Arctic Update Header
April 20, 2012


Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session today.


Food Security 


Earlier today, the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) Alaska held a Capitol Hill roundtable discussion on Arctic food security with representatives from Congress and the Executive Branch. Senators Begich and Murkowski spoke at the event, that was led by Mr. Jimmy Stotts, President of ICC, Alaska.


ICC recommended greater efforts by the Federal government towards improved food security for Inuit. Specifically, there were calls for:


a. an interagency (and State of AK) "task force" to be created, to help streamline the bureaucracy associated with subsistence hunting and fishing;

b. improved access to food, and greater AK Native say in managing food resources;  

c. Vera Metcalf, ICC, AK Vice President, called for an independent review of the effectiveness of marine mammal co-management as implemented under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. She also called for greater transparency in the manner in which federal budgets are determined for marine mammal co-management agreements in NOAA and in DOI.  


For more information on ICC Alaska's food security work, please see the most recent Drum Newsletter, published by ICC Alaska.


Begich 1
Jimmy Stotts, ICC AK President (l), Sen. Begich (r)
Begich/ Murkowski
from left, Sen. Murkowski, Sen. Begich, Myron Naneng






Senate's $51.9 Billion C-J-S Bill Wins Swift Approval from Appropriators. The Senate Appropriations Committee overwhelmingly endorsed a fiscal 2013 Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill Thursday that puts the panel on a collision course with its House counterpart. Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson was the lone Senate appropriator to oppose the bill, which sailed through the committee 28-1. Johnson has expressed strong concerns over excessive government spending and the deficit. None of the panel members offered any amendments, highlighting the bipartisan support for the measure. The panel backed the C-J-S legislation in the same vote that it approved a draft appropriations bill for transportation and housing programs. Congressional Quarterly


MurkowskiMurkowski: White House Ocean Policy "Clear as Mud." Senator Murkowski - co-chair of the U.S. Senate Oceans Caucus - today expressed her frustration with the administration's disorderly national ocean policy process during a meeting of the Senate Appropriations Committee, saying "it is as clear as mud to me where the administration is intending to take this."  Murkowski also voiced her concerns over the Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) program that the Obama administration has indicated it plans to proceed with despite the Senator's defunding of the program. Murkowski also thanked her committee colleagues for approving a key provision in the FY2013 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill that gives states authority to reject regional ocean partnership grants that are inconsistent with the state's coastal management plan. Senator Lisa Murkowski 


House Panel Drafting Magnuson Reforms. The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee is drafting "a comprehensive" change to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, a fisheries management law, in an attempt to ensure that NOAA makes "informed decisions based on sufficient scientific information," Chairman Doc Hastings has told the Times. Incorporating elements from a suite of eight bills vetted by the committee last December, the federal legislation has been in construction by committee staff for some time - before a national fishermen's rally at the Capitol last month and an April 3 letter to the committee from 21 House members. Those signers included John Tierney, who represents Cape Ann, and Barney Frank, whose district includes New Bedford. Gloucester Times 


Polar bearPolar Bears Evolutionarily Five Times Older and Genetically More Distinct: Ancestry traced back 600,000 years. A study appearing in the current issue of the journal Science reveals that polar bears evolved as early as some 600,000 years ago. An international team led by researchers from the German Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F) shows the largest arctic carnivore to be five times older than previously recognized. The new findings on the evolutionary history of polar bears are the result of an analysis of information from the nuclear genome of polar and brown bears, and shed new light on conservation issues regarding this endangered arctic specialist. Science Daily 


Giant Conference to Discuss 'Dramatic' Arctic Changes: 2,000 scientists expected at Montreal polar conference. It took hundreds of scientists from dozens of countries with millions of dollars in funding, but the conclusion they've come to is simple. Climate change is now altering the Arctic faster than the people who live there and the governments who regulate it can keep up with. "I've been working in the Arctic for 30 years now and, personally, I'm amazed at the speed at which things are changing in the Arctic," said University of Winnipeg ice specialist David Barber, who is to speak at a major conference on Arctic research next week in Montreal. "It's extremely dramatic." CBC News 


The Time is Now to Act to Protect US Interests in the Arctic. "Leadership for the Arctic" was the focus of a two-day conference at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT, April 12-13. The event-held on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the RMS Titanic's fatal collision with an iceberg in the north Atlantic- was co-sponsored by the Law of the Sea Institute of the University of California-Berkeley School of Law and made possible through the generous support of the Coast Guard Foundation. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy, founded in 1876 aboard the schooner Dobbin, provides a rigorous four-year B.S. degree program encompassing 13 academic areas in the fields of engineering, science, applied mathematics, government and management.  Graduates of the Academy are commissioned ensigns in the U.S. Coast Guard. Fox News 


russian flagNATO, Russia Stage Arctic War Games. As global warming is thawing permafrost around the Earth's poles, the Arctic is gradually emerging from under the eternal ice as a new geopolitical arena, a focal point of interest and concern to the major world powers. The conflict of economic interests is already on the horizon and won't probably be resolved any soon, although military clashes remain an equally hazy perspective. In the past, only scientists and journalists seemed to be concerned about the "opening up" of the Arctic. Now, politicians and the military are also turning their gaze to this region, which rising temperatures have made more accessible than ever. The Voice of Russia

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events               



Arctic Science Summit Week 2012, April 20-22, 2012. The summit will provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in all areas of arctic science. Side meetings organized by stakeholders in arctic science and policy are also expected. More information here


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring IPYmeetinglogotogether over 2,000 arctic and antarctic researchers, policy and decision-makers, and a broad range of interested parties from academia, industry, non-government, education and circumpolar communities including indigenous peoples. The conference is hosted by the Canadian IPY Program Office, in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, among other groups. Each day of the conference will feature a program of keynote speakers, plenary panel discussions, parallel science sessions, as well as dedicated poster sessions. The conference-wide plenaries will explore themes related to topics of polar change, global linkages, communities and health, ecosystem services, infrastructure, resources and security. Other sessions will provide the opportunity to present and discuss the application of research findings, policy implications and how to take polar knowledge to action. Click here


USARC Commission Meeting, April 27-28, 2012. The 97th meeting of the CPClogoUSARC will be held in Montreal, Canada, in conjunction with the "From Knowledge to  


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Action" IPY meeting referred to above. The Commission will meet on April 27-28, and will meet jointly with the Canadian Polar Commission on the afternoon of the 27th, to discuss common interests in Arctic Research. Details here. 


Arctic Forum 2012, April 30-May 1, 2012. The Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. will host the forum in conjunction with their 24th annual meeting. Both events will be in Washington, D.C. The Arctic Forum is part of the American Geophysical Union's Science Policy Conference, which will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The Conference will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions. Within the Science Policy Conference, the Arctic Forum will assess gaps and priority needs for arctic scientific information to inform decision makers in policy formation for three key themes:

                - Governance and Security in the Arctic;

                - Transportation and Energy Development; and

                - Changing Arctic Ecosystems.

The Forum will examine the current state of policymaker and public understanding of the issues. An important goal will be to foster an increased capacity for dialogue and action on arctic science-policy issues.


AGU Science Policy Conference, April 30- May 3, 2012. The American Geophysical Union hosts a policy conference in Washington, D.C. to bring together scientists, policymakers, and other stakeholders to discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our environment, economy, national security, and public safety. This meeting will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions related to natural hazards, natural resources, oceans, and the Arctic. 


[Postponed]American Polar Society 75th Anniversary Meeting and Symposium, "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics", to occur in 2013, The Explorers Club, NYC. For 75 years, the American Polar Society has both documented and communicated polar activities to the interested world. This meeting will bring together the current leaders in science, government, commerce, and diplomacy for a state-of-the-art forecast of the next seventy-five years in a world influenced more than ever before by the destiny of the Arctic and Antarctic. Click here.  


The Tenth International Conference on Permafrost, June 2012. The conference will be held in Tyumen, Russia, and is organized and hosted by Russia. The last conference was held in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2008. Click here.  


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Health, August 5-10, 2012. This event is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Society for Circumpolar Health, and the International Union for Circumpolar Health.  The forum will consider community participatory research and healthmeetinglogoindigenous research; women's health, family health, and well-being; food security and nutrition; social determinants of health; environmental and occupational health; infectious and chronic diseases; climate change health impacts; health service delivery and infrastructure; and behavioral health. Click here


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-28, 2012. The summit will be hosted by Alaska Dispatch and will bring together leading voices in this conversation, including residents from the small villages that comprise Alaska's coastal communities, state, national and international leaders, the heads of shipping and industry, as well as international policymakers and the news media. The goal of the summit is to sharpen the focus on the policy and investment needs of Alaska's Arctic through a series of high level meetings, presentations, investor roundtables and original research. Click here


Arctic/Inuit/Connections: Learning from the Top of the World , October 24-28, 2012.  The 18th Inuit Studies Conference, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, will be held in Washington, DC. The conference will consider heritage inuitconferencelogomuseums and the North; globalization: an Arctic story; power, governance and politics in the North; the '"new" Arctic: social, cultural and climate change; and Inuit education, health, language, and literature. For more information, click here. 



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