Science & Geopolitics of Arctic-Antarctic-Himalaya



International Conference on

Science & Geopolitics of Arctic-Antarctic-Himalaya (SaGAA III 2015)


Changes in the Arctic, Antarctica and Himalayas are challenging our understanding of their consequences and our ability to provide knowledge for decision-makers. There needs to be a greater sense of urgency among decision-makers and awareness by the public regarding the global importance of changes taking place in the polar realms. The countries undertaking research on the polar realms have developed specialized scientific skills that today comprise a shared resource for humankind. This uniqueness alongside the presence of different countries in a geographically hostile terrain makes its geopolitically relevant. Thus, the interface between science and geopolitics of Arctic and Antarctic becomes pertinent

But, it is critical to anticipate changes in the poles rather than respond to them. This requires sustained observations and improved understanding of local, regional and global processes. These research challenges must be addressed in a coordinated and timely manner. It is essential to build long-term human capacity to support relevant observations and research among scientists, decision-makers and public through education and by adopting shared principles to guide research activities.

LIGHTS Research Foundation has been working towards a convergence of these two emergent aspects for six years now. To begin with, a National Conference was organised in 2011 followed by an International Conclave in 2012 based on this convergence. The 2015 edition is being conceived as a national conference that will enable the scientific and non-scientific networked group of stakeholders to interact on a single platform to enable greater amalgamation of national research with ground truthing.

The event, metaphorically named the SaGAA (Science and Geopolitics of Arctic & Antarctic), has over the years gained credibility. Within each forum, scientific and geopolitical, findings are shared and events organised. However, an interface within the two is few and far between in India. Since the tenets that determine the icy realms of Arctic and Antarctic are based on science, it becomes important to debate issues on a platform where inter-disciplinary issues can be raised. The backdrop of the Conference, as always remains the Antarctic Treaty (came into force in 1961, acceded to by India in 1983) which importantly does not renounce territorial claims. The Protocol to it on Environmental Protection (which came into force in 1998), whose main objectives are comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment and dependent and associated ecosystems and hereby designate Antarctica as a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science.

The Annex VI to the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty that deals with the liability arising from the environmental emergencies has already been approved by eleven Consultative Parties (Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) by the end of ATCM XXXVII. Most of the other Consultative Parties including India, have confirmed that they were committed to approving Annex VI and are in different stages of preparing their national legislation for this purpose. The International Conference on SaGAA (SaGAA III) plans to discuss the issues concerning India in this regard.
Climate change and technological advancement have acted as big contributors in providing greater accessibility to the Arctic and the Antarctica region. The rapidly changing polar realms initiates changes that cascade through the global system impacting weather, commerce and ecosystems in the more temperate regions. Linkages across disciplines, scales, and diverse knowledge systems must be addressed in future research activities.

Political and economic changes in the world order have led to considerable focus on the polar regions. Understanding the vulnerability and resilience of polar environments and societies requires increased international cooperation. Further a pro-active stance of the new regime in the foreign policy and its positive and emphatic presence in the international fora has necessitated to relook at our polar policy. More effective use must be made of local and traditional knowledge, and the dissemination of this knowledge by ensuring appropriate access to research data and results. New markets for polar resources and associated activities, including trade, tourism and transportation, will likely emerge faster than the necessary infrastructures on land and sea. Sustainable infrastructure development and innovation to strengthen the resilience of these areas requires a collaborative approach involving scientists, communities, governments, and industry. In this context, a consortium of scientists, policy makers and activists need to put together varied notions of research and ideas in order to promote developing views on global environmental and geopolitical governance.

History of SaGAA
SaGAA II 2012: The International Conference on Science and Geopolitics of Arctic and Antarctic (I- SaGAA 2012) in New Delhi was in continuation to SaGAA National 2011. The International Conference held between March 9 and 11, 2012 successfully bounded the session on Geopolitics: UNCLOS and the Global Commons Geopolitics of the Global Realms; Biotechnology: Microbial resources in Polar Regions Dynamics in Polar Marine Biodiversity (Prokaryotes, vertebrates and invertebrates) Information Exchange and Intellectual Property Rights, Resources of the Southern Ocean; Ice Core for Paleo Climate, Southern Ocean and Solar Impact: Sea ice melting, Ice core studies, Southern Ocean Experiments Paleo climate studies; Polar Atmospheric Research: Ozone depletion Meteorological Studies. Theses identified themes helped for enhancing the holistic understanding of the Polar realms by synergising geopolitics and science.
Senior scientists such as Dr. P S Goel, Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Dr. S.W.A. Naqvi, Prof. S. K. Tandon, Dr Rasik Ravindra, Prof. John Turner, Dr. Timo Koivurova, Dr. Victor Smetacek, Dr. John P. Bowman, Prof. Nalan Koc, Prof. John M. Reynolds, Dr. George John, Dr. M. Sudhakar, Dr. S. Shivaji, Dr. Ajit Tyagi, Prof. Sanjay Chaturvedi, Dr. Vijay Sakhuja, Dr. Ajai Saxena, Dr. P.A. Loka Bharathi, Dr. Maria Judith, Dr. Savita Kerkar, Dr. B. Meenakumari, Dr. C. N. Ravishankar, Dr. Pravin Puthra, Prof R. Ramesh, Prof. A. K. Gwal, Dr. T. Meloth, Abhinav Srivastava, Dr. C.G. Deshpande, Dr. Sandip Oza, Dr. Nityanand Singh, Dr. S Rajan, Dr. R.P. Lal, Jai Prakash Chaubey, Prof. A. L. Ramanathan and Dr. D.P. Dobhal attended apart from representatives from all the countries such as United Kingdom, Finland, Germany, Australia, Norway and Chile. The participation of about 100 scientists was observed in the Conference including many reputed and renowned scientists from all over the world along with students, and research scholars from different parts of India. Marvelously remarkable was the fact that the number of participants remained the same from the first day to the last day of the conference marking the riveting nature of the proceedings.

SaGAA I 2011: The first National Conference on Science and Geopolitics or Arctic and Antarctic was held between January 14 and 15, 2011. A consortium of scientists, policy makers and activists were put together to put forward balanced and enabling views on global positions outlining the role of developing nations such as India. The Plenary Session/ Technical Session 1 titled “ Changing Global Positions and Legal Framework of the Polar Realms” began with Dr. Sanjay Chaturvedi’s presentation of his paper titled “Emerging Science-Geopolitics Interface in the Antarctic: The Indian Challenge”. The sessions were graced with the presence of Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Prof. Pandey, Dr. Ajit Tyagi, Dr. N.C. Mehrotra, Dr. Anil K. Gupta, Dr Rasik Ravindra, Dr. S. Shivaji, Dr. S.L. Jain, Dr. V.M. Tiwari, Dr. T. Meloth, Dr. Subba Rao, S. K. Mehta, Prof. Dhruv Sen Singh, and Dr. IML Das. The last session saw Prof. G.N. Nayak, Dr. R. Ramesh, Dr. R.P. Lal, Prof. A.K. Gwal, Dr. V.D. Mishra, Prof. Mihir K. Dash and Dr. B.C. Arya. Dr S.K. Das and Dr Ravindran and Dr. M.Sudhakar also attended the proceedings. It was an extremely successful event which paved the way for the following Conferences on the subject.

Organizing Committee

Dr D P S Seth, Former Secretary, BSNL,
Member TRAI

Dr Rasik Ravindra, Panikkar Professor

Prof Sanjay Chaturvedi,
Punjab University, Chandigarh

Dr M Sudhakar, Advisor, MoES
and Director CMLRE

Ms Sulagna Chattopadhyay,
Editor and Co-Founder,

Advisory Committee

Dr P S Goel,
Former Secretary, MoES

Dr L S Rathore, Director General,
IMD, Delhi

Dr M Ravichandran,
Director, NCAOR

Dr Madhavan Nair Rajeevan,
Director, IITM

Shri Ashwagosh Ganju,
Director, SASE

Dr Wakdikar, Advisor, MoES

Dr K J Ramesh, Advisor, MoES

Dr Swati Basu, Advisor, MoES

Dr Ashok Saha, Scientist, MoES

SaGAA III Completed Sucessfully

SaGAA 2015 Brochure 1 

Internaional Conference on Science & Geopolitics of Arctic & Antarctic (I-SaGAA II 2012)

i sagaa

National Conference on Science & Geopolitics of Arctic & Antarctic (SaGAA II 2011)

sagaa 1 


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