OTTAWA, Ont.–The bilateral aspect of Arctic issues was the topic of a lunchtime address in Ottawa Monday, March 2 by Lucy K. Abbott, the Counselor for Energy and the Environment at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa.
Abbott addressed attendees of the Warming of the North Conference, which focused on challenges and opportunities for Arctic Transportation.
Abbott commented that the timing of the conference was excellent.
“We take over chairmanship of the Arctic Council in April, and we intend to increase engagement, (with industry, aboriginal groups, and other stakeholders),” Abbott said.
The U.S. has been an Arctic nation since purchasing Alaska in 1867.
“Now communities in Alaska are being threatened by rapid changes to the ecosystem. Our upcoming chairmanship is a good time to take stock of changes in the Arctic. We also want to highlight for the world the shared challenges and opportunities the Arctic presents. Our overall Arctic policy has been guided by our May 2013 Strategy for the Arctic Region. Although we are focusing on the Arctic because of our chairmanship, our focus is nothing new,” Abbott said.
President Obama has issued an executive order focusing on enhancing coordination between an Arctic Executive Steering Committee and over a dozen federal agencies, state and local authorities.
“The Arctic Council Initiative focuses on safety, security and stewardship. We propose building on existing programs. We emphasize safe secure,and environmentally safe shipping. Priorities include marine environmental protection, ocean acidification, and improving economic conditions in the North, with renewable energy options, improved sanitation, and community resilience. Transportation and supply chain developments are also a key imperative as is addressing climate change,” Abbott said.
“Our work at the Embassy focuses on the smooth transition of the Arctic Council. We will identify areas in which our two countries can increase coordination. We look forward to continuing to work with Canada on the sustained stewardship of the Arctic,” she said.
Julia Kuzeljevich is Editor of Canadian Shipper. She has been writing about transportation and logistics issues since 1999. All posts by Julia Kuzeljevich