US Media Casting Shade on Russian Cooperation in Arctic Council

The US media is downplaying Russia’s vast cooperation within the Arctic Council, US Representative for the Arctic Robert Papp said in a speech at the Scandinavia House in New York City.

NEW YORK (Sputnik) — The United States chairs the Arctic Council until the May 2017 ministerial meeting scheduled to be held in Fairbanks, Alaska.

“I’ve been a little concerned about sort of the tone and tenor of some of the articles I’ve seen across our country. Most of the articles I think are formed by looking through the lens of Ukraine and Crimea,” Papp stated on Friday.

Despite media reports, Papp added that Russia’s contributions to the Arctic Council are vast and political roadblocks do not exist.

Security co-operation: Time to build the firehouse

There are plenty of hurdles to developing a forum to address Arctic security issues, but that does not eliminate the need to do so.

Over the past few weeks, there has been an uptick in the longstanding debate about whether the time is ripe for security issues to be added to the growing array of Arctic regional organisations, either connected to or co-operating with the Arctic Council. One recent article was highly critical of the idea of an Arctic security forum, particularly one which would address military security concerns.

Making Sure Indigenous Voices are Heard

Older than the Arctic Council, the Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat (IPS) has been orchestrating the input of Indigenous peoples on Arctic issues for more than 20 years, says Elle Merete Omma, the IPS executive secretary.

THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ Secretariat (IPS) was established in 1994 to assist with the contributions of the Indigenous organizations that were observers to the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy – the precursor to the Arctic Council. “I tend to say that Indigenous peoples were ahead of their time,” says Elle Merete Omma, the executive secretary for the IPS.

Council of the European Union conclusions on the Arctic

The Council discussed the future integrated EU policy for the Arctic with a view to set out a coherent response to the environmental, economic and social challenges of the region, on the basis of the joint communication by the High Representative and the Commission issued in April 2016. An important objective of the EU is to contribute to enhancing socio-economic resilience in the Arctic region, which is home to 4 million inhabitants, while also enhancing environmental resilience.


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Tour reveals shared Arctic challenges: U.S. ambassador

by Jane George

With climate change on the agenda at the June 29 leaders’ summit in Ottawa between Canada, the United States and Mexico, U.S. President Obama can now call on his ambassador to Canada for an up to date view of the Arctic’s challenges.

“When you sit down and think about life and the challenges and opportunities we all face in the Arctic, the challenges and opportunities are there in full bloom, but everything is extreme,” said Heyman, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, one of 20 foreign diplomats who recently spent nine days visiting 15 communities from Labrador to Yukon.

Guy Adams weighs in on plans for Tribal Council

by Shady Grove Oliver

Last month, Gov. Bill Walker named 11 tribal leaders from around the state to his newly-formed Tribal Advisory Council, which he plans to consult with about issues from transportation to subsistence to language and culture. For the past several weeks, the Sounder has been featuring interviews with the representatives from the Arctic about their priorities for the council.

This week, we’ll hear from Guy Adams, who was appointed to the housing seat on the council. Adams currently serves as the executive director of the Northwest Inupiat Housing Authority, where he has worked for more than 18 years. Through the authority, he has had the chance to grapple with some of the most pressing housing issues in the rural villages throughout the NANA region.

Now trending in DC: Arctic issues

by Erica Martinson

WASHINGTON — With Alaska’s Arctic attracting increasing attention from policymakers and political wonks in Washington, D.C., Alaska lawmakers hope to turn that attention into tangible funds.

While interest in the region has been slowly growing for some time, several factors have converged to vault it to new prominence in Beltway circles. The United States is working its way through the second of two years as head of the Arctic Council, President Barack Obama is taking a whack at crafting a climate change legacy and private industries are eyeing the prospect of northern shipping routes opened by melting polar ice.

“One Arctic” or Many?

By Wilfrid Greaves

In April, the United States marked the midpoint of its two-year term as chair of the Arctic Council. Unlike the country’s first chairmanship shortly after the Council’s formation in the mid-1990s, this time the United States has used its leadership position to set an ambitious agenda for political cooperation in the circumpolar region. The theme of the current chairmanship is “One Arctic: Shared Opportunities, Challenges, and Responsibilities.” President Obama appointed a four-star Coast Guard admiral as the first-ever U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic to make progress on three thematic areas: improving economic and living conditions in Arctic communities; Arctic Ocean safety, security, and stewardship; and addressing the impacts of climate change.