Meeting today in Washington, President Obama together with leaders of the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland Norway, and Sweden made some important commitments to Arctic conservation. Together these countries make up the majority of the Arctic Council.
In keeping with their recognition of climate change as a key international threat, the leaders committed to extend their influence over policy and finance to promote renewable energy and decrease carbon footprints.
They also made several commitments that were specific to the Arctic.
“We were particularly pleased to see the leaders commit to science-based protection and conservation of ecologically important habitats,” said Alexander Shestakov, Director of WWF’s Global Arctic Programme. “They had already committed to developing a network of marine protection through the Arctic Council, but this adds commitment to conservation of freshwater and land too, and it will take into account ecological resilience.”
The leaders also made commitments to exercising highest standards, best practices and the precautionary approach to new and existing commercial activities in the Arctic, including oil and gas.
WWF looks forward to these commitments being nailed down in national legislation and policy, along with other commitments jointly made through the Arctic Council. We also look forward to the commitments being carried further through the Arctic Council’s work, as Finland and Iceland follow the US as next two chairs on the Council.
Polar bear countries must do more to keep polar bears and people safe: Range States meet in Norway March 4-6, 2020
The governments of Canada, Greenland/Kingdom of Denmark, Norway, Russia and the US will meet in Svalbard this week to discuss their continuing cooperation to conserve and protect polar bears against the threat of climate change. WWF’s Arctic Programme has been invited to participate in the meeting of the five Range States (the countries where polar bear populations live).
The next two years are extremely important for the global community’s ability to take important steps forward in the protection of biodiversity, the urgent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and responsible, sustainable development for the entire planet.