On Wednesday 16th May, SCAR hosted a lunch function for the Heads of Delegation of the Antarctic Treaty Parties, Observers and Experts to celebrate its 60th Anniversary.
The lunch was entitled The Road Ahead for Antarctic Science. A View from 60 Years of Science Facilitation and was supported by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
SCAR President Steven Chown gave a short overview of the history of SCAR and particularly its major science facilitation and advice successes. He then focussed on the future, noting that two major scientific challenges face the Antarctic community as a whole:
Understanding the future of the West and East Antarctic Ice Sheets and what this means for sea level rise;
Investigating the ways in which marine and terrestrial systems of the Antarctic will respond to global and local challenges, and what actions should be taken to conserve the region’s ecosystems and species.
He noted that addressing these challenges is in the global interest.
Speaking for the United Kingdom and New Zealand, Ms Amy Laurenson, Head of the Delegation of New Zealand to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, recognised the immense contribution SCAR has made to the work of the Antarctic Treaty system. Ms Laurenson noted the global significance of the outcomes of Antarctic science and the increasing public interest in them. She underscored the important role of the Antarctic community in conveying Antarctic science to the broader global community, including in the context of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report. In closing, Ms Laurenson wished SCAR a happy 60th Anniversary and many fruitful years to come.