U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Vladivostok, Russia on September 8, 2012 to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Antarctica and to issue Joint Statements on Pursuing a Transboundary Area of Shared Beringian Heritage and on Enhancing Interregional Cooperation. The United States and Russia conduct some of the most extensive and diverse scientific activities in Antarctica, and are among the original architects and signatories of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty.
The Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Antarctica will:
• Strengthen cooperation and significantly improve coordination of bilateral policies, science, logistics, search and rescue, training, and public outreach in Antarctica.
• Reinforce cooperative activities already taking place. For the first time, the United States and Russia are jointly conducting inspections of foreign facilities in Antarctica, which will take place in two phases in 2012.
The Joint Statement on Interregional Cooperation will:
• Encourage closer state and municipal ties, such as sister-city initiatives, with the goal of stimulating increased U.S.-Russia trade and investment links at the local level.
• Facilitate exchanges on state and municipal governance, paying close attention to e-government issues as well as the development of projects, including infrastructure development, along with plans to exchange delegations from local governments.
• Foster business ties between our two countries at the sub-national level, particularly between the Pacific Northwest and the Russian Far East, where investments like ExxonMobil’s on Sakhalin Island, as well as our increased U.S. agricultural exports, are already making
headway in our economic relationship.
The Joint Statement on Pursuing a Transboundary Area of Shared Beringian Heritage represents the first time the United States and Russia have stated their intention to formally link National Parks in Alaska – the Bering Land Bridge Natural Preserve and the Cape Krusenstern National Monument – with the soon-to-be-designated Beringia National Park in Chukhotka, Russia.
The linkage will:
• Facilitate conservation of flora, fauna, and the natural ecosystem.
• Preserve kinship ties, traditional lifestyle, and languages of the indigenous peoples of the region.
• Enhance collaboration on conservation, management, scientific research, and effective monitoring of the environment.
• Formalize the symbolic linkage of our two continents, governments, and people.