In July 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry appointed Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr. as the first U.S. Special Representative to the Arctic and emphasized that “The Arctic region is the last global frontier and a region with enormous and growing geostrategic, economic, climate, environment, and national security implications for the United States and the world. […] Arctic policy has never been more important, particularly as we prepare to Chair the Arctic Council in 2015”.
This week, on January 18-19, Admiral Papp participated in the annual Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø, widely considered the most important conference on Arctic issues, where more than 1,400 leaders from academia, governments, business and NGOs come together and discuss sustainable development in the Arctic Region.
Following a visit to Iceland and Sweden, and en route to Denmark, Finland and Russia, Admiral Papp gave a speech at the opening session of the conference, where he emphasized the U.S. Arctic Program focused on “One Arctic” and the significance of human development in the region. He also had bilateral discussions and business meetings, a roundtable with Student Ambassadors from the University of the Arctic (UArctic), and took part in an exclusive fjord cruise on the Norwegian coast guard vessel KV Andenes.
Before leaving the country, Admiral Papp also had some meetings with the Norwegian government in Oslo, discussing joint efforts in the region.
The United States is committed to continued collaboration with the Arctic nations in order to secure sustainable development. On NRK’s foreign affairs news show Urix, Admiral Papp stated that “the United States interest is focused on the fact that it is an Arctic nation. [..] This is why we have been an active participant in the Arctic Council and we’re looking forward to the Chairmanship and helping to advance some projects that we think will help the safety and security of all the people who live, work and operate within the arctic region”.
Read and watch Admiral Papp’s media coverage while in Tromsø (in Norwegian):
- NRK Urix (Jan 19, 2015): Admiral Papp talks about the U.S. interest and ambitions regarding the Arctic region
- Nord24.no (January 18, 2015): “How the U.S. will show the world that they take the Arctic seriously”