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Arctic Yearbook 2012
which it is a member. Based on scientific capacity and knowledge that have been built for decades
(Grzela, 2011: 196), Polish policy makers will have more diplomatic leverage in shaping institutional
policies. A prospective EU Arctic policy congruent with Polish interests may facilitate their
promotion in Arctic institutions.
Overall, it is fair to say that Polish involvement in the Arctic is based on a realistic estimation of
potential and felicitous utilization of strengths and assets (
uszczuk, 2011a: 132), which makes the
country’s diplomatic actions in reference to the Arctic relatively effective. The Polish approach to the
polar regions seems to have been developed in a cautious, but ambitious manner, aiming at both
securing the country’s scientific interests and seeking opportunities to strengthen relations with
Arctic states through bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
Poland is involved in both polar regions. The state holds a consultative status to the Antarctic
Treaty since 1977 and maintains the Antarctic Polish Station Henryk Arctowski in the Admiralty
Bay, King George Island since 1977. In the Arctic it has a “permanent” observer status at the
Arctic Council (since the inception of the forum in 1996, oficially confirmed in 1998) and the
Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) - since 1993. Polish research institutes maintain several
research stations on the Spitsbergen island (Svalbard Archipleago), and the oldest and biggest
one among them - the Stanislaw Siedlecki Polish Polar Station at Hornsund - is operated year
For more information on Polish exploratory and scientific activities in the Arctic from the 19th
to 21st century see: Machowski, 1993: 203-206; Barr, 1985; Birkenmajer, 2008, Eyres, 2010;
Puczko, 2007.
Treaty between Norway, The United States of America, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, the
Netherlands, Great Britain and Ireland and the British overseas Dominions and Sweden
concerning Spitsbergen, signed in Paris 9th February 1920 [hereinafter the Svalbard Treaty]. It
entered into force on 14 August 1925. ‘Svalbard’ is the name given by Norway to the entire
archipelago, while ‘Spitsbergen’ is a name of its largest island.
Article 5 of the Treaty stipulates conclusion of conventions “laying down the conditions under
which scientific investigations may be conducted” in the archipelago. There is, however, no
convention regulating scientific activities on Svalbard.
The Svalbard Science Forum may be now considered a substitution for convention on scientific
activity stipulated by the Svalbard Treaty
(cf. Machowski 1995, 20).
Other observers are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Great Britain and