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Ocean Conservancy Statement: Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting

FAIRBANKS, AK. – The following statement was issued by Janis Searles Jones, CEO of Ocean Conservancy, at the conclusion of the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting today:

“Ocean Conservancy welcomes the positive conclusion to the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting under the U.S. chair, which was marked by an important agreement to enhance scientific cooperation and move forward with reductions of black carbon pollution, which is a major contributor to climate warming in the Arctic.

“The Ministerial Declaration also recognizes the implementation of the oil spill response and search agreements, tackles risks from increased vessel traffic and use of heavy fuel oil, and continues work to coordinate Arctic ocean management.

“The majority of Arctic states and Permanent Participants noted the critical importance of the 2015 Paris Agreement to the future of the Arctic. Ocean Conservancy urges President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to join these Arctic States in honoring and implementing the landmark agreement to tackle global climate change.

“The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on the planet. As temperatures rise, the region is already experiencing dramatic shifts that are impacting local communities, the subsistence way of life, marine economies, wildlife and our ocean. Near-term cuts in greenhouse gas emissions can help stabilize temperatures in the Arctic by the middle of this century. Analysis from a new report found meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement would cut sea level rise by over 20 cm globally.

“As the Chair of the Arctic Council passes from the U.S. to Finland, we recognize the strides made in the past two years to seek shared opportunities, meet challenges and take responsibility for the most pressing Arctic issues. It is clear that moving forward the Arctic needs a comprehensive planning and management system that includes indigenous communities in the decision-making process.

“Climate change cannot be an afterthought in mapping out a prosperous and safe future for the Arctic—and the world. We have a shared responsibility to the Arctic. It may be a region comprised of many nations and cultures but it’s important to us all.”

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Janis Searles Jones is available for interviews upon request.

Note to editors

  • Celebrating its 20thAnniversary this year, the Arctic Council serves as a critical intergovernmental forum in the circumpolar Arctic consisting of eight Arctic nations (Canada, Norway, Russia, the United States, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and the Kingdom of Denmark, via Greenland and the Faroe Islands) and six indigenous peoples’ organizations (Inuit Circumpolar Council, Aleut International Association, Arctic Athabaskan Council, Gwich’in Council International, Saami Council, RAIPON) .
  • The Council operates in two-year cycles, with each Arctic nation acting as the Chair and setting the agenda. Finland, who first convened the Arctic nations to in 1989 to discuss environmental issues, which lead to the formation of the Arctic Council, assumes the chair after the United States from 2017-2019.
  • Whit Sheard, director of Ocean Conservancy’s International Arctic Program participates at the Arctic Council as an official observer through the Circumpolar Conservation Union.

Ocean Conservancy is working with you to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit www.oceanconservancy.org, or follow us on FacebookTwitteror Instagram.