Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: August 30-31, 2015

Date: 07/22/2015 Description: GLACIER Logo  - State Dept Image


The Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience, or GLACIER, will highlight international and domestic priorities in the Arctic. The Department of State hosted GLACIER in Anchorage, Alaska on August 31st. At the direction of the U.S. Arctic Executive Steering Committee, the Department of State developed the agenda for GLACIER in close coordination with the White House, and Departments and Agencies of the United States Government with Arctic responsibilities.

This global leadership focus on the Arctic is intended to generate momentum and expedite progress in addressing some of the most pressing issues facing the region. This conference brought together Foreign Ministers of Arctic nations and key non-Arctic states with scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders from Alaska and the Arctic. Representatives of Arctic indigenous peoples were invited to attend and encouraged to participate. GLACIER discussed individual and collective action to address climate change in the Arctic; raised the visibility of climate impacts in the Arctic as a harbinger for the world, and the Arctic’s unique role in global climate change; identified ways that Arctic innovators are responding to these critical challenges; and shared opportunities to prepare and respond to other issues in the changing Arctic.

GLACIER took place during the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, but is not an Arctic Council sponsored event. GLACIER is also not directly related to the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (otherwise known as COP-21) taking place in late 2015. This conference helped to focus attention on the challenges and opportunities that the Arctic Council intends to address and highlighted how a region vulnerable to climate change is experiencing and responding to these impacts, helping to drive political will for ambitious action at COP-21.

The full-day event began with an opening plenary session, after which attendees participated in one of three tracks. Foreign Ministers participated in sessions focused on changes in the Arctic and global implications of those changes, climate resilience and adaptation planning, and strengthening coordination on Arctic issues. Occurring in parallel were panel discussions between international and domestic policymakers, scientists, NGOs, and industry representatives, as well as representatives of Arctic indigenous peoples and Alaskans. These sessions addressed topics such as climate change in the Arctic and beyond, strengthening emergency response, preventing unregulated Arctic high seas fisheries, renewable energy, science cooperation, and household innovations that promote economic efficiency and community health. A plenary session concluded the conference and a “Chair’s Summary” captured the outcomes of this important event.

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We recognize the following individuals and organizations for their contributions to GLACIER:

  • Marc Giampoli, Scan Home Anchorage (Furniture Supplier)
  • Ecosono, Composer Matthew Burtner
  • Dr. Matthew Sturm, Ice Age Ice Educational Exhibit
  • The Anchorage Museum, Julie Decker, Museum Director/CEO
  • Block/Wall Art Installations, Jane Marie Rabadi
  • Glacier Ice Educational Exhibits, Brian Joseph Steele
  • Visit Anchorage
  • NASA and Piers Sellers