Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy


According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2017 Arctic Report Card, while 2017 did not shatter as many records as 2016, the Arctic shows no sign of returning to the reliably frozen region it was decades ago. Arctic temperatures continue to increase at double the global rate. 2017 marked the end of the United States’ chairmanship of the Arctic Council and the beginning of another term for Finland. At the May 11, 2017 Fairbanks Ministerial hosted by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson–the first ministerial in which all eight member states were represented by their Foreign Ministers–the Arctic Council member states adopted the Fairbanks Declaration and the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation, the council’s third legally binding agreement. The purpose of the Agreement is “to enhance cooperation in Scientific Activities in order to increase effectiveness and efficiency in the development of scientific knowledge about the Arctic.” During its two-year chairmanship Finland intends to emphasize the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) while working to strengthen Arctic cooperation and its continuity at the highest political level.

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