International Antarctic Science: The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research


The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) had its antecedents in the Special Committee on Antarctic Research of the International Geophysical Year, and thus its establishment in 1958 predates the Antarctic Treaty. As an ICSU body it is a non-governmental organisation yet it has been intimately linked to the governmental discussions at the Treaty since the first Treaty meeting in 1961. Its primary role has always been to develop and co-ordinate international scientific research but it has also provided independent advice to Treaty Parties on any scientific or environmental questions, initially through national governments. Only in 198? was SCAR given the status of Observer and granted the right to attend ATCMs and submit information and working papers itself.Its earliest input to governance was advice on conservation that became the Agreed Measures of 1964, and for the first 40 years of the Treaty SCAR provided major input on protected areas and protected species, as well as environmental impact and monitoring. Its BIOMASS programme laid the foundations for CCAMLR The organisation of SCAR remained virtually unchanged for around 30 years until the logisticians split off to form COMNAP in 1989. The organisation was languishing but a major review of structure and function changed that in 2000 resulting in the establishment of Open Science Conferences, major new international programmes, increased educational outreach and a greater input to the Treaty meetings often on controversial subjects like marine acoustics or specially protected species. There are currently 31 full members with four other countries interested in joining.



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Dr. Michael Richardson United Kingdom


Dr. Marie Jacobsson Principal Legal Advisor on International Law, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden
Ambassador R. Rucker Scully United States
Professor David Walton Professor Emeritus, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, United Kingdom


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