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Ground Truth Briefing | A Stronger International Regime for the Arctic Ocean?

Date & Time

Jun. 4, 2020
10:00am – 11:00am ET


Virtual Teleconference (information in event description)


As the Arctic Ocean becomes more accessible due to climate change, governments and Arctic stakeholders are scrambling to keep up with increasing human activities in that region. Nations concerned have taken several steps to manage these activities, but current international arrangements will likely prove to be insufficient as the Arctic Ocean continues to change in profound ways.

Ambassador David Balton and Dr. Andrei Zagorski have recently co-authored a ground-breaking article analyzing the situation, “Implementing Marine Management in the Arctic.”  These two authors—one from the United States and one from Russia—have drawn on their long diplomatic and academic involvement with the Arctic to provide a candid assessment of the challenges confronting the Arctic Ocean and the limitations of the current international regime. Balton and Zagorski also offer a number of concrete suggestions for strengthening this regime, in both near-term and long-term. 

The Wilson Center's Polar Institute and the Russian International Affairs Council, with the support of WWF, are pleased to host this discussion with Ambassador Balton and Dr. Zagorski to consider these matters.

Selected Quotes

Ambassador David Balton

“The Arctic, of course, is melting. Climate change is transforming the region, and the nature and volume of human activity in the Arctic Ocean is certain to increase in the coming years, and what we have put in place so far is not likely to be adequate to deal with the coming changes.”

“Ultimately… we’re looking to create a system where science-based measures using the ecosystem-based management approach would be developed, presented to some group of states for decisions. The decisions would then become binding in one way or another on all of the relevant actors. This is not an easy thing to accomplish, but it is something that has been accomplished for other marine areas of the planet.” 

Andrei Zagorski

“The biggest point here is how to organize, properly, the whole planning and implementation of the scientific research in order to focus it in a comprehensive way on the issues of ecosystem-based marine management in the Arctic.” 


Hosted By

Polar Institute

Since its inception in 2017, the Polar Institute has become a premier forum for discussion and policy analysis of Arctic and Antarctic issues, and is known in Washington, DC and elsewhere as the Arctic Public Square. The Institute holistically studies the central policy issues facing these regions—with an emphasis on Arctic governance, climate change, economic development, scientific research, security, and Indigenous communities—and communicates trusted analysis to policymakers and other stakeholders.  Read more

Kennan Institute

The Kennan Institute is the premier US center for advanced research on Russia and Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the surrounding region though research and exchange.  Read more

Environmental Change and Security Program

The Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) explores the connections between environmental change, health, and population dynamics and their links to conflict, human insecurity, and foreign policy.  Read more

Thank you for your interest in this event. Please send any feedback or questions to our Events staff.