The International Polar Year (IPY) is an extensive interdisciplinary and multilateral scientific program focusing on issues arising from and opportunities presented by the unique environment of the Arctic and the Antarctic regions. IPY will extend from March 2007 through March 2008.
The U.S. Department of State strongly supports international scientific cooperation being undertaken as part of the International Polar Year. IPY presents an extraordinary opportunity to explore new frontiers in polar science, improve our understanding of the critical role of the polar regions in global processes, and educate the public about the polar regions.
The Department of State coordinates and leads U.S. policy with respect to the Arctic and Antarctic and heads U.S. delegations to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources , the Arctic Council , and other polar organizations and fora. Information about U.S. Antarctic and Arctic policies is available from the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
The State Department supports U.S. scientific efforts worldwide by facilitating scientific cooperation with foreign governments through science and technology agreements and numerous other cooperative arrangements. Many of the existing agreements and arrangements will support cooperative efforts during IPY. For example, marine science will form an important component of the IPY, and the Department's vessel clearance program ensures that marine scientific research by U.S. entities can take place in foreign Arctic waters, and research by foreign entities can occur in U.S. Arctic waters.
In addition, the Department coordinates and promotes through the Arctic Council a wide range of science projects related to IPY. For example, the Centers for Disease Control leads the Arctic Human Health Initiative (AHHI), a group of projects that looks at a range of health issues facing Arctic residents. The State Department provided funding to the AHHI in fiscal year 2005. In addition, the State Department provided funding to the Bering Sea Sub-network, an indigenous-led project of the Aleut International Association that will monitor changes in the marine environment of the Bering Sea.
The Antarctic Treaty , which forms the basis of international scientific and technology cooperation in the Antarctic, was negotiated pursuant to the extraordinary cooperation among nations during the 1958 International Geophysical Year (IGY). On the 50 th anniversary of the signing of the treaty in 2009, the U.S. will host the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting. The Department plans to include one or more days devoted to examining the results of IPY when it hosts that meeting.
Information about specific U.S. Government activities during IPY can be found at www.ipy.gov .
The Department of State is sponsoring The Arctic Energy Summit’s Technology Conference, the premier energy conference of the International Polar Year, focusing on the Arctic as an emerging are for energy exploration and research. For four days, energy experts from around the Far North, along with those from outside the Arctic region, will discuss, debate and collaborate on energy challenges and opportunities in the extractive and renewable fields, as well as tackle how to provide affordable energy to the Arctic remote communities.
The summit, set for October 15-18, 2007 in Anchorage, Alaska. In addition to the technology conference, this two-year project includes:
• An educational outreach component designed to be implemented through a bilingual (English/Russian) Arctic energy website, www.arcticenergysummit.org. Upon securing adequate levels of funding, other educational activities may include: funding undergraduate and graduate research work in the areas of Arctic energy and power; a graduate level Arctic energy course; and the development of a web-based and interactive Arctic energy atlas that will include traditional extractive energy resources, as well as non-traditional renewable energy sources.
• The creation and recommendations of an international Arctic energy action team assigned to develop a roadmap for the enhancement of extractive energy recovery in the Arctic, the expanded use of renewable and hybrid energy sources and the deployment of economical and environmentally sensitive energy sources to rural Arctic communities.
Treaties and Conventions