretariat, Asian membership of IASC, a way of bal ancing what, at least for a few years while other solutions could heretofore, had been a rather amphiatlantic, Eastern be explored, was accepted. Our next great good Arctic, North Atlantic, and European Arctic bias in fortune was to recruit Volker Rachold as the new climate and ocean issues. Executive Secretary. Thus, in 2005, the Secretariat moved from Oslo to Stockholm. The physical Since IASC´s inception, there had been quiet discus- and management changes were seamless thanks sion about merging with AOSB. AOSB had preced- to the continuing drive and mentoring by Odd, the ed IASC by some half dozen years and was a highly pre-adapted skills of Volker and the warm welcome successful Arctic science organization concerned to Sweden by Anders Karlqvist, Director General of with understanding marine ecosystems. As such, the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat. IASC itself effectively concerned itself with terrestrial, cryospheric, and social issues. AOSB, in my Reflections and Acknowledgements view, was always the strongest partner with IASC The IASC partnerships I have described led, and I feel in endeavors like ASSW and ICARP. I had particular sure will continue to lead, to productive research enjoyment for many years at being welcomed, even planning and science synthesis for the Arctic. Prob- as a landlubber, at AOSB meetings and I can assert lems of a complex and geographically dispersed that the best science reporting of ASSW occurred at nature, such as those encountered in the Arctic, these meetings. I recollect how much I enjoyed the require team efforts. Success will be judged under various polynya programs as they evolved over the the 14th century English proverb “the proof of the years. I was active in the discussions that were the pudding will be in the eating.” We can see from the prelude to the AOSB merger with IASC. I was able websites of IASC, the Arctic Council, and SCAR how to assure the leadership of AOSB that being part much store is being put into partnerships. There is of IASC would not detract from their independence a veritable pantheon and taxonomy of agreements, and would add the strength and economy to the understandings, affiliations and joint ventures. Nev- organization of Arctic science. ertheless, I must admonish that listing and collecting partners is only valuable if they are functional Perhaps my largest challenge as President was to assure the recruitment of a new Executive Secre- tion that most successful partnerships depend on tary and deal with the relocation of the Secretariat. 78 and more than window dressing. It is my observathe leadership and motivation of a few individuals 03 Contributions of Former IASC Presidents