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Arctic Visit a Prime Opportunity for President Obama to Define his Arctic Vision

In advance of President Obama’s visit to Alaska and the Department of State’s GLACIER conference, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Margaret Williams, managing director of US Arctic programs:

“In visiting the US Arctic, President Obama is clearly demonstrating that the United States is an Arctic nation with a stake in the region’s future. This trip provides the President the perfect opportunity to define his vision of how all nations should work in unison to manage and conserve our shared Arctic resources.

“President Obama will be able to see firsthand the devastating impacts of climate change on the unraveling Arctic. There is no stronger motivation for climate action than bearing witness to vanishing sea ice, once vibrant wilderness areas burnt to the ground by wildfire, and whole communities slipping into rising seas.

“The GLACIER summit can set the stage for the types of comprehensive agreements the US can foster through the Arctic Council. We need action to permanently protect the most biologically diverse and ecologically significant parts of the Arctic ecosystem and to ensure that emerging fisheries are responsibly managed. We need coordinated international efforts to manage shipping routes and to prevent increasing marine traffic from interfering with key wildlife migration corridors. And, we must ensure that local communities can sustainably access the ocean’s bounty for generations to come, while preparing for the even greater climate-driven changes coming their way.”

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