"WASHINGTON — Science ministers from 25 nations joined Alaska Natives from the Alaska Arctic for a first-of-its-kind White House meeting Wednesday to work on international cooperation for Arctic research.
The meeting comes just more than a year after President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to visit the Arctic in an effort to draw attention to Alaska's advanced state of climate change, compared to the Lower 48. It is just a month after a cruise ship traveled through the Northwest Passage — a first-time feat managed because of thawing sea ice.
'The Arctic is experiencing environmental and climate change faster than any other part of the planet, creating significant challenges for the people who call the Arctic home, and multiplying impacts around the globe,' the ministers said in a joint statement Wednesday. The countries have joined together to capitalize on a growing public interest in the region and to combine their scientific efforts. The group statement noted the 'importance of traditional and local knowledge and the sharing of scientific and technological information to advance well-informed, timely, and constructive decision-making.'"