University of Canterbury renews hosting rights for Antarctic Headquarters
A renewed agreement between the University of Canterbury (UC) and the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) will see the international Antarctic headquarters housed at UC until 2027.
COMNAP Executive Secretary Michelle Rogan-Finnemore, University of Canterbury (UC) Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey and UC Gateway Antarctica Director Professor Adrian McDonald with the renewed MOU between UC and COMNAP.
Previously hosted in the United States and Australia, New Zealand won hosting rights for the COMNAP Secretariat (their international, inter-governmental Antarctic headquarters) following a competitive international bidding process in 2008. UC’s Gateway Antarctica department was recommended to host the Secretariat soon after. This year marks the third renewal of the memorandum of understanding (MOU), taking the partnership through to 2027.
For the Director of Gateway Antarctica, Professor Adrian McDonald, it was an easy decision to continue housing the Secretariat at UC.
“It’s a fantastic way to assist the Antarctic community while providing a powerful demonstration of our enthusiastic support and involvement with the Christchurch Antarctic community – something we believe bolsters Christchurch’s role as an Antarctic gateway city,” Professor McDonald says.
The signing of the renewed agreement took a unique turn following the re-emergence of the Covid-19 virus in New Zealand in August, as it prevented UC Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey and COMNAP Executive Committee Chair (and Director of the US National Science Foundation’s Polar Programs) Dr Kelly Falkner from celebrating the milestone in person. Instead, the two met virtually to renew the agreement.