Plenary Speaker : Policy and Governance

    Assoc. Prof. Dr. Daniela Liggett

    University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand
    Biodata : Daniela Liggett is Associate Professor and an Antarctic social scientist at the University of Canterbury. Her work explores a range of matters related to the human engagement with Antarctica, with a focus on environmental governance, tourism regulation and science-policy interaction. She is a chief officer of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research’s (SCAR) Standing Committee on the Humanities and Social Sciences and a member of the SACAR Capacity Building, Education and Outreach Committee. Daniela is on the editorial board of The Polar Journal, Antarctic Science and Polar Geography and is co-chairing the Polar Prediction Project’s Societal and Economic Research and Applications task team.

    Unprecedented, unexpected and unbidden: The COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences for Antarctic governance and research

    Abstract : The past year is likely enter the history books as one marked by global disruptions that, for the majority of people inhabiting Earth right now, have had unprecedented reach into many different spheres of their lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all sectors of society and forced us to re-examine our values and priorities as well as the way we work and live.

    SARS-CoV-2 spread rapidly across the globe and has now reached every continental landmass, including the Antarctic, where made its appearance at the Chilean Bernardo O’Higgins base in late December 2020. Fortunately, this appearance of the COVID-19 virusin Antarctica has remained the only one so far. Nonetheless, the pandemic has had significant implications for Antarctic governance, National Antarctic Programme operations, Antarctic research, fishing, tourism and other activities. In this presentation, I will outline the results of an interdisciplinary and international research initiative by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research that examined the pandemic’s impact on all forms of human engagement with the Antarctic.

    In particular, my presentation will explore the consequences COVID-19 had for Antarctic governance and research by, inter alia, delving into the results of an Antarctic community survey, which over 400 Antarctic researchers and support staff participated in. The results from that survey emphasise the adverse effects the pandemic has had particularly on early-career researchers, those reliant on fieldwork and researchers from countries with developing Antarctic programmes. The survey also reveals that COVID-19 has had negative repercussions for the mental health of Antarctic researchers and that these negative impacts were not evenly felt across the Antarctic research community, with women and early-career researchers suffering to a greater extent that other community members. 

    I will conclude my presentation with an overview of strategies to address the negative consequences the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the Antarctic research community and governance regime.



    9th Malaysian International Seminar on Antarctica
    Office of Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation)
    Universiti Teknologi MARA
    40450 Shah Alam, Selangor

    Tel No: +603-5544 2138