ISSN (Print) 1996-7845

ISSN (Online) 2542-2081


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Andrey Sakharov1
  • 1 RANEPA, 82 (1) Vernadskogo prs., Moscow, 119571, Russia

Shift in the United States Climate Policy and the Arctic Council Agenda

2018. Vol. 13. No. 1. P. 66–79 [issue contents]

Environmental issues form the basis of the Arctic Council’s agenda. Since the first Senior Arctic Officials meeting in 1996, issues related to ecology and climate have been raised at almost every event under the aegis of the forum. A substantial number of structures within the forum’s institutional framework were created to engage in monitoring exercises and scientific research, as well as to harmonize the positions of Arctic Council members on the most pressing environmental and climate change concerns in the region.

In this regard, the change in the general course of U.S. environmental policy under the administration of Donald Trump could significantly complicate the interaction between members in key areas of the Council’s agenda. The United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and the lifting of the moratorium on oil and gas exploitation in the Arctic seabed will certainly impede dialogue within the Council. Nevertheless, there are several aspects of U.S.’s foreign and internal politics which could work to preserve its long-term environmental policy trend despite changes brought about by the Trump administration. Even in the short term, the activities of the U.S. within the Arctic Council and the provisions of the Fairbanks Ministerial Declaration differ from the president’s statements on climate change.

The U.S.’s new environmental policy is compared to the priorities of Finland’s 2017–2019 chairmanship which maintains the traditional environmental focus of the forum’s agenda while intensifying cooperation with other international institutions on climate change issues. Thus, the institutional basis established in previous years, and more importantly, a stable agenda and concrete work by the forum’s bodies ensure the effective use and functioning of the Arctic Council. The Finnish presidency and the secretariat of the Arctic Council are not adjusting the agenda to accommodate policy changes of individual members and the working groups have continued their usual activities.


Sakharov A. (2018) Shift in the United States Climate Policy and the Arctic Council Agenda. International Organisations Research Journal, vol. 13, no 1 (in Russian and English). DOI: 10.17323/1996-7845-2018-01-04. 


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