US Arctic Council Chairmanship: Achievements & Remaining Priorities

The United States holds the two-year rotating Chairmanship of the Arctic Council until summer 2017, bridging the turnover between presidential administrations. Looking backward, our panelists presented high points of the Arctic Council under US leadership, highlighting the cooperation between littoral states on global problems like climate change. However, the increasing pace of climate change and potential tensions over Russia’s military intentions pose challenges for the last several months of the US’s Chairmanship. At stake in this discussion is not only a gradual rise in sea level worldwide, but also the disappearance of means of livelihood for certain indigenous communities north of the Arctic Circle. Looking forward, panelists cited avoiding dangerous deep-water exploration and drilling for natural gas and oil, fostering regional response and coordination, and continuing global engagement in dealing with emerging crises in the Arctic as viable goals for the Arctic Council.

Image: Expert panelists, Ambassador Mark Brzezinski, Melanie Nakagawa, and Cathleen Kelly discuss climate and energy diplomacy issues and key goals of the US Chairmanship.