Geostrategic Futures in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica

By Polar Research and Policy Initiative

Dr Claire Nettle

Rapid political, social and environmental change presents challenges for the management of Arctic and Antarctic regions. Climate change is already affecting national security and has implications for defence planning in Australia and the Antarctic region.

The Climate and Sustainability Policy Research Group (CASPR) at Flinders University has been focusing on cross-cutting themes in relation to southern circumpolar policymaking. CASPR’s Geostrategic Futures project has been promoting a whole-of-government coordination approach to national and military mobilisation, and is particularly concerned with Defence’s role in building whole-of-nation resilience.

As part of this project, CASPR held a two-day symposium and professional development short course at the Rydges Capital Hill Canberra in Canberra, ACT, on 5-6 December 2019. Polar Research and Policy Initiative was pleased to sponsor and participate in this event, along with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Centre for Marine Socialecology and The Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security at the University of Wollongong. The programme is available here

The symposium brought together local and international defence experts, scientists, academics, policymakers and decisionmakers to consider the strategic, political, scientific, economic and environmental challenges for managing Antarctic territories. The two days of dialogue harnessed learning from international research and policy, including comparative lessons from the Arctic, to address strategic challenges in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean and inform strategic policy.

The symposium showcased the academic and applied research of 23 experts from six countries and incorporated formal presentations, interactive workshops and informal networking opportunities. It was attended by Australian and US Defence personnel; government advisers; embassy officials; think tank representatives; and academic experts from universities around Australia and from Canada, the US, the UK, Finland and Sweden.

A number of papers from the symposium will soon be available in a peer-reviewed open-access book. CASPR has also produced a series of videos highlighting the insights of polar policy experts, including PRPI’s Dr Dwayne Menezes. 

Dr Dwayne Menezes, Polar Research and Policy Initiative

Major General (ret.) Randy ‘Church’ Kee, University of Alaska

Alice Rogoff, Arctic Today

Professor Christian Leuprecht, Royal Military College, Canada, and Charles Sturt University

Professor Craig Johnson, University of Tasmania

Dr Joanna Vince,  University of Tasmania

Professor Heather Nicol, Trent University

Professor Timo Koivurova, University of Lapland

Dr Elizabeth Buchanan, Australian National University

Professor Roger Bradbury, Australian National University

Professor Sascha Dov Bachmann, Canberra Law School

The Geostrategic Futures project was supported by the Australian Government Department of Defence through their Strategic Policy Grants Program.

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