Establishment of the Arctic Coast Guard Forum

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft joins leaders representing all eight coast guard agencies of the Arctic nations to sign a Joint Statement officially establishing the Arctic Coast Guard Forum at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., Oct. 30, 2015. The Arctic Coast Guard Forum is an operationally-focused, consensus-based organization with the purpose of leveraging collective resources to foster safe, secure and environmentally responsible maritime activity in the Arctic. Membership includes Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Russian Federation and the United States. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft joins leaders representing all eight coast guard agencies of the Arctic nations to sign a Joint Statement officially establishing the Arctic Coast Guard Forum at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., Oct. 30, 2015. The Arctic Coast Guard Forum is an operationally-focused, consensus-based organization with the purpose of leveraging collective resources to foster safe, secure and environmentally responsible maritime activity in the Arctic. Membership includes Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Russian Federation and the United States. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

The United States Coast Guard has a rich history of operating in the Arctic, dating back to the acquisition of Alaska in the 1860s. More than 150 years of operations in one of the world’s most challenging environments has paved the way for recent historic events, including the Coast Guard Cutter Healy becoming the first U.S. surface vessel to reach the North Pole unaccompanied this past September.

Today, another milestone occurred when a Joint Statement, officially establishing the Arctic Coast Guard Forum, was signed by leaders representing all eight coast guard agencies of the Arctic nations.

The Arctic Coast Guard Forum is an operationally-focused, consensus-based organization with the purpose of leveraging collective resources to foster safe, secure and environmentally responsible maritime activity in the Arctic. Membership includes Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Russian Federation and the United States.

The Joint Statement officially establishing the Arctic Coast Guard Forum is displayed after being signed at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., Oct. 30, 2015. The Arctic Coast Guard Forum is an operationally-focused, consensus-based organization with the purpose of leveraging collective resources to foster safe, secure and environmentally responsible maritime activity in the Arctic. Membership includes Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Russian Federation and the United States. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

The Joint Statement officially establishing the Arctic Coast Guard Forum is displayed after being signed at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., Oct. 30, 2015. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

The signing ceremony culminated months of collaboration by the U.S. Coast Guard and fellow agency representatives who crafted the Arctic Coast Guard Forum’s foundational documents, developed its operating framework, and stood-up official working groups.

The historic summit of coast guard agency representatives took place at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s for Arctic Study and Policy. While participants spent the majority of their time focused on the work at-hand, they also met with Academy cadets, faculty and staff over lunch and during a special panel discussion focused on the Arctic.

During the summit, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft met with agency representatives and highlighted their collaboration in the Arctic domain.

“Today’s historic Arctic Coast Guard Forum represents a critical step forward in our collective efforts to promote safety, security and environmentally-responsible maritime activity in the Arctic,” said Zukunft. “As the ocean becomes more accessible to human activity, all Arctic nations have committed to enhancing maritime cooperation in this remote and challenging environment.”

The Arctic Coast Guard Forum will reconvene for an Experts Meeting in spring 2016.

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