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With Russia Ascendant, Phillips Bill Proposes New Arctic Ambassador to Fight Climate Change and Enhance National Security

Today, Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03) introduced the Arctic Diplomacy Act of 2021, legislation that would establish a United States Ambassador at Large for Arctic Affairs. The newly created Arctic Ambassador would work with partner nations to maintain peace and stability while encouraging environmentally sustainable natural resource management and economic development. The bill would also mandate an Arctic Region Security Policy to bolster U.S. diplomacy, advance principles of good governance, and enhance resilience capacities to combat climate change and increased militarization.

Earlier today, the Russian Federation began its two-year term as chair of the influential Arctic Council, the international body dedicated to promoting cooperation in the region. In light of that development, it is more important than ever that the United States play an active role in Arctic diplomacy – and a dedicated Arctic ambassadorship would make that aspiration a reality. Furthermore, as the climate crisis continues to intensify, the Ambassador for Arctic Affairs will be needed to promote sustainable development, reduce carbon emissions, and strengthen resilience in the Arctic Region.

“It’s simple – stability in the Arctic is good for the United States and good for the world,” said Rep. Phillips. “By making Arctic diplomacy and climate change mitigation a priority, my bill reaffirms that principle, and it does so at a time when American leadership is needed most. The Arctic Diplomacy Act of 2021 would be a victory for all who value peace, prosperity, and our natural environment, and I look forward to building a broad coalition of support for this critical legislation.”

In recent years, military activity in the Arctic has increased, leading to concerns that the region could become a major theater of conflict. In that context, U.S. strategic engagement is vital to advancing meaningful diplomacy between Arctic states and securing our national interest.

Read the Arctic Diplomacy Act of 2021 here