The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:
(WASHINGTON) — Citing an increasing need to ensure safety, security, and stewardship of Arctic waters, member countries of the Arctic Council gathered at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters on Wednesday for a two-day Arctic Coast Guard Forum (ACGF) experts meeting.
The ACGF is a cooperative initiative between nations with shared maritime interests in the Arctic. Membership includes Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Russian Federation and the United States. The ACGF will be an operationally-focused organization that strengthens maritime cooperation and coordination in the Arctic.
The Arctic region is gathering increased global attention due to dynamic geo-political factors such as climate change, permanent ice cover, and intensifying competition for undiscovered resources. Such factors provided context as members came together to reach consensus in organizing the forum’s operating principles, strategic objectives, and rules of governance. These foundational steps will allow the ACGF to foster the strong partnerships required support safe, secure, and environmentally responsible maritime activity in the Arctic region.
During his recent State of the Coast Guard Address, Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft addressed the importance of the Coast Guard’s role in the Arctic, stating, “Unimpeded access and sustained presence while operating in the Arctic are vital to meet the United States Arctic strategy. There is a new ocean opening and Coast Guard authorities mandate our presence wherever U.S. national interests require people and ships to operate.”
The member countries will formally establish the Arctic Coast Guard Forum at a Summit at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s Center for Arctic Study and Policy this fall.