Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 11

11 Arctic Yearbook 2015 Let’s start with the United States. The most recent phase of attention on Arctic governance began in 2009, in the waning days of the Bush Administration, with the update to the Arctic Region Policy (NSPD-66/HSPD-25). This policy document was reaffirmed in the early days of the Obama Administration as the first of several steps to build on that foundation. It could be argued that one of President Obama’s enduring legacies will be his attention to the growing importance of the Arctic region, and the need to govern it well, both domestically and internationally. His recent trip to Alaska (and north of the Arctic Circle) represented both a significant symbolic and practical achievement. Appreciation was expressed for the Administration’s focus on and investments in climate change, renewable energy, enhancements to safety and security, and assistance to remote communities. Good governance starts with reliable information, including results from scientific research. In a vast region with relatively limited access, it is particularly important to obtain and integrate as much relevant information as possible. To that end, in 2010, President Obama elevated the stature of Arctic research by directing the National Science and Technology Council to revitalize the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC), a coordinating entity created by Congress by the Arctic Research Policy Act of 1984 (the US Arctic Research Commission (www.arctic.gov) is another product of that legislation). In February 2013, the White House released IARPC’s first five-year integrated Arctic research program plan. The plan’s seven research themes advance fundamental knowledge of the region, and help inform decision-making. In May 2013, President Obama released “The National Strategy for the Arctic Region,” which focuses on three lines of effort, which are to: (1) advance US security interests; (2) pursue responsible Arctic region stewardship; and (3) strengthen international cooperation. In January 2014, the White House released the “Implementation Plan for The National Strategy for the Arctic Region,” establishing the process and approach for executing the Strategy. These initiatives build upon existing efforts by federal agencies, state government, local, and tribal authorities, the private sector, and international partners. In January 2015, the President signed Executive Order (#13689) establishing an Arctic Executive Steering Committee (AESC) to focus coordination efforts, chaired by White House senior leadership. The AESC helped plan and conduct the August 31, 2015 “Global Leadership in the Arctic Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience (GLACIER)” conference, hosted by the US Department of State, and attended by ministers and other high-level officials from many Arctic and non-Arctic states. The “Chair’s Summary” can be found here (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/09/246 S