The U.S.-Canada Arctic Policy Forum: Impressions from the American Co-Chair


  • Robert L. Friedheim



Aboriginal rights, Fisheries, Fishing, Hunting, Inuit, Offshore oil well drilling, Sovereignty, Subsistence, U.S.-Canada Arctic Policy Forum, Northwest Passage


A U.S.-Canada Arctic Policy Forum, funded by the William H. Donner Foundation, Inc., New York, met to consider the need for U.S.-Canadian cooperation in the Arctic and some of the barriers thereto. The U.S. co-chair assessed the causes of conflict between the two countries, the need for cooperation and some of the sources of each side's conduct and indicated how the delegates - speaking in their capacities as private citizens - worked their way through the issues to the forum's conclusion. Sovereignty questions dominated the conflict issues. But each side had four types of similar internal problems in making arctic policy (1) native vs. nonnative interests (2) regional vs. central interests (3) public vs. private interests; and (4) oil development vs. subsistence and commercial fishing and hunting interests. The forum concluded with suggestions that future meetings use the Canadian Federal Assessment Panel's (or Tener) report as a source of examining possible U.S.-Canadian cooperative measures in the Beaufort Sea region and the Canada-Denmark Agreement as a possible "model" for U.S.-Canadian environmental cooperation in the Arctic.

Key words: sovereignty, Northwest Passage, indigenous rights, oil and gas, security, Tener Report, arctic industrialization, scientific cooperation, Beaufort Sea, marine resources