US Secretary of State, John Kerry (official photo)At the ninth Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting, held in Iqaluit on 24 and 25 of April, the US took over the chairmanship of the Council and appointed U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry as the new Chair. "There's only one Arctic and all of us – the United States, other nations, indigenous peoples, and Arctic communities - must join together to ensure responsible stewardship of this incredible region"" John F. Kerry stated introducing the theme chosen by the US for their chairmanship: "One Arctic: Shared Opportunities, Challenges and Responsibilities ". The program presented in Iqaluit has three focus areas: Improving Economic & Living Conditions for Arctic Communities; Arctic Ocean Safety, Security & Stewardship; Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change.

Energy and water security will be one of the key issues to improve economic and living conditions of Arctic communities under the US chairmanship. In addition, special attention will be given to advance mental wellness research to address the tragically high suicide rates and assessing the region's future telecommunications infrastructure requirements. As regard the Arctic Ocean, the US will focus on its safety and security, "including by exercising Arctic State agreements on search and rescue cooperation and oil pollution preparedness and response", and they will continue the works toward a network of marine protected areas and enhanced international cooperation in the Arctic Ocean and support research to tackle Ocean acidification. Within the priority of "addressing the Impacts of Climate Change", the Arctic Council will focus on targeting short-lived climate pollutants through reductions in black carbon and methane emissions" and to enhance access to adaptation and resilience tools.

The US's program concludes with a recommendation to educate and inform the public worldwide that the Arctic should matter to everyone.

See the US Program brochure here.

(source: Arctic Council)