Action Group on Resilience and the Future of Science-based Decision-making for Antarctica (Action Group on PoLSciNex)  
  • Luis Valentín Ferrada, Universidad de Chile (Chile)
  • Akiho Shibata, Kobe University (Japan)


    The purpose of the group is to analyze the policy-law-science nexus within the current Antarctic governance framework and to articulate the practical significance of understanding such a nexus, so as to inform stakeholders how science-based decision making relevant to Antarctica is actually operationalized. The policy-law-science nexus AG (PoLSciNex AG), will coordinate the academic research and experts from the fields of international law, international relations, environmental management, and political science, who are interested in developing studies about this Antarctic policy-law-science nexus. Once the specific topics/areas of study have been identified, members from pertinent fields of study, such as biology, fisheries, environmental science, marine science, tourism, and Antarctic logistics will also be invited to join the Group.


    In Antarctica, the study of resilience is not only about its natural systems but also relates to social systems (societal institutions and human practices), including the Antarctic Treaty System, by which the freedom of scientific investigation is guaranteed, operationalized and conditioned. Antarctic science is deeply embedded within an intricate nexus of international and domestic legal regulations and policy preferences. This nexus is apparent if one reviews the complex negotiation and now the implementation of the Ross Sea Region marine protected area (MPA) established under the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), and the discussion relating to biological prospecting at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCM) and in the United Nations (biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction or BBNJ).


    Apparent as this Antarctic policy-law-science nexus might be, neither its operational articulation nor the theoretical underpinning of such a nexus has been critically examined. Doing so requires multidisciplinary analysis among lawyers, international relations scholars, political scientists, and more broadly, Antarctic scientists in general. Many of the questions in SCAR’s Horizon Scan require examination within such a policy-law-science nexus, e.g. Question #66: “How successful will Southern Ocean Marine Protected Areas be in meeting their protection objective, and how will they affect ecosystem processes and resource extraction?”