Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 10

10 Preface Arctic Governance Fran Ulmer “The most important thing for people to know about the governance of the Arctic is that we have a chance now to act to maintain the integrity of the system or to lose it. To lose it means that we will dismember the vital systems that make the Arctic work. It's not just a cost to the people who live there. It's a cost to all people everywhere.” - Sylvia Earle1 Governance is “the processes of interaction and decision-making among the actors involved in a collective problem that lead to the creation, reinforcement, or reproduction of social norms and institutions.”2 In short, it’s the effort to make good decisions for society. From my perspective, the news is good. Arctic governance is gaining strength, both within the US and internationally. Despite stressful changes tied to global geopolitical pressures and dramatic climate change, cooperation continues to be the theme in dialog, actions, and outcomes in the Arctic. The world’s ability to set aside sharp policy differences experienced at lower latitudes, in order to work together at the higher ones is, perhaps, a testament to the special value the world places on the Arctic. Fran Ulmer is Special Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State on Arctic Science and Policy and Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission.