Secretary of State John Kerry together with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Canada's Minister for the Arctic Council Leona Aglukkaq at the Arctic Council meeting in Kiruna, May 2013.(Photo: Trude Pettersen)
The U.S. State Department plans to create an Arctic representative position to highlight the growing importance of the region.
“The Arctic region is the last global frontier and a region with enormous and growing geostrategic, economic, climate, environment, and national security implications for the United States and the world” Secretary of State John Kerry says in a press release.
With the U.S. set to take over the rotating chairmanship of the eight-nation Arctic Council in 2015, Kerry says it is vital to elevate Arctic issues and interests within the State Department. He called the Arctic’s transformation “a very rare convergence of almost every national priority in the most rapidly changing region on the face of the earth.”
In letters sent to Alaska’s two U.S. senators Kerry said he planned to name a “high-level individual of substantial stature and expertise” to serve as Special Representative for the Arctic Region. He said he hoped to get input from both of them in creating the post and finding the right person.
Thetwo senators, Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski, have been pressing for an ambassador or envoy to the Arctic. Murkowski has been critical of where the U.S. stands compared with other nations staking their claims to the region. She noted that Russia and Canada have been aggressive in their plans and investment and that non-Arctic nations also are looking at opportunities that come with diminished polar sea ice.
“The United States has never been last in a race to the future, but absent any visionary leadership and meaningful resourcing, we will continue to take a back seat and fail to capitalize on all the Arctic has to offer,” Murkowski wrote in a letter to the president, USA Today reports.
In Russia, Anton Vasiliev has been Ambassador at Large for Arctic cooperation since 2008. He is Senior Arctic Official of Russia in the Arctic Council and former Senior Official of Russia in the Barents Euro-Arctic Council.
Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Northern Fleet’s “Admiral Kuznetsov”, has finished repairs and is ready to leave the port of Murmansk. According to a Russian news agency, the vessel will sail to Syria.
A century and a half ago, Norway was home to roughly three thousand brown bears, the majority of bears in all of Scandinavia. By 1930, the bears were virtually extinct. Decades of aggressive management tactics and bounties had wiped out one of the area’s most iconic species.
Microplastics, the tiny plastic particles that are accumulating in marine waters and big lakes around the world, are now showing up in the Arctic waters south and southwest of Svalbard, Norway, a new study says.
REYKJAVIK: The climatic changes taking place in the Arctic are a call to action for the world. We must answer with more international cooperation and more research, says Tore Hattrem, State Secretary of Norway’s Foreign Ministry.
“Partnership should and shall shape the development of the Arctic, therefore cooperation is the starting point for our Arctic policy,” Vladimir Barbin, Senior Arctic Official and representative to the Arctic Council, said at the Arctic Circle 2015 assembly.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende has asked Russia for an explanation to the high number of asylum seekers coming to Norway via Russia. Syrian refugees that have lived in Russia for a long time, will be stopped on the border and sent back.