Arctic Council Reaches Fairbanks Declaration, Agreement on Enhanced Scientific Cooperation
The 10th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting concluded with Ministers from the eight Arctic States adopting the ‘Fairbanks Declaration 2017′ and signing the ‘Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation.’ At the conclusion of the meeting, the US transferred the Arctic Council Chairmanship to Finland, whose priorities for 2017-2019 include environmental protection, connectivity, meteorological cooperation and education. The Council also added seven new observers: the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea; Oceana; the National Geographic Society; the Oslo-Paris Commission; Switzerland; the West Nordic Council; and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The ‘Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation’ will help build human capacity in the region. It will facilitate the entry and exit of people, equipment and material; access to research infrastructure and facilities; the use of traditional and local knowledge; and education, career development, and training opportunities for students and early-career scientists. In addition, the Council discussed a completed assessment of the telecommunications infrastructure in the Arctic and a new Arctic Shipping Traffic Database to help manage Arctic shipping.
The Fairbanks Declaration is divided into four sub-sections addressing Arctic Ocean safety, security and stewardship; improving economic and living conditions; addressing the impacts of climate change; and strengthening the Arctic Council.