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Posts Tagged ‘State Department’

Here is how the Trump administration is about to support terrorists. The keyword here is “trophy.” Hunting endangered species is not a sport. Those who engage in it are not sportsmen. This is an industry that funds terrorist organizations including Al Qaida, ISIS, Al Shabab, Boko Haram, and more. This makes the U.S. a state sponsor of terrorism.


The Trump administration is reversing an Obama administration ban on bringing to the United States the heads of elephants killed in two African countries.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said it has determined that hunting African elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia “will enhance the survival of the species in the wild,” which is the standard by which officials judge whether to allow imports of parts – known as trophies – of the animals.

“Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,” an FWS spokesman said in a statement late Wednesday, after hunting group Safari Club International announced the policy.

Imports will be allowed for elephants killed between Jan. 21, 2016 and the end of 2018.

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ICYMI, Hillary Clinton has long been an advocate for wildlife and not for warm, fuzzy reasons. This is a monstrous industry. Both animals and humans suffer as a result. As she explained as secretary of state, wildlife conservation and protection is a national and international security issue.

 

November 8, 2012 by still4hill

Remarks at the Partnership Meeting on Wildlife Trafficking
Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Benjamin Franklin Room

Washington, DC

November 8, 2012


Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you all very much. Well, it’s a great delight to see all of you here. And as I look out on this audience, I see many familiar faces from the diplomatic community. And I especially thank each and every one of you for being here on this important issue. Congressman Moran, thank you for joining us today. I’d also like to welcome Deputy Administrator Steinberg from USAID, Naoko Ishii of the Global Environmental Facility. Thanks to Under Secretary Bob Hormats for his commitment to this issue, along with Under Secretary Maria Otero and Under Secretary Tara Sonenshine and Assistant Secretary Kerri-Ann Jones, and many others here in the State Department, and particularly all of you from the conservation and wildlife community and the private sector who have been involved in this issue for many years and have done extraordinary work. Unfortunately, we now find ourselves with all of that positive effort that started 30, 40 years ago being affected by changes that we have to address at every level of the international community.

Now, some of you might be wondering why a Secretary of State is keynoting an event about wildlife trafficking and conservation, or why we are hosting this event at the State Department in the first place. Well, I think it’s because, as Bob Hormats has just pointed out, and as the public service announcements reinforce, over the past few years wildlife trafficking has become more organized, more lucrative, more widespread, and more dangerous than ever before.

As the middle class grows, which we all welcome and support, in many nations items like ivory or rhinoceros horn become symbols of wealth and social status. And so the demand for these goods rises. By some estimates, the black market in wildlife is rivaled in size only by trade in illegal arms and drugs. Today, ivory sells for nearly $1,000 per pound. Rhino horns are literally worth their weight in gold, $30,000 per pound.

What’s more, we are increasingly seeing wildlife trafficking has serious implications for the security and prosperity of people around the world. Local populations that depend on wildlife, either for tourism or sustenance, are finding it harder and harder to maintain their livelihoods. Diseases are spreading to new corners of the globe through wildlife that is not properly inspected at border crossings. Park rangers are being killed. And we have good reason to believe that rebel militias are players in a worldwide ivory market worth millions and millions of dollars a year.

So yes, I think many of us are here because protecting wildlife is a matter of protecting our planet’s natural beauty. We see it’s a stewardship responsibility for us and this generation and future generations to come. But it is also a national security issue, a public health issue, and an economic security issue that is critical to each and every country represented here.

We all, unfortunately, contribute to the continued demand for illegal animal goods. Wildlife might be targeted and killed across Asia and Africa, but their furs, tusks, bones, and horns are sold all over the world. Smuggled goods from poached animals find their way to Europe, Australia, China, and the United States. I regret to say the United States is the second-largest destination market for illegally trafficked wildlife in the world. And that is something we are going to address.

Now, several conservation groups are here with us today, and we greatly appreciate their invaluable work. But the truth is they cannot solve this problem alone. None of us can. This is a global challenge that spans continents and crosses oceans, and we need to address it with partnerships that are as robust and far-reaching as the criminal networks we seek to dismantle.

Therefore, we need governments, civil society, businesses, scientists, and activists to come together to educate people about the harms of wildlife trafficking. We need law enforcement personnel to prevent poachers from preying on wildlife. We need trade experts to track the movement of goods and help enforce existing trade laws. We need finance experts to study and help undermine the black markets that deal in wildlife. And most importantly, perhaps, we need to reach individuals, to convince them to make the right choices about the goods they purchase.

Now, there’s no quick fix, but by working closely, internationally, with all of these partners, we can take important steps to protect wildlife in their environments and begin to dry up the demand for trafficked goods. So with these goals in mind, the State Department is pursuing a four-part strategy.

First, on the diplomatic front, we are working with leaders from around the world to develop a global consensus on wildlife protection. I spoke with President Putin, Ambassador, when we were together at the APEC summit in Vladivostok. He has been a staunch, vocal, public supporter of Russian wildlife. And I think it’s fair to say his personal efforts over the last years have made the lives of tigers in Russia much safer. There’s still poaching, but at least there is a commitment from the highest level of the Russian Government to protect the wildlife of Russia. In fact, when I was in Vladivostok, there were posters everywhere with tigers on the pictures on the lampposts and walls and everywhere we looked, reminding people that this was an important issue to Russia and the Russian Government. And I worked – I had the great privilege of working with President Putin and the other leaders there to make sure that the leaders’ statement that was issued included, for the first time ever, strong language on wildlife trafficking.

Now, Undersecretaries Bob Hormats and Maria Otero have met with African and Asian leaders to discuss the immediate actions needed to thwart poachers. Next week, President Obama and I will personally bring this message to our partners in ASEAN and the East Asia Summit when we meet in Phnom Penh.

We are also pressing forward with efforts to protect marine life. And last week, we joined forces with New Zealand to propose the world’s largest marine protected area, the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. And we hope to gain support from the international community as this important proposal moves forward.

We’re strengthening our ability to engage diplomatically on these and other scientific issues. Building scientific partnerships is an important tool in addressing such global challenges. That’s why I’m pleased to announce our three new science envoys, Dr. Bernard Amadei of the University of Colorado, the founder of Engineers Without Borders; Dr. Susan Hockfield, the former president and currently faculty member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and renowned evolutionary biologist Dr. Barbara Schaal of Washington University in St. Louis. Are these three scientists with us today? Are they? Okay. But I think it’s working to create a scientific consensus and very preeminent scientists from across the world speaking out that is one of the important steps that we are urging partners to join with us in doing.

Secondly, we are reaching beyond governments to enlist the support of people. As part of this effort, Under Secretary Tara Sonenshine, our Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, is spearheading a global outreach campaign which we will launch December 4th on Wildlife Conservation Day. Our embassies will use every tool at their disposal to raise awareness about this issue, from honoring local activists, to spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter. We want to make buying goods, products from trafficked wildlife, endangered species unacceptable, socially unacceptable. We want friends to tell friends they don’t want friends who ingest, display, or otherwise use products that come from endangered species anywhere in the world.

Third, we’re launching new initiatives to strengthen and expand enforcement areas. USAID has already provided more than $24 million over the past five years on a range of programs that combat wildlife crimes. Last year, they launched the ARREST program, which is establishing regional centers of expertise and expanding training programs for law enforcement. We really want to work with all of you, and we want both from countries that are victimized by trafficking to countries where consumers are the end-buyers of such products.

Finally, this is a global issue, and it calls, therefore, for a concerted global response. So I hope every government and organization here today will join the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking. That is the global partnership for sharing information on poachers and illicit traders. We’ll also be convening meetings with traditional stakeholders like NGOs and governments and with less traditional stakeholders like air and cruise line companies to discuss new potential partnerships.

Some of the most successful initiatives we’ve seen so far are the regional wildlife enforcement networks. These networks are critical to strengthening protection efforts and enhancing cooperation among key countries. To build on these efforts, today I’m calling for the creation of a global system of regional wildlife enforcement networks to take advantage of those networks that already are operating and the lessons we have learned from them. The sooner we get this off the ground, the better, and to that end, the State Department is pledging $100,000 to help get this new global system up and running.

I want to mention one last step we’re taking. Trafficking relies on porous borders, corrupt officials, and strong networks of organized crime, all of which undermine our mutual security. I’m asking the intelligence community to produce an assessment of the impact of large-scale wildlife trafficking on our security interests so we can fully understand what we’re up against. When I was in Africa last summer, I was quite alarmed by the level of anxiety I heard from leaders. It is one thing to be worried about the traditional poachers who come in and kill and take a few animals, a few tusks, a few horns, or other animal parts. It’s something else when you’ve got helicopters, night vision goggles, automatic weapons, which pose a threat to human life as well as wildlife. Local communities are becoming terrified. Local leaders are telling their national leaders that they can lose control of large swaths of territory to these criminal gangs. Where criminal gangs can come and go at their total discretion, we know that begins to provide safe havens for other sorts of threats to people and governments.

So I think we have to look at this in a comprehensive, holistic way. And there’s something for everybody. If you love animals, if you want to see a more secure world, if you want our economy not to be corrupted globally by this kind of illicit behavior, there is so much we can do together. After all, the world’s wildlife, both on land and in our waters, is such a precious resource, but it is also a limited one. It cannot be manufactured. And once it’s gone, it cannot be replenished. And those who profit from it illegally are not just undermining our borders and our economies. They are truly stealing from the next generation. So we have to work together to stop them and ensure a sustainable future for our wildlife, the people who live with them, and the people who appreciate them everywhere. So let me thank you all for being here. I really appreciate the turnout, and it means a great deal and the fact that so many ambassadors are here representing their countries – and I particularly want to thank our colleagues, the Ambassador of Kenya, the Ambassador from Indonesia, for taking a leading role in this effort. We want to hear your ideas. These are our ideas, but we really are soliciting your ideas – what works, what can we do better, how can we make a difference. Let’s put the poachers out of business and build a more secure and prosperous world for all of us, and particularly for children generations to come.

Thank you, all. (Applause.)

 

Remarks for Wildlife Trafficking Day

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 3, 2012

December 4th will be the first ever Wildlife Conservation Day.  And I have instructed U.S. diplomatic missions around the world to work to raise awareness about wildlife trafficking – some will host events, others will start a conversation with various communities.  Our goal is to inform more people about this global conservation crisis.Attacks on elephants and rhinos are multiplying at an alarming rate.  Species around the globe such as tigers in Asia are endangered.  Poaching operations are using more sophisticated weapons that threaten security and stability.  By some estimates, the black market for wildlife trafficking is rivaled in size only by the illegal arms and drug trade.

The slaughter of endangered species robs communities of income from tourism, reduces biodiversity, encourages corruption, undermines good governance.
That’s why we are training officials and educating prosecutors and judges about wildlife crimes; why we are helping countries strengthen their own laws; why we are supporting efforts to squeeze trafficking networks.  And we are helping to create wildlife enforcement networks from Central America to South Asia.

But let’s face it: we can’t do this without you.  You have the choice to refuse to purchase products made from endangered wildlife; you have the choice to stand up and speak out against these criminal networks; you have the choice to hold your governments accountable for their actions to protect endangered species and stop this trade.

So please, join us, become part of the solution.  Visit the website www.wildlifepledge.org.  Take the pledge to respect and protect the world’s wildlife.  Together I believe we can save these endangered animals before it is too late.  We can strengthen developing economies, we can bolster peace and security, and protect the world’s ecosystems.  But it is up to you and to me.  So let’s get started.  Thank you.

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In the aftermath of the 7.0 earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, Hillary Clinton was the first official from a foreign country to travel to Haiti and offer assistance. Four days after her trip, she announced the arrival of the USNS Comfort.

… we saw the arrival of the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship with more than 600 medical personnel, that adds important capacity to our relief efforts. Already, patients are being taken on board via helicopter, and treated. The Comfort adds to what is one of the largest international rescue and relief efforts in history. Food, water, medical supplies, and other essential aid continue to flow into the country.

Today, in the wake of Hurricane Maria, Hillary tweeted that the Navy and specifically USNS Comfort should be sent in to assist residents of Puerto Rico.

This is a no-brainer and should have been done days ago. It is deplorable that the president is busy leading “lock her up” chants, disinviting Stephen Curry to the White House, and ranting about sports figures genuflecting instead of standing for the national anthem but has no time to address the misery of American citizens on a devastated island.


Edited to add this.

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“It’s like that old story; you can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbors. Eventually, those snakes are going to turn on whoever has them in the backyard.” – HRC

This is an excellent allegorical warning that Hillary Clinton issued in October 2011 during bilateral remarks with then Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. The reference, at the time, was to Pakistan harboring the Haqqani Network and the Taliban.

Here are those remarks and that statement in context >>>>

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar

October 21, 2011

“… we both agreed that terrorism coming from any source is a threat to all of us. We expressed very clearly our concerns about safe havens on both sides of the border. We reasserted our commitment to doing more on the Afghan side of the border to try to eliminate safe havens that fuel insurgency and attacks inside Pakistan. And we asked very specifically for greater cooperation from the Pakistani side to squeeze the Haqqani Network and other terrorists, because we know that trying to eliminate terrorists and safe havens on one side of the border is not going to work. It’s like that old story; you can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbors. Eventually, those snakes are going to turn on whoever has them in the backyard. We know that – on both sides of the border. ”

Read more >>>>

It was only six years ago. We could not have conceived, such a short time ago, that those words could possibly apply to ourselves or to any loyal Americans. Yet here we are.

I watched the marathon of Homeland, Season 4 tonight. The opening credits for that season include a short clip of Hillary delivering those words. Funny how words that only a few years past can have meant one thing then and something new now.

Snakes in the backyard. Yes, Pakistan did and does harbor snakes in their backyard. But now we know that there are snakes in our own backyard: Foreign entities on social media influencing the American electorate. Some of these snakes arrived wearing American skin.

In her memoir, What Happened, Hillary identified the social media landscape as the new battlefield of 21st century warfare.

We have been attacked. Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation is ferreting out snakes. But we, too, must be on the lookout for snakes on our social media pages.

Even the snakes you nurture and consider pets are still snakes. Hillary’s words should resound deafeningly!

 

 

 

 

 

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Remember?

Hillary Clinton to Canadians: Watch Putin in the Arctic as well as in Europe

#WatchThis Space: Arctic Activity

Arctic Activity…. #WatchThisSpace! Keep Watching!

Reminder: Arctic Activity

Update: The Arctic and The Paris Agreement

Now this!

U.S. Treasury Fines Exxon $2M for Violating Russia Sanctions

In other news, this.

Tillerson to Shut Cyber Office in State Department Reorganization

And then this.

Russia says in talks with U.S. to create cyber security working group: RIA

Many parts moving very fast!  Whoa, Nellie! Time out!

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) calls a time-out during a multiple question from an Indian journalist, as India’s Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna smiles during their news conference at the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue in Washington June 13, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)

#WatchThisSpace

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For the first OAS General Assembly of his tenure at the State Department, Rex Tillerson is sending a surrogate.

Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan delivers remarks at the 47th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Cancun, Mexico, on June 20, 2017.

Today, Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan led the U.S. delegation at the 47th Regular Session of the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in Cancun, Mexico.

In his remarks to 33 heads of delegation from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada, Deputy Secretary Sullivan outlined U.S. goals for engagement in the Americas for mutual security and shared prosperity, the principles and values we share with fellow OAS member states, and our support for collective OAS action when these principles and values are threatened, such as in Venezuela.

Read more >>>>

It is not the first time that Tillerson has taken a back seat, and we can wager it will not be the last. Hillary Clinton, when she was secretary of state, often emphasized the importance of face-to-face meetings. It is no secret that the Trump administration plans to pare down the state department and de-emphasize diplomacy in general, but this kind of abdication of presence comes as a shock nevertheless.

Multinational summits and assemblies are prime ground for networking among peers. For Tillerson to turn his back on 33 counterparts from our backyard smacks of lunkheaded isolationism on our part as a nation and betrays a dangerous consolidation of power and authority at the top.

Foreign ministers and secretaries of state knew, when they met with Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, that major concerns voiced to them would be passed on to the president. Depriving these officials of the opportunity to meet with Tillerson eliminates an important conduit.

Hillary Clinton’s first appearance at an OAS GA coincided with a push on that body’s part to readmit Cuba which Hillary opposed without strict conditions on human rights reform. She also, everywhere she went, made a point of meeting not only with officials but also with civic leaders and organizations.

You can read about some of her Latin American diplomacy here.

venezuela-hugo-chavez-hillary-clinton-barack-obama-summit

US Secretary of State Clinton shakes hands with Mexican Foreign Secretary Espinosa after a news conference at the foreign ministry in Mexico City

MEXICO-US-CLINTON

elsalvadorflag

This was “smart power,” as Hillary dubbed it. At summits and assemblies, the presence of the top official is key. Seems now we are reverting to a counter-productive foreign policy.  All power is consolidated in the man at the top and excludes his official top diplomat. This is the Trump Doctrine: Stupid Power.

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Every year, the U.S. Department of State issues a Human Rights Report based on data collected from sources operating in U.N. member states and countries receiving U.S. assistance.  Upon the release of the 2009 Human Rights Report, Hillary Clinton announced that the United States would be added to the list of countries under review.  Republicans and conservatives did not take this news well.

Human rights are universal, but their experience is local. This is why we are committed to holding everyone to the same standard, including ourselves. This year, the United States is participating in the Universal Periodic Review process in conjunction with our participation in the UN Human Rights Council. In the fall, we will present a report, based on the input of citizens and NGOs, gathered online and in face-to-face meetings across the country attended by senior government officials. Assessing opportunities for progress and soliciting citizen engagement is one way that we demonstrate our commitment in word and deed to the basic principles that guide us toward a more perfect union and a more peaceful world.

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The U.N. also reviews human rights conditions among member states.

It should be no secret to readers here that an organization exists that formulates legislation to be put forth in multiple states. If you were watching MSNBC in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s killing, you saw Karen Finney unveil ALEC.

One example of  Karen’s  effect at MSNBC was her unmasking of ALEC  (American Legislative Exchange Council) behind the Stand Your Ground laws in many states, including Florida, in the wake of George Zimmerman’s fatal attack on Trayvon Martin.  No one, in my experience of viewing multiple hours of MSNBC,  had ever mentioned ALEC.  But after Karen filled in for Bashir that day, it seemed that not an hour went by without some anchor bringing up ALEC.

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This comes as disturbing news.

The UN Has Stepped In To Issue A Severe Warning To GOP After Their Plans To Strip Americans Of Freedoms Is Exposed

If you thought your rights are protected in the USA, think again. There are lawmakers who are working hard to under-handedly take them away. Sixteen states have proposed bills that would criminalize peaceful protests. This is a worrying trend that may result in fatal blows to our rights and freedom to peacefully protest, assemble, and express our opinions and voices.

It is so concerning, that even the United Nations has weighed in on the trend. In an unprecedented move, representatives from the UN have sent a letter to the US government offering a strong condemnation for proposed legislation in sixteen states that is meant to limit peaceful protest.

The letter, penned by David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, claims that if passed, these bills would be “incompatible with US obligations under international human rights law.”

Read more >>>>

There is a link to a PDF of the 19-page letter in the body of the article. I encourage you to take a look. At the end of the letter, there is a link to the U.N. Human Rights website.  Please also see that. Here are the letters sent regarding the U.S. in 2017 according to that page.

United States of America

  • 9 May 2017 – Intensified screening of travellers at the US border based on their religious affiliation – OL USA 6/2017

United States of America

  • 1 May 2017 – Intensified social media screening of travellers at the US border – OL USA 7/2016

United States of America

  • 27 March 2017 – Draft bills on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression – OL USA 3/2017

Those are the letters sent this year.  Further down the same page is a list of  all communications sent since 2011 divided by country. Here are the letters sent to the U.S.

United States of America

  • 30 September 2016: Proposal to request travelers’ social media information on immigration forms – USA 9/2016.
  • 20/04/2016 – Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement –USA 4/2016

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There is a danger of rapid erosion of human rights afoot. The U.N. is watching. It is not clear the degree to which such pending legislations will make their way into the State Department’s Human Right Report for 2017.  The easy out for this administration would be for DOS to exclude the U.S. from that report as it had been until Hillary Clinton included us.

The multiple pending legislations are most likely the work of ALEC. When you look at the menu bar on their website,  you see a “more” category.  There is a drop-down where you can access their “free speech” position.  The proposed curtailment of protest rights appears to be tied to recent protests against right wing speakers on university campuses.

This is going to become a matter of framing as our friend George Lakoff often reminds us. We need to make sure that protest remains framed as freedom of expression and not as the enemy or abrogation of someone else’s right to speak. That, from what I see on their page, is how they plan to frame these legislations.

While it is encouraging that the U.N. Human Rights folks are looking out for us, it also raises concerns that our own local governments are working formally to curtail our rights. The federal government, specifically the State Department, could potentially stand down on reviewing and reporting on rights violations within our borders. Lastly, and most dangerously, this administration, already inimical to the U.N. having its headquarters here, could move to exit the U.N. altogether.  I know that sounds far-fetched, but we ought to keep that in mind. Though I doubt it would ever pass, there are factions in our country that despise the U.N.  We need to be vigilant.

Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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You probably saw some photos like this from yesterday kindly provided by the Russian Foreign Ministry since American photo journalists were barred from the Oval Office during this meeting.

My prediction was incorrect about a Lavrov/Tillerson meeting. They did indeed meet at the State Department although Tillerson was not included in the White House sit-down.

Then there is this. The bolded emphasis is mine.

The Arctic Council: Fostering Cooperation, Preservation, and Prosperity in the Far North

By: David A. Balton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

Icebergs float off the port of Ilulissat, Greenland. June 17, 2016.

The Arctic is a special place.

Its awe-inspiring natural beauty suggests a land untouched by time. But it is not a park — people have been living in the Arctic for thousands of years. Today, the ways of life of Arctic peoples, along with the Arctic itself, is changing rapidly and profoundly. Many of these changes — environmental, social and economic — transcend national borders, making international cooperation critical for the Arctic’s future.

The Arctic Council serves as the forum where Arctic nations and peoples collaborate to protect the Arctic’s environment while also fostering development of its economic potential in responsible and sustainable ways. This week in Fairbanks, Alaska, the United States will proudly conclude a successful two-year Arctic Council Chairmanship with concrete achievements that will improve economic and living conditions in the Arctic region; enhance Arctic Ocean safety, security and stewardship; and strengthen the resilience and adaptation capabilities of Arctic communities in the face of climate change.

Several of our achievements during our Chairmanship deserve special attention. The Council completed an assessment that identifies gaps in telecommunications capabilities across the region which, when remedied, will improve the lives and boost the economies of the countries in the Arctic region. The Arctic Council has also created a groundbreaking new tool, the Arctic Ship Traffic Database, to track shipping routes and prepare for an anticipated increase in activity. This surge in shipping will stimulate investment in infrastructure and benefit the economies of Arctic nations.

To ensure continued responsible development in the Arctic, the Arctic Council focused on initiatives that enhance the safety and good stewardship of the region. As we see more human activity in the Arctic, we need to be better prepared to protect the people who live and work there. Under U.S. leadership, the Council worked together to enhanced search and rescue readiness through live exercises. The recent entry into force of an agreement to cooperate on oil spills in the Arctic and an updated guide on how to respond if one happens help prepare and protect us from potential challenges in the future.

We are especially proud to announce a landmark scientific cooperation agreement, through negotiations led by the United States and Russia, which will usher in a new era of Arctic science by breaking down the barriers to research and exploration in the region. Together, we will increase our knowledge about the challenges and opportunities in the Arctic.

Left: Alaskan Sunset in July near Anchorage — 12:10 am. Right: placid view in Tutka Bay with near mirror-like conditions reflecting grand mountain scenery off the waters. Alaska, Kenai Peninsula, Kachemak Bay. (NOAA National Ocean Service)

Alaska is America’s Arctic. It is tough, beautiful, and complex.

The United States looks forward to hosting the foreign ministers of the other Arctic nations and leaders of indigenous Arctic groups in Fairbanks this week to celebrate the conclusion of our successful chairmanship. We wish great success to Finland which will serve as the next chair. Thanks to the dedication of the many groups and individuals supporting it, we know the Arctic Council will continue to preserve and protect the economic opportunities and unique beauty of the Arctic for future generations.


Originally published on blogs.state.gov on May 10, 2017.

Oh those shipping routes! And about those “challenges and opportunities,” does oil figure in there in some sneaky way? Sigh!

Related:

Hillary Clinton to Canadians: Watch Putin in the Arctic as well as in Europe

#WatchThis Space: Arctic Activity

Arctic Activity…. #WatchThisSpace! Keep Watching!

 

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