On Saturday, June 24th, four U.S. Senators travelled to Tromsø to meet with Arctic stakeholders and discuss the future of the region. The bipartisan delegation from four different states represented the influential Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Banking Committee.
The meeting was part of a trip the U.S. delegation of policymakers and staffers is making to Lithuania, Norway and Belgium. On Saturday afternoon, the delegation met with representatives from the Arctic Mayors’ Forum, Arctic Council Secretariat, Center for High North Logistics and Arctic Economic Council.
“There is a growing interest in the Arctic from policy makers around the world. More countries are developing Arctic strategies and appointing ambassadors and we can see that the Arctic has emerged in Washington as important issue to keep an eye,” says Executive Director of the Arctic Economic Council Mads Qvist Frederiksen.
The Arctic has a lot of opportunities for sustainable economic development with fish to feed the world, energy to power industries, and raw materials needed in the green transition. All of the representatives from the Arctic highlighted the role of the people of the north and the need to ensure thriving communities with sufficient infrastructure.
“Make no mistake, the most persistent challenge in the Arctic is climate change. Impacts are not future issues for Arctic cities, towns, and small communities, but rather shape the daily existence of Arctic residents. Local leaders need to work together, across Arctic borders, with our Indigenous Peoples and youngest residents to find innovative solutions.”, says Patti Bruns Secretary General of the Arctic Mayors’ Forum.
Arctic Mayors’ Forum represents elected leaders from communities across the region and aims to give local governments a voice in the development of the north. It is currently chaired by the Mayor of Tromsø, Gunnar Wilhelmsen. During the meeting Patti Bruns opened the door for greater representation of American towns and cities in the Forum, inviting the Senators to become more involved in recruiting their municipalities either as members or observers.
The visit from the U.S. senators comes just a short while after the U.S. government has announced that it will establish a presence in Tromsø, Norway.
Mads Qvist Frederiksen: +47 459 11 056
Patti Bruns: +47 48 10 40 11