US takes over responsibility for the Arctic Council in April, and it will also have the effect of drawing the Arctic Council squarely into the limelight, the editor of The Arcic Journal writes:
"Though reform of the council has not been included as one of America’s three focus areas for its chairmanship, Papp pointed out that the council, founded in 1996, had “matured” to the point where it was ready to become a “more vibrant” player in Arctic affairs.
While Papp cited the need for greater consistency as the Arctic Council chairmanships passed from one country to the next (for example, the US will continue Canada’s current focus on economic development, but will also pursue two other goals) the comments come at a time when the council is facing increasing challenges to its claim to being the leading body in the region.
The council is primarily a forum for Arctic states and indigenous groups, and is divided into six working groups involved with topics such as monitoring, assessing and preventing pollution, climate change, biodiversity conservation, protection of the marine environment, emergency prevention, preparedness and response and improving the living conditions of Arctic residents."
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The US chairmanship may see emergence of a more robust Arctic Council, according to the editor of The Arctic Journal.