Today, Oceana was named an official observer at the Arctic Council. The announcement was made at the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska. The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental forum that provides a structure for cooperation, collaboration and partnership between Arctic states, indigenous communities and other Arctic stakeholders. Oceana initially applied for observer status to the Arctic Council in 2007.
With offices in three Arctic regions — Canada, Europe and the United States — Oceana will use its significant scientific and policy expertise to further sustainable development and environmental protections in the Arctic Ocean. In particular, Oceana’s efforts to identify and protect Important Ecological Areas in U.S. Arctic waters will contribute to collaborative efforts at the Arctic Council. Oceana’s approach brings together western science and Indigenous Knowledge to create tools that allow for effective participation in government and other processes.
In response to the Arctic Council’s announcement of Oceana being granted observer status, Andrew Sharpless, Oceana’s Chief Executive Officer, issued the following statement:
“Oceana is committed to working with the Arctic member states, permanent participants and other observers to promote healthy, biodiverse marine ecosystems in the face of a rapidly changing Arctic environment. We look forward to increasing the participation of our international team of science and policy experts with the Arctic Council. Oceana intends to be an active participant at the working group level and to promote sound and efficient policies that will protect Arctic Ocean ecosystems, promote community sustainability and maintain opportunities for the subsistence way of life.”