Foreign ministers of Arctic nations, as well as key stakeholders from non-Arctic states including China, will underscore the urgency of combating climate change at a summit in Alaska on Monday.
US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry will attend the global conference that is being in the US city of Anchorage, Alaska, on August 30-31.
The US State Department is hosting the conference on “Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience, or GLACIER”.
The US has assumed chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2015. The US has held interests in the Arctic since it bought Alaska from Russia in 1867.
Key stakeholders, during the conference, will discuss climate change, adaptation planning and strengthening coordination in Arctic affairs, said the US State Department.
Arctic nations have long vied for the potentially valuable resources beneath the northern seas.
The US geological Survey in 2008 said the Arctic Circle has an estimated 90 billion barrels of recoverable oil, 1,670 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, and 44 billion barrels of recoverable natural gas liquids.
China has one research station in the Arctic, the Yellow River Station and a Polar Research Institute in Shanghai to train scientists in Arctic research. In 2015, China will launch three research expeditions to the Arctic.
Russia’s delegation to the Alaska conference will be headed by Russian envoy to the US Sergey Kislyak. Russia boasts of hosting half of the arctic coastline.
Russia has made claims on several Arctic shelf areas and is planning to defend its bid at the UN. Canada, US and Denmark also lay claim to parts of the resource-rich shelf.
Meanwhile, China and India were granted observer status in the Arctic council after an announcement at a ministerial meeting in Sweden in 2013.
China and India can now sit in on meetings at the Arctic Council without voting. The Arctic Circle has been looking to incorporate more inclusive debate about the future of the Arctic region.
At present, only the eight countries of the Arctic Council have a say in setting policy in the region – America, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Iceland.
The Arctic is expected to become ice-free in coming decades as temperatures there rise twice as fast as in the rest of the world, which has led to a major push by oil and mining companies to drill in Arctic waters, and by Asian countries hoping to cut shipping routes.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has said the Arctic has enormous national security implications for the US.
“For a long time now, I’ve shared the view that the Arctic region really is the last global frontier, and the United States needs to elevate our attention and effort to keep up with the opportunities and consequences presented by the Arctic’s rapid transformation,” Kerry said last year.
TBP and Agencies