Member countries of the Arctic Council gathered at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington March 25-27 for the Arctic Coast Guard Forum (ACGF) Experts Meeting, according to a U.S. Coast Guard release.
The ACGF is intended to mirror successful models such as the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum, and is a cooperative initiative between nations with shared maritime interests in the Arctic. Membership includes Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Russian Federation, and the United States, according to the release. The Coast Guard cited “an increasing need to ensure safety, security, and stewardship of Arctic waters,” in calling for establishment of the forum. The ACGF will be “an operationally-focused organization that strengthens maritime cooperation and coordination in the Arctic,” and will be formally established this fall during a summit at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s Center for Arctic Study and Policy.
“The Arctic region is gathering increased global attention due to dynamic geopolitical factors such as climate change, permanent ice cover, and intensifying competition for undiscovered resources,” the release read. “Such factors provided context as members came together to reach consensus in organizing the Forum’s operating principles, strategic objectives, and rules of governance. These foundational steps will allow the ACGF to foster the strong partnerships required support safe, secure, and environmentally responsible maritime activity in the Arctic region.”
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft had previously rolled out the service’s Arctic Strategy, and spoke about Arctic infrastructure needs as well as the service’s operational role in a changing Arctic during a recent interview with Coast Guard Outlook. He has also voiced his support for a program to build a new heavy icebreaker.