A territory of dialogue
"The Arctic is a territory of dialogue," said the legendary Russian explorer and scientist Arthur Chilingarov at the opening ceremony of the IPY Oslo Science Conference, and called for further research efforts throughout a Polar Decade.
Chilingarov called for an International Polar Decade to follow the
success of the International Polar Year as he addressed more than 2000
fellow scientists at the official opening of the largest gathering of
polar scientists ever to take place.
A new polar initiative
Chilingarov emphasised the importance of the huge volume of research and new findings that are the direct result of the International Polar Year (IPY).
- The IPY has brought us a better understanding of the processes of climate change. However, three years of research has barely scratched the surface, and further work is absolutely necessary. An International Polar Decade is needed, if we are to answer the many questions of concern to mankind, he said.
The concept of a Polar Decade has been discussed by several bodies and has been met with positive response from all parties, said Chilingarov at the press conference following the opening ceremony.
- We need a formal body to shoulder the responsibility for polar research and supervise and coordinate the many research projects in the Arctic and Antarctic region, he said.
Photo: John Petter Reinertsen/Samfoto
Arthur Chilingarov met fellow polar explorer Liv Arnesen at the IPY-OSC.
The renowned Arctic explorer and polar scientist was part of the Russian North Pole expedition in 2007, when scientists descended 4300 metres below the sea surface at the North Pole to collect samples from the seabed. They thus became the first to reach ground, rather than ice at the Earth's North Pole.
The expedition also planted the Russian flag on the bottom of the North Pole -a symbolic act which has been met with criticism from the global community for its political implications.
At the press conference in Oslo, Chilingarov dismissed the critics, calling the planting of the flag ‘tradition'.
- When Amundsen flew over the North Pole with a Zeppelin in 1926, he dropped three flags: the Norwegian flag, the Italian flag and the American flag. Flags are part of the Arctic tradition, said Chilingarov, who is special adviser to the Russian president on Arctic and Antarctic Issues.
He called for further scientific projects in the Arctic and linked research efforts to the need to establish territorial boundaries in the Arctic in accordance with the International Law of the Sea.
- I am no longer in politics, but I must tell you that the seabed under the North Pole is beautiful, was his final remark.
Last updated: 08.06.2010