News Release 17-044

US signs agreement on enhancing international Arctic scientific cooperation

NSF's Office of Polar Programs led US delegation for group that developed the accord

A Greenland ice canyon filled with meltwater in summer 2010.

A Greenland ice canyon filled with meltwater in summer 2010.

May 12, 2017

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On May 11, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed an agreement to promote Arctic scientific cooperation by breaking down barriers to scientific research and exploration.

The signing took place at the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States are parties to the agreement.

The "Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation" is the product of three years of work by the Arctic Council's Task Force for Enhancing Science Cooperation. The U.S. delegation to the task force, led by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Office of Polar Programs, represented several U.S. science agencies.

This is the third legally binding agreement the parties have negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council.

The agreement ensures scientists from the eight Arctic nations have access to the Arctic areas that each state has identified, including "entry and exit of persons, equipment, and materials; access to research infrastructure and facilities; and access to research areas." The agreement also calls for the parties to promote education and training of scientists working on Arctic matters.

The agreement entered into force upon its signature.


Media Contacts
Peter West, NSF, (703) 292-7530, email:

Program Contacts
Kelly K. Falkner, NSF, (703) 292-7424, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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