Arctic Council Initiatives to sustain Arctic Cooperation
A group of 45 international experts, government officials and representatives of leading NGO’s met in Washington, DC, on February 23, 2015, and unanimously concluded that the Arctic must and can, with adequate political will, remain an area for peaceful cooperation, scientific research and sustainable development. And to the extent possible, it should be kept apart from the current complex geo-political environment. This vision is already challenged by events in the region and outside. Russia’s increased military presence raises the specter of a more militarized Arctic, and US energy sanctions on Russian oil and gas projects in response to Russian involvement in the war in Ukraine have raised questions about the Arctic’s economic development. But, climate change, environmental dangers, the prospect of increased Arctic Ocean shipping, the development of the rich energy and natural resource base of the Arctic, and the need for improved maritime infrastructure and shipping safety all necessitate continued cooperation.