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World Antarctic Focus on New Zealand

July 23, 2014

World Antarctic Focus on New Zealand

The world of Antarctic science will be focused on New Zealand next month when the country hosts close to 1,000 delegates at the biennial Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Open Science Conference.

Representatives of all of the international Antarctic programmes will also be in New Zealand for the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) Symposium and Annual General Meeting.

“This is an unprecedented concentration of expertise and focus on Antarctica that reflects the importance of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean to the whole world,” said Peter Beggs, CEO of Antarctica New Zealand and a member of COMNAP.

“It is a real privilege for New Zealand to host both the SCAR conference and the COMNAP meetings at the same time.

“This is, in part, a reflection of New Zealand’s global leadership in Antarctica environmental protection,” he said.

Earlier this year Queenstown hosted 80 leading Antarctic scientists, policy makers, environmental leaders and visionaries at the inaugural Antarctic and Southern Ocean Horizon Scan retreat.

That event identified the most important research questions facing the continent in the next 20 years. Invited participants included 25 members of the event’s International Steering Committee and 30 experts selected from 800 worldwide nominations of 500 individuals.

The detailed findings of Horizon Scan will be a keynote feature of the SCAR Open Science Conference.

“Antarctica is the keystone and most vulnerable part of global ocean and climate systems,” said Professor Bryan Storey, Director of Gateway Antarctica, Centre for Antarctic Studies and Research at the University of Canterbury and Chair of the local organising committee for the SCAR OSC.

“What happens in Antarctica affects the rest of the world and Antarctica is changing.

“The SCAR Open Science Conference will see the best scientists in the world presenting papers and engaging in symposia that will help inform our understanding and plan for the future of this predominantly frozen continent.”

“We anticipate that the attention of the world’s top Antarctic scientists and policy advisors in New Zealand will raise awareness in this country of the key role that Antarctica will play in our futures,” said Storey.

New Zealand won the rights to host both the SCAR Open Science Conference and the COMNAP AGM and Symposium in an internationally competitive bid process.

This will be the first time that these globally significant events have both been held in New Zealand.

Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR)
33rd SCAR Biennial Meetings (Auckland)
Saturday August 23 – Wednesday September 3

Open Science Conference (Auckland)
Sunday August 24 – Thursday August 28

Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP)
COMNAP Symposium (Auckland)
Monday August 25

COMNAP Annual General Meeting (Christchurch)
Wednesday August 27 – Friday August 29

ENDS

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