Tasmania to host key Antarctic meetings in 2020

City and mountain
The city of Hobart, Tasmania (Photo: Jessica Fitzpatrick)

Tasmania will host two major Antarctic meetings in 2020, bringing together the world’s foremost experts in Antarctic research and operations and further cementing the state’s role as a key Antarctic Gateway.

The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) has today announced it will hold its Delegates’ Meeting and Open Science Conference in Hobart in August 2020.

More than 700 Antarctic scientists and academics from over 40 countries are expected to attend the SCAR events. The meetings will provide a significant boost to the Tasmanian economy and showcase the state as a key Antarctic hub.

As a consequence of SCAR’s decision, the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) will also host its Annual General Meeting in Hobart in August, with more than 100 Antarctic program managers and operational experts to attend.

The events will provide an opportunity to recognise and celebrate Australia’s proud legacy of more than 100 years of leadership in Antarctic science, environmental stewardship, operations and policy.

The bid for SCAR was led by the Australian Academy of Science’s National Committee for Antarctic Research (NCAR) in partnership with the Tasmanian Government and Australian Antarctic Division.

Professor Steven Chown, Chair of NCAR and Australia’s Delegate to SCAR said the successful bid was announced at the 2016 Delegates Meeting being held in Malaysia this week.

“They recognise the significance of Hobart not only for its Antarctic science capability, but also as host to the secretariats of both the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels.”

SCAR plays a key role in the delivering of international scientific research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. The Committee also provides independent scientific advice to the Antarctic Treaty System.

COMNAP provides a forum for those delivering support for scientific research in Antarctica to engage, discuss best practice and identify opportunities for collaboration.

Tasmania is recognised as the premier East Antarctic Gateway and the meetings will also provide the state’s Antarctic sector with an opportunity to showcase the services and equipment available to nations operating on the continent and the Southern Ocean.

Australian Antarctic Division Chief Scientist, and Australia’s alternate SCAR delegate, Dr Gwen Fenton, said the meeting would benefit Australia’s Antarctic science community.

“There will be many opportunities for Australian scientists to engage and collaborate with a range of international scientists at the conference and associated workshops,” Dr Fenton said.

Last hosted in Hobart in 2006, the Open Science Conference is held every two years and the 2020 meeting will be coordinated by the Australian Antarctic Division and SCAR.