Arctic Council meets in Alaska to discuss regional cooperation
The Arctic Council's Senior Arctic Officials (SAOs) and representatives of the indigenous Permanent Participant organizations (PPs) gathered in Juneau, Alaska, on March 8 to discuss environmental issues that affect Arctic nations. This is according to the news agency TASS.
The Arctic Council (AC) members are Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Norway, Russia, the United States, Finland and Sweden.
According to Tom Fries, who is responsible for communications at the Arctic Council Secretariat, the two-day long meeting will discuss scientific co-operation, telecommunications, health, Arctic economies, renewable energy sources, the creation of protected areas, navigation, protecting the environment from oil and chemical pollution, marine biodiversity and permafrost.
US Ambassador David Balton, the current chair of the Senior Arctic Officials, will discuss the results of the SAO meeting at a media briefing due to be held on March 10.
Mr. Fries said that the meeting in Juneau would set the stage for the upcoming meeting of the AC states' foreign ministers in Fairbanks, Alaska, on May 11. At the May meeting, the United States will hand over the council chairmanship to Finland, which will present its action plan priorities for 2017-2019.
Previous AC ministerial meetings mandated the preparation of two crucial agreements: the Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic (2011) and the Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic (2013).