Science-Policy Interactions

Science as a Diplomatic Tool

Science as a Diplomatic Tool

Global science offers a path to peace for humanity. This concept of peace and science “in the interest of all mankind” was first instituted in the Antarctic Treaty, which was signed in Washington, DC on 1 December 1959 to continue international cooperation on the basis of freedom of scientific investigation in Antarctica as applied during the International Geophysical Year. 

After World War II, three independent challenges appeared that would converge during the following decade with global relevance for future generations. The military challenge was the inevitability of rockets that could deliver nuclear weapons. The political challenge was establishment of international status for the Antarctic area. The scientific challenge was to coordinate geophysical observations of the Earth system in a shared international context on a planetary scale.

The nexus of ballistic missiles, international spaces and global science came with the Antarctic Treaty. However, rapid emergence of the Antarctic Treaty was much more than serendipity and the International Geophysical Year itself (convened from 1 July 1957 to 31 December 1958) was a carefully crafted tool of diplomacy to unite the cold-war superpowers (i.e., the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) in the peaceful use of regions and resources that extend beyond the jurisdiction of any one nation.

The ways and methods in which research impacts on policy, and how policy draws on research.