The United States is committed to peace and prosperity in the Arctic and is working with international partners to tackle the climate crisis and other global challenges.
In May 20 remarks to the Arctic Council Ministerial, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the council’s history of collaboration “indispensable” to the region’s peaceful and sustainable development.
“The Arctic is more than a strategically or economically significant region,” Blinken told the meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland. “It’s home to our people. Its hallmark has been and must remain peaceful cooperation.”
The United States and the seven other Arctic nations signed the 2021 joint declaration reaffirming the council’s commitment to peace, stability and cooperation in the Arctic. The council also issued its first strategic plan, outlining priorities for the work of the eight nations and six Indigenous permanent participant organizations over the next decade.
Very pleased to wrap-up a successful @ArcticCouncil Ministerial! Congratulations to our Icelandic hosts on their excellent leadership and important work done during their Chairmanship. pic.twitter.com/LQoAaDSMGB
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) May 20, 2021
Blinken said the council should prioritize:
- Ensuring effective governance and the rule of law.
- Ending the COVID-19 pandemic and preparing for future health threats.
- Tackling the climate crisis and other threats to the environment.
Noting that the Arctic is warming at three times the global average, Blinken thanked the council for its work reporting on the impacts of climate change but also urged countries to reduce emissions. The United States has reduced emissions of black carbon, from burning fossil fuels, 34% below 2013 levels, the largest such reduction by an Arctic state.
The United States plans to provide up to $1 million to support the Arctic Council’s climate efforts, Blinken said. He noted significant progress the council has made under Iceland’s leadership in addressing environmental challenges, including marine litter.
The secretary said he welcomed the start of Russia’s chairmanship of the council and looked forward to collaborating on the Arctic Council’s future work.