WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tomorrow, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a founding member of the Senate Arctic Caucus, will travel to Iqaluit, Canada with Secretary of State John Kerry to attend the 2015 Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting. During the meeting, the United States will formally assume the two-year Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, presenting the U.S. with the opportunity to demonstrate greater leadership within the region.
“This is an important moment for the future of the Arctic,” Senator King said. “By taking the helm of the Arctic Council, the United States has an historic opportunity to strengthen an era of cooperation that could very well define the future of the region for decades to come. With Maine as a foremost hub, opening lines of trade can foster prosperity and contribute to opportunities for cultural and educational exchanges that can enrich our state. I look forward to traveling with Secretary Kerry tomorrow to inaugurate what I hope will be a collaborative and productive two years of American leadership in the Arctic.”
The Ministerial meeting will begin at 2:00 p.m. ET and livestreamed on the Arctic Council website. Click HERE to watch.
The meeting, which takes place every two years, will bring together ministers of the Arctic states and high-level representatives of the Indigenous Permanent Participant organizations to set the Council’s objectives for the coming two years. During the meeting, Secretary Kerry will present the 2015-2017 U.S. Arctic Council chairmanship program, “One Arctic: Shared Opportunities, Challenges, and Responsibilities,” which will highlight U.S. chairmanship priorities, including addressing the impacts of climate change; Arctic Ocean safety, security and stewardship; and improving economic and living conditions for people in the Arctic.
Since visiting the Arctic last year, Senator King has called for the U.S. to recalibrate its national security and economic strategies to better address the changing Arctic environment. To spotlight the region and open up a wider conversation about the nation’s future in the Arctic, he and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the Chair of Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, launched the Senate Arctic Caucus last month.
The Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental forum that provides a means to promote cooperation, coordination, and interaction among the Arctic States, with the involvement of the Arctic Indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues. It consists of the eight Arctic States: Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States. Six international organizations representing Arctic Indigenous Peoples have permanent participant status and twelve non-Arctic countries have been admitted as observers.