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Aspen Institute Commission on Arctic Climate Change releases final report and recommendations


Commission Calls for Actiont o Address Climate Change Response in the Arctic Marine Environment


Washington DC, January 20, 2011 –– The Aspen Institute is pleased to announce the release of the final report and recommendations of the Aspen Institute Commission on Arctic Climate Change. The report and recommendations, set up with the support of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, promote an important new perspective on the level of international cooperation and stewardship that will be necessary to manage the Arctic marine environment in anticipation of the climate change impacts the region now faces.

Commission member, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco said, "We must protect Arctic, enable it to continue to act as an essential regulator for the planet, mitigate the rise in sea levels that would result from the ice melt, and the disappearance of permafrost releasing irreversible quantities of greenhouse gases back into the atmosphere. It is a duty for ourselves and for all of humanity - for our children, of course, but also all those who are already suffering the adverse effects of these developments.  Meantime, we must do all we can to help the region respond to warming already in the system."

"Climate change is melting the Arctic ice cap, pulling apart food webs, and threatening a wide array of Arctic marine wildlife and the Indigenous peoples who rely on healthy marine ecosystems for survival," said Frances Beinecke, Commissioner and President of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Previously frozen areas are now opening up new fishing, shipping, offshore oil drilling and other industrial activities that pose further potentially devastating threats to an already fragile region. The five countries surrounding the Arctic must come together to protect this extraordinary, delicate place before it's too late."

The report entitled “THE SHARED FUTURE” identifies strategies and approaches to help conserve the critical biological resources of the Arctic Ocean and to assure sustainable livelihoods of the communities that depend on these resources for their survival.  The report focuses on several recommendations to strengthen the management of the Arctic marine environment in ways that will sustain the natural resilience of the Arctic’s multiple interdependent ecosystems.  A key recommendation is that “Arctic governments should take immediate steps to begin developing an Arctic Marine Conservation and Sustainable Development plan by 2012, in collaboration with civil society and other interested parties.”

The Commission report also includes a technical section entitled “MARINE SPATIAL PLANNING IN THE ARCTIC:  A first step toward ecosystem-based management.”  This section provides a public process that examines human activities at the ecosystem level, to understand their impacts and resolve possible conflicts between activities.


The members of the Aspen Commission on Arctic Climate Change are:

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, President, Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation

Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice Chancellor, University of Winnipeg

Frances Beinecke, President, Natural Resources Defense Council

Patricia Cochran, Chair, Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change

Sylvia Earle, Explorer in Residence, National Geographic

David Lawrence, Executive VP, Exploration and Commercial Upstream Americas, Shell

James Leape, Director General, WWF - International

Sven Lindblad, Founder and President, Lindblad Expeditions

Thomas E. Lovejoy, Biodiversity Chair, The Heinz Center

Lee McIntire, President and Chief Operating Officer, CH2M HILL

Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Human Rights and Environmental Advocate


For more information on the Commission and its findings and to obtain a copy of the Commission Report, please visit:


The Aspen Institute Commission on Arctic Climate Change was generously supported by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Aspen Institute.


The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program provides nonpartisan leadership and a neutral forum for constructive dialogue on complex policy issues in the areas of energy and environmental policy. The unique ability of the Aspen Institute to gather participants representing a rich diversity of perspectives combined with an informal atmosphere and a strict not-for-attribution rule fosters candid exchanges and creative thinking.  For more information please visit:

The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation was created by H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince in June 2006 and is dedicated to the protection of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development on a global scale.  The Foundation’s efforts focus on three main areas: Climate Change and renewable energies, Biodiversity, Water and desertification.  The Foundation gives its support to projects in three main geographical zones: the Mediterranean Basin, the Polar Regions, and the least developed countries. The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation supports initiatives by public and private organizations, in the fields of research and studies, technological innovation and socially-aware practices.