White House Announces Actions to Protect Natural and Cultural Resources in Alaskan Arctic Ocean
December 09, 2016
Since taking office, President Obama has worked to protect the Arctic’s natural and cultural resources and the communities that rely upon them through the use of science-based decision making, enhanced coordination of Federal Arctic management, efforts to combat illegal fishing, and revitalization of the process for establishing new marine sanctuaries. Building on this effort, today, President Obama is announcing new steps to enhance the resilience of the Alaskan Arctic environment and the sustainability of Alaskan native communities with the creation of the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area.
In addition to today’s protections, the Obama Administration is announcing approximately $30 million in philanthropic commitments for projects in rural northern Alaska and Canada. These projects include investments over the next three years related to shipping, ecosystem science, community and ecological resilience, and tribal engagement. Earlier this week, the Department of Commerce deployed an Economic Development Assessment Team to Nome, Alaska to help the region diversify, grow its economy, and address challenges related to climate change and community resilience.
Today’s actions are also supportive of the March 2016 U.S.-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy, and Arctic Leadership and make substantial progress on its objectives of conserving Arctic biodiversity through science-based decision-making, incorporating indigenous science and traditional knowledge into decision-making, and supporting strong Arctic communities. These actions employ science-based leadership to improve marine and coastal resilience and sustain our Nation’s precious natural resources.
- 1/21/15 Promoting Science-Based Stewardship, Security, and Opportunity in the Arctic Region
- 3/27/15 White House Releases Implementation Report on National Strategy for the Arctic
- 8/13/15 Ambassador Mark Brzezinski Appointed Executive Director of the Arctic Executive Steering Committee
- 11/30/15 President Obama Answers 6 Questions on Climate Change
- 12/17/15 President Obama, Joining Bear Grylls, Tests Survival Skills in Alaska
- 1/26/16 Coordinating U.S. Actions to Address Arctic Challenges: The Arctic Executive Steering Committee’s First Year
- 1/30/16 Ambassador to the Arctic: Meet President Obama’s Point Man for Alaska
- 3/10/16 U.S.-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy, and Arctic Leadership
- 5/13/16 U.S.-Nordic Leaders’ Summit Joint Statement
- 5/13/16 FACT SHEET: U.S.-Nordic Collaboration on Climate Change, the Arctic, and Clean Energy
- 9/28/16 FACT SHEET: United States Hosts First-Ever Arctic Science Ministerial to Advance International Research Efforts
- 11/18/16 Obama Administration Bans Arctic Ocean from Offshore Oil Drilling Through 2022
- 12/9/16 Executive Order — Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience
- 12/9/16 FACT SHEET: White House Announces Actions to Protect Natural and Cultural Resources in Alaskan Arctic Ocean
Press Statement of the Association of Village Council Presidents : Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area
December 9, 2016 beringseaelders.org
The Obama administration announced today its decision to create the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area. The Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP), a tribal consortium representing 56 Alaska Native Tribes in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, joined the efforts of the Bering Sea Elders Group and Kawerak, Inc., in requesting White House action to protect these vital waters from the damaging effects of climate change and industrial threats to the subsistence way of life critical to the food security of the region. The President’s Order outlines a policy that recognizes the mutual relationship our Tribes have to these waters, and the importance of purposeful management of the resources in this area as the ocean temperatures rise.
“The Bering Sea is like our grocery store and we were born knowing the importance of these waters. Our task is to protect it,” said Vivian Korthuis, CEO of the Association of Village Council Presidents, and Tribal Member of the Native Village of Emmonak. “AVCP is grateful that the President heard our request.”
Kawerak, Inc. News Release: Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area
December 9, 2016 kawerak.org
Today, President Obama issued an Executive Order to safeguard the Bering Sea and establish the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area. The Order is monumental to the Bering Strait and the Arctic, as the protection of the Bering Sea and its resources is essential to the survival of the people of the Arctic. The Tribes in Alaska were the first natural resource managers, the first participants in arctic commerce, and the first enviromenmentalists. For us, a healthy ecosystem is a matter of food security, and it also allows us to maintain our unique cultural identity and rich heritage. This Executive Order will protect the vital subsistence economies that have lasted for millennia.
President Obama Signs Executive Order to Protect the Northern Bering Sea
December 9, 2016 beringseaelders.org
The Obama Administration announced today a landmark decision to create the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area. This unprecedented action is in direct response to the Tribes along the coast of the Bering Sea, who petitioned the President for this protection. The Bering Sea Elders Group, with delegates from 39 tribes, passed a resolution as one voice and traveled to Washington, D.C. to ask the Administration for help. The Administration heard us and today issued an Executive Order that recognizes and respects the peoples of our region and our dependence on the Bering Sea.
In addition to the Bering Sea Elders Group, the White House action was requested by the two tribal consortiums collectively representing 76 tribes – Kawerak, Inc. and the Association of Village Council Presidents.
The Executive Order establishes an important set of policies aimed at protecting the people of our region and our subsistence way of life in the face of increasing effects of climate change. It also, for the first time, creates a formal role for Tribes in the decision making so as to ensure that our voices continue to be heard as we deal with the effects of climate change and increasing pressures on our resources.
“It is my honor to thank President Obama for signing this Executive Order to help our Tribes,” said Harry Lincoln, Yup’ik elder from Tununak and Chair of Bering Sea Elders Group. “It is the Native elders’ vision that the northern Bering Sea and the resources that our people rely on be protected because they are the foundation of our culture and way of life. We have been here since time immemorial and it is our responsibility to pass our rich heritage on to future generations.”
10 Key Reasons to Protect the Northern Bering Sea and Bering Strait
- Culture, Food Security, Economy
- Way of Life
- Migration and the Rhythm of Sea Ice
- Underwater Soundscape
- Traditional Ecological Knowledge
- Small-Scale Local Fisheries
- Front Edge of Climate Change
- Shared Vision