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Climate, Environment, and Conservation: Secretary Tillerson Chairs 10th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting

On May 11, 2017, Secretary of State Tillerson hosted the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska. As the outgoing chair of the Arctic Council, the United States convened the foreign ministers of the Arctic states (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, and the United States) together with delegations from the Arctic Council’s indigenous Permanent Participant organizations and observer states and organizations.

At the meeting, Secretary Tillerson recognized the Arctic Council as an indispensable forum for cooperation and affirmed that the United States will continue to be an active member as it transfers chairmanship of the Council to Finland. As issues of great concern, he noted advancing the welfare and living conditions of Arctic communities; recognizing each country’s strategic interests in the Arctic; and ensuring vigilance in protecting the fragile environment.

Secretary Tillerson announced the signing of the Fairbanks Declaration in which the Council reaffirmed its commitment to maintain peace, stability, and constructive cooperation in the Arctic, and to sustainable development and the protection of the Arctic environment. The Fairbanks Declaration recognized the key accomplishments during the 2015-2017 U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council to advance Arctic Ocean safety, security, and stewardship and improve economic and living conditions. The full text of the agreement is available here.

Secretary Tillerson also announced the signing of the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation by Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, and the United States. This is the third legally binding agreement negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council. The agreement facilitates access by scientists of the eight Arctic States to Arctic areas that each State has identified, including entry and exit of persons, equipment, and materials; access to research infrastructure and facilities; and access to research areas. The agreement also calls for the parties to promote education and training of scientists working on Arctic matters. You can read the full text of the agreement here.

For additional information, contact Yoon Nam (NamYS@state.gov) in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES).

Distribution channels: Environment