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FOREIGN POLICY NEWS

08.09.2012

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the United States of America on Cooperation in Antarctica

The Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the United States of America (hereinafter “the Parties”),

Being original parties to and architects of the Antarctic Treaty of December 1, 1959 (hereinafter “the Treaty”),
Noting the leading role of the Russian Federation and the United States of America in developing and strengthening the Antarctic Treaty system,
Highlighting the substantial contribution of the explorers and scientists of the two countries to the discovery, research and exploration of Antarctica and the importance of these achievements,
Bearing in mind that the Russian Federation and the United States of America conduct some of the most extensive and diverse activities in the Treaty area,
Taking into account the experience of their long-term and multi-dimensional bilateral cooperation in the sphere of scientific exploration in Antarctica,
Being guided by the provisions of the Treaty,
Noting the importance of bilateral collaboration with respect to protection of the Antarctic marine and terrestrial environments,
Endeavoring to enhance their bilateral relations in cooperation in Antarctica as part of their collaboration globally,
Have reached the following understandings:
1. The Parties intend to consult regularly through their respective Foreign Ministries on issues of common interest concerning implementation of the Treaty and other elements of the Antarctic Treaty system, including in preparation for Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings and Meetings of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, and, where possible, coordinate their positions on these issues.
2. The Parties intend to cooperate in the organization and conduct of joint inspections in the Treaty area under Article VII of the Treaty and Article 14 of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.
3. The Parties intend to encourage organization and implementation of joint projects and programs for research and exploration of Antarctica, participation of scientists and technical experts involved in the national Antarctic program of one state in the national Antarctic program of the other, as well as exchange of scientific and technical personnel.
4. (a) The Parties intend to promote collaboration in scientific research and logistical and support activities between their respective national Antarctic program managers, specifically the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute of the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring and the Office of Polar Programs of the National Science Foundation of the United States (“Managers”).
(b) To coordinate cooperation in scientific research and logistical and support activities as set forth in this Memorandum and to develop associated implementation plans, the Parties intend to establish a Working Group, which will include representatives from all interested governmental agencies and governmental institutions. Cooperation regarding logistical and support activities may be implemented through additional arrangements, as appropriate.
5. The Parties intend to facilitate scientific cooperation in the Treaty area and the exchange of associated data in important areas of scientific research, including but not limited to the following:
- climate change in Antarctica and its role in understanding global processes;
- processes leading to changes in the mass of the Antarctic ice sheet;
- monitoring the Antarctic environment, including exchange of associated data acquired by Russian and U.S. Antarctic programs and environmental monitoring satellites;
- space weather, including the impact of solar wind on the processes in the Antarctic atmosphere, and related space science research;
- modeling of the interactions among components of Antarctic physical and biological systems;
- seismological investigations of the sub-glacial lithosphere and upper mantle;
- research on the impact of human presence and changing environments on microorganisms in Antarctica;
- research on microorganisms in the Antarctic permafrost;
- oceanography of maritime areas contiguous to the Antarctic continent; and
- comprehensive research of sub-glacial environments, aquatic and sedimentary, of Antarctica as unique isolated ecosystems.
6. The Parties, through the Managers, intend to enhance collaboration in the field of national expedition logistic support in the Treaty area, in particular by providing ship and aviation support in delivering their personnel and cargo to different areas of Antarctica and exchanging best practices in this field.
7. The Parties intend to enhance collaboration in organizing, coordinating and conducting search and rescue operations in the Treaty area.
8. The Parties, through the Managers, intend to enhance collaboration in the field of training of scientific and technical personnel for participation in expedition and exploration activities in Antarctica.
9. The Parties intend to encourage the exchange of experience in developing educational and cultural projects and programs that inform the public of the results of Antarctic research.
10. Unless otherwise mutually decided, each Party intends to bear the costs of its participation in the activities conducted under this Memorandum. Cooperative activities are to be conducted in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations of each country and subject to the availability of funds.
11. This non-binding Memorandum does not constitute an international agreement or give rise to any rights and obligations for the Parties under international law.
12. Cooperation under this Memorandum commences upon signature by the Parties. Cooperation under this Memorandum may be discontinued at any time by either Party, though a Party should endeavor to provide 12 months notice if possible.




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