Science diplomacy: State Secretary Martina Hirayama at the Paris Peace Forum’s One Planet Polar Summit
Bern, 10.11.2023 - Martina Hirayama, State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, took part in the One Planet Polar Summit, which was hosted as part of the 2023 Paris Peace Forum (8–10 November), initiated by French President Emmanuel Macron, took place this year under the motto ‘Seeking Common Ground in a World of Rivalry’. It brought together representatives from science, politics, business and civil society from over 40 glacial and polar nations. State Secretary Hirayama also met with French Minister of Higher Education and Research Sylvie Retailleau to discuss strengthening scientific cooperation in cryosphere and glacier research between Switzerland and France.
The aim of the summit was to share the latest findings from cryosphere and glacier research with experts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) as well as with representatives from governments, non-governmental organisations, indigenous peoples and the private sector.
At the summit, State Secretary Hirayama noted that Switzerland was very aware of the challenges of climate change in the polar and glacial regions and emphasised the need for science and politics to work in partnership in order to address the challenges together.
On the fringes of the summit, Ms Hirayama and Ms Retailleau took part in the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Swiss Polar Institute SPI, a research institution of national importance supported by the Confederation (Art. 15 of the Federal Act on the Promotion of Research and Innovation), and the French Paul-Émile Victor Polar Institute. The memorandum marks an important step towards strengthening Swiss-French cooperation in the field of cryosphere and glacier research.
Switzerland's strong commitment to the polar regions is also based on the fact that the Swiss landscape, like the polar regions, was shaped by the ice ages and consists of mountain ranges with increasingly melting glaciers. Swiss researchers have been contributing to the exploration and understanding of the Alpine and polar regions for around 100 years. In doing so, they have been studying the relevant ecosystems in Switzerland and abroad in order to measure the effects of man-made climate change, among other things.
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State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation