Thursday, June 20, 2024

Global change key to Antarctic priorities

New, refreshed, and modern priorities for New Zealand’s Antarctic and Southern Ocean research under the main theme of global change were announced this week.

The Antarctic Research Directions and Priorities 2021-2030 reaffirms Aotearoa New Zealand’s focus on impactful science that helps understand the role of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in global systems, and recognises and reflects the value of mātauranga Māori, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement.

Priority areas for research are sea level rise, ice-ocean-atmosphere connections, ecosystem dynamics, and environmental protection.

The Antarctic Research Directions and Priorities builds on The New Zealand Antarctic and Southern Ocean Science Directions and Priorities 2010-2020 document, and were prepared jointly by the Antarctic Science Priorities Working Group, an inter-agency group including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), Antarctica New Zealand, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the Department of Conservation (DOC), and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

“Increasing our understanding of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean environment and how it is changing can help us to anticipate future impacts on Aotearoa New Zealand and how to deal with them,” MFAT said.

It will also support our country’s commitment to promote and collaborate on scientific research of the highest standards and to preserve and protect Antarctica and the Southern Ocean for present and future generations, it said.

“We intend that the priorities and directions provide guidance to both researchers and government agencies, in particular with respect to investment,” the Priorities’ foreword by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta; Minister for Oceans and Fisheries, David Parker; Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw; Minister for Research, Science and Innovation, Megan Woods; and Minister of Conservation, Kiri Allan reads

“Aotearoa New Zealand’s Antarctic and Southern Ocean research will have impact, be excellent, and make
connections. It will advance New Zealand’s Commitment to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. It will uphold
the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and recognise and reflect the value of mātauranga Māori. And it will
contribute to New Zealand’s climate change, Antarctic, and environmental policies.

“In 2021, we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty coming into force. Aotearoa New Zealand
was one of the 12 original signatories to the Antarctic Treaty in 1959, and we look forward to many years
ahead of cooperation with international partners and world-leading Antarctic research by New Zealand
scientists and researchers, to inform and support the protection of Antarctica in accordance with the
principles of the Antarctic Treaty. A foundation of the best available science ensures that the Antarctic Treaty
System continues to align with Aotearoa New Zealand’s values and that Antarctica remains forever a place for
peace, cooperation, and science.”

You can read more about these priorities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade website:

Aotearoa New Zealand Antarctic Research Directions and Priorities

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