Polar Regions

Primary Sources

Declaration of the Establishment of the Arctic Council, 1996

With this agreement (also known as the Ottawa Declaration) the Arctic Council was established on September 19, 1996, by Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States. The Arctic Council is a forum to promote collaboration among the Arctic States, Arctic Indigenous communities, and other Arctic inhabitants on issues such as sustainable development and environmental protection.

See more in Arctic; Environmental Policy; Ethnicity, Minorities, and National Identity

Primary Sources

Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy

This strategy, also known as the Finnish Initiative, was signed on June 14, 1991 by Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the USSR, and the United States, five years before the founding of the Arctic Council. The strategy aims to monitor, protect, promote sustainable development in the Arctic region and recognize the rights of indigenous peoples in relation to environmental issues.

See more in Europe; Arctic; Environmental Policy

Primary Sources

General Secretary Gorbachev’s Speech in Murmansk, October 1987

General Secretary of the Community Party in the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev spoke in Murmansk on October 1, 1967, at the ceremonial meeting on the occasion of the presentation of the order of Lenin (the Soviet Union's highest honor for service to the State) and the gold star to the city of Murmansk. This speech is often credited as the basis for intergovernmental cooperation in the Arctic.

See more in Russian Federation; Arctic; History and Theory of International Relations


The Geopolitics of the Arctic

Speaker: Scott G. Borgerson
Speaker: Paula J. Dobriansky
Presider: Frank Sesno

As Arctic sea ice continues to melt, this November marked the close of the longest Arctic sailing and shipping season ever recorded. Please join Scott Borgerson and Paula Dobriansky to discuss the economic, environmental, and security implications of a changing Arctic region and its significance for the United States.

See more in Arctic; Climate Change