Thematic Network on Science Diplomacy


The Science Diplomacy Thematic Network builds on scientific cooperation that has maintained the high north as a region of low tension, helping achieve Arctic sustainability across generations. The Network will enhance research, education and leadership at the intersection of the sciences (natural sciences, social sciences and Indigenous knowledge) and diplomacy. It will engage the full range of stakeholders, from diplomats and experts to students, in an international, interdisciplinary and inclusive manner. Science diplomacy in the Arctic has already proven its global relevance, as highlighted by the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation signed by the foreign ministers of all eight Arctic states as well as from the Governments of Greenland and the Faroe Islands on 11 May 2017 at the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska (Fig.1, Table 1).

Science Diplomacy Figure1

FIGURE 1: INSTITUTIONAL INTERPLAY WITH THE ARCTIC SCIENCE AGREEMENT and other circumpolar Arctic governance mechanisms adopted after 2009 (Table 1), closely coupled with the international framework of the Law of the Sea, to which the eight Arctic States and six Indigenous Peoples Organizations “remain committed” (Arctic Council Secretariat 2013). 

TABLE 1: Circumpolar Complex of Arctic Governance Mechanisms Emerging after 2009





In Force

Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic

May 12,


January 19,


Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement 2011

Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic

May 15,


March 25,


Arctic Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness Agreement 2013

Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation

May 11,


May 23,


Arctic Science Agreement 2017

International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code)

appending IMO Conventions

January 1,


Polar Code 2017

Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean

October 3,


next steps

Central Arctic High Seas Fisheries Agreement 2018



The Science Diplomacy Thematic Network will involve interdisciplinary research (natural sciences, social sciences, indigenous knowledge and international relations) in the Arctic context, collaborative and innovative education opportunities across the UArctic Network (science diplomacy joint courses, faculty exchanges, etc.), and will convene high-level, international dialogues and conferences.

  • Arctic conferences that contribute to UArctic, building on progress with the Fletcher Arctic Initiative and its seven previous Arctic conferences;
  • Science Diplomacy Clubs at institutions across UArctic, building on progress of the Fletcher Science Diplomacy Club;
  • International dialogues among high-level decision makers and global thought leaders that build common interests among nations by applying science diplomacy, as exemplified by the NATO Advanced Research Workshop that became the first dialogue between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Russian Federation regarding environmental security in the Arctic Ocean;
  • Mock Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting and student-ambassador construction of declarations that they negotiate by consensus and sign, as developed through the course on Science Diplomacy: Environmental Security in the Arctic Ocean, which involved video-teleconferencing between The Fletcher School (United States) and MGIMO University (Russian Federation) in Spring 2019; and
  • Student and faculty exchanges that relate to science-diplomacy research, education and leadership, as demonstrated by currently funded research projects at Science Diplomacy Center at Tufts University through the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
  • Book series on Informed Decisionmaking for Sustainability is being developed in collaboration with Arctic Frontiers and the Science Diplomacy Center.  In January 2020, Arctic Frontiers in Tromsø, Norway, will convene a Science Diplomacy Dialogue with contributed papers that will be memorialized in Volume 2 (Building Common Interests in the Arctic Ocean with Global Inclusion) of this book series, with subsequent volumes in following years.


Science Diplomacy - References

Other Information

The Science Diplomacy Center™ website:

Video interview: Paul Berkman, Lead of the UArctic Thematic Network on Science Diplomacy