Canada Promotes Cooperation with United States on Arctic and Environmental Issues

Canada values the long-standing cooperation that our two countries have fostered through collaboration on important environmental and Arctic initiatives

February 6, 2014 - Ottawa, Ontario - Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, was in Washington, D.C., on February 3 and 4, 2014, to promote the Arctic Council’s program during Canada’s chairmanship of the Council and to discuss environmental priorities and achievements, including progress under the United States-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation.

Minister Aglukkaq conducted key bilateral meetings with Ernest Moniz, U.S. Secretary of Energy, Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Kerri-Ann Jones, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, and congressmen Doc Hastings and Don Young.

Minister Aglukkaq held a business round table to discuss common areas of interest between Canada and the United States and promoted Canada’s Arctic Council chairmanship to members of the business community, non-governmental organizations, academia and think tanks at events celebrating Arctic and pan-American cooperation.

During her meetings, Minister Aglukkaq highlighted Canada’s success in polar bear conservation and raised concerns over the United States’ position on listing the polar bear under appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which would have negative economic and social impacts on Inuit. Minister Aglukkaq indicated that in Canada, polar bears are protected through a collaborative approach that is based on scientific data and Aboriginal traditional knowledge as well as principles of sustainability.

The integration of Aboriginal traditional knowledge into science is an important priority for the Canadian chairmanship of the Arctic Council. Minister Aglukkaq was pleased to engage with the United States on this important issue and looks forward to continued work on this priority under future chairmanships.

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada has a strong record of collaboration with the United States on initiatives to protect the environment. For example, the two countries have worked together:
    • through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change;
    • as founding members of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition;
    • through the Commission for Environmental Cooperation;
    • through the Migratory Birds Convention;
    • through the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement; and
    • in aligning regulatory actions when appropriate.
    • Canada has already aligned with the United States on greenhouse gas emission regulations for heavy and light-duty vehicles as part of the Government of Canada’s sector-by-sector regulatory approach to address climate change.
    • During Canada’s chairmanship, the Arctic Council is focusing on responsible Arctic resource development, safe Arctic shipping and sustainable circumpolar communities. The Council is developing recommendations for incorporating traditional knowledge into its work.
    • The Arctic Council’s overarching theme during Canada’s chairmanship is “development for the people of the North.”
    • Arctic states and indigenous permanent participant organizations are facilitating the creation of the Arctic Economic Council, an independent body made up of business representatives that will foster development in the Arctic, facilitate deeper circumpolar cooperation and provide a business perspective to the Arctic Council’s work.
    • Canada and the United States will have back-to-back chairmanships of the Arctic Council, with the United States holding the chairmanship from 2015 to 2017.

Quotes

“The United States is a key partner for Canada in environmental cooperation and the Arctic. We are working together to advance shared priorities to protect the environment in addition to advancing our shared priorities in the Arctic during our back-to-back chairmanships of the Arctic Council.”

- Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council

Contacts

Jennifer Kennedy
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of the Environment
819-997-1441

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
613-995-1874
media@international.gc.ca
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