The Asian Forum for Polar Sciences: An assessment of regional cooperation
at : Dec 18, 2018 09:38:41  (view:55)

Author: Andrea Colombo

Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand. Email address:

Abstract: This paper presents a review of the current status of Asian countries’ relations with Antarctica, aimed at deepening understanding of the role of the Asian Forum for Polar Sciences (AFoPS) in the area covered under the Antarctic Treaty. The paper critically examines the current situation regarding the Asian presence in Antarctica and provides a historical outline of the AFoPS. Whereas the activities of individual Asian countries in Antarctica have been extensively analyzed in previous studies, those of the AFoPS constitute a research gap within the scholarly literature. Therefore, an assessment of the role of the AFoPS within the wider Antarctic region from both the policy and scientific perspectives is necessary to better understand its relationship with other international organizations that are active in the area covered by the Antarctic Treaty. Over the course of its relatively short history, the AFoPS has accomplished a number of achievements. These include the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Arctic Science Committee and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. Additionally, collaborative activities have been undertaken by members of the Forum, entailing, for example, exchanges of personnel,  cooperation and support extended within scientific projects. Consequently, AFoPS member countries that traditionally lack a polar background, such as Thailand and Vietnam, have been able to conduct scientific activities in Antarctica.

Keywords: Asia, Antarctica; Asian Forum for Polar Sciences; Policy; Science