Antarctic programme of the Republic of Belarus

Photo: Torbic

About the Republic of Belarus’s National Antarctic Program

COMNAP Representative (MNAP): Aliaksei Haidashou, Head BAE
(DMNAP): Igor Pilshchikov, Deputy Head RCPR

The Republic of Belarus joined the Antarctic Treaty in 2006 and, in that same year, approved the national program for Polar research which is called “Monitoring of Earth’s Polar areas and ensuring activity of the Arctic and Antarctic expeditions for 2007­­-­2010 and for the period until 2015”. Soon after, in 2008, it ratified the Environmental Protocol.

In 2015, the national Antarctic program of the Republic of Belarus was accepted as the 30th Member of COMNAP. From December 2015 through January 2016, the first portion of the national research station, a three-section module for control, communication and navigation, was assembled in Antarctica at a geographic position of 67°39.5’S, 46°09.2’E.

Geographical complex Mountain Vechernya. First building of the Belarus Antarctic station.

Conduct of scientific expeditions and formation of Belarusian Antarctic infrastructure

Within the thirty-seven year period from 1955 to 1992, 102 Belarusian specialists took part in Antarctic research as part of the Soviet Antarctic expeditions. Later, for the ten year period from 2006 to 2016 with logistics assistance of the Russian Federation, eight Belarusian Antarctic Expeditions (BAE) were organized. More than 30 Belarusian specialists conducted scientific research in the Antarctic within the BAE, in particular, at the field base of the Russian Antarctic expedition (RAE) “Evening Mountain” (Eastern Antarctic, Enderby Land, Tala Hills) and, between 2007 and 2015, performed significant technical work in support of BAE activity. During the period from 2016 to 2020 the further development of Belarusian Antarctic infrastructure is planned, which will enable wintering over capabilities for up to 12 people.

The logistic scheme of BAE activity in Antarctic is based on the close interaction with the Russian Federation. In 2013, an “Agreement of Cooperation in Antarctic” was signed between the two Governments. As a rule, the expedition personnel and BAE freight are delivered to Antarctic on board the RAE ships “Academician Fedorov” and “Academician Treshnikov”. For delivery of the Belarusian personnel and freights from the ship into Antarctica, K-32 helicopters are used. In addition, in 2016 for evacuation of the Belarusian personnel from the field camp near the Evening Mountain, Tala Hills, Enderby Land in Eastern Antarctic to the Russian station Novolazarevskaya, in cooperation with the International Antarctic Logistic Center in Cape Town (ALCI), air delivery by the BT 67 was used.

Mountain Vechernya runway

About the organizational structure of the national program for research of Earth’s polar areas

The State Program is approved by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus, which is subordinate to the President of the Republic of Belarus. The customer-coordinator of the State program is the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, the customer of the State program is the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection of the Republic of Belarus, which are subordinate to the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus and are responsible state authorities for performance of international responsibilities within the Antarctic Treaty System. The State Program is planned for every five years and is financed at the expense of funds of the state budget of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.

In 2007, the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus created the working body of management of the State program – State Institution called the Republican Center for Polar Researches (RCPR). Since 2011 RCPR is as part of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus as an independent legal entity. The subject of RCPR activity is normative and legal support, organization and carrying out of the expedition and logistic service for national polar expeditions, support of scientific research in polar areas, creation and maintenance of polar infrastructure, organization of environment-oriented actions in areas of location of the expeditions, selection of the professional staff for wintering and seasonal polar expeditions, ensuring of control for compliance by Belarusian persons with the requirements of the Antarctic Treaty System, interaction with organizations of other countries, participation in the work of international bodies and organizations which carry out their activity within the framework of the Antarctic Treaty System.

RCPR develops joint research work with the scientists of New Zealand, France, Russian Federation, Ukraine and other countries. Since 2006 RCPR has the well-established schemes of logistic interaction in Antarctica with AARI (Russian Federation), and, since 2016, with NCAOR (India).

For coordination of the activity of Belarusian state bodies and organizations in Antarctica, the Intra-departmental Commission of the Republic of Belarus for Antarctic Issues was created in 2013, whose members are representatives of 8 ministries and organizations which take part in realization of the National program for polar researches such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Informatics and Communications, Belarusian State University and the airline TransAvia.

Our scientific program

Antarctic scientific research is conducted by way of 5-year projects which are agreed by the Academic Board of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. In realization of scientific programs and projects, the scientists of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus and Belarusian State University, as well as the Russian Academy of Sciences, AARI, and Lille University are the principle participants.

The opportunity to participate in polar research is open for all Belarusian and foreign scientists who can demonstrate that their science addresses the scientific programme and themes. Scientific activity within the period 2007-2015 was conducted within six themes: complex ground-based and satellite monitoring of tropospheric aerosol, clouds and underlying surface, research of the state of ozonosphere and ultraviolet radiation, hydrometeorological and climatic research, development of radio engineering facilities for monitoring of the snow-ice cover, geophysical research, biodiversity of nearshore ecosystems and anthropogenic influence on the environment, influence of extreme production and natural factors on humans.

Since 2016 the realization of the regular five-year stage of the National program for polar researches “Monitoring of Earth’s polar areas, creation of Belarusian Antarctic station and ensuring the activity of polar expeditions for 2016-2020 and for the period till 2025” began. The priorities in 2016-2025 will be works for creation of the infrastructure of Belarusian scientific station in Antarctica for ensuring the year-round activity of BAE personnel, normative and legal support, integration of national research into international programs and networks, atmosphere monitoring (AERONET, CIS-LiNet, EARLINET, GALION, GAW, IGACO-O3/UV, GIANT and others), participation in the work of key public organizations of the system of the Antarctic Treaty, and development of international scientific and logistic cooperation as the most important factor of strengthening of the Antarctic Treaty System.

To realize the goals of the scientific programmes a range of activity will be supported, these include: complex ground-based and satellite monitoring of the atmosphere and underlying surface, development of the optical model of atmospheric aerosol of the underlying surface of Enderby Land and adjacent territories, research on the influence of small gas components of atmosphere on seasonal variations of UF irradiation in the ground layer and water ecosystems of Enderby Land and adjacent territories, geophysical and geological research, complex research of biological resources and ecological monitoring of biotical components of Enderby Land of offshore zones, research of environmental change and climate of Enderby Land and adjacent territories under the influence of natural and anthropogenic factors, and scientific support of performance of obligations of the Republic of Belarus within the Environmental Protocol.

The main principles of activity of the Republic of Belarus in Antarctic are a system approach to the creation of the national Antarctic infrastructure and the organization of research, orientation of works for integration to international research programs, development of international cooperation in order to strengthen the Antarctic Treaty System, as well as development, consideration and recommendation to their Government of actions assisting in realization of principles and objects of the Antarctic Treaty.

Contact details

The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus
66 Av. Nezavisimosti
Minsk 220072
Republic of Belarus
Phone: +375 1728 42816

Republican Centre of Polar Research
16-203 Komsomolskaya str.
Minsk 220030
Republic of Belarus
Phone: +375 17 306 37 40
Fax: +375 17 306 29 34