United States and Russia Sign Polar Bear AccordFact Sheet released by the Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC, October 16, 2000
The United States and the Russian Federation today signed a bilateral agreement for the conservation of polar bears shared between the two countries. David Sandalow, Assistant Secretary of State, and Yuriy Ushakov, Russian Ambassador to the United States, signed the Agreement at a formal ceremony in the U.S. Department of State Treaty Room.
The Agreement unifies management programs between the United States and Russia for the shared Alaska-Chukotka polar bear population. Notably, it creates the U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission and provides for the active involvement of Native people and their organizations. The Agreement also provides for long-term joint programs, such as conservation of ecosystems and important habitat areas, setting of sustainable harvest levels, collection of biological information, and increased partnerships with local and private interests. The Agreement fulfills the spirit and intent of the 1973 Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears, to whichthe United States, Russia, Norway, Denmark (for Greenland), and Canada are Contracting Parties.
The polar bears of the Alaska-Chukota population are transboundary and inhabit the Chukchi Sea and Bering Sea region. Although some joint research and management efforts between the U.S. and Russia took place in the past, these efforts either no longer occur or are conducted only by one country. The Agreement is designed to strengthen the management and research efforts for this distinct population of polar bears.
The Agreement is the result of two years of negotiations with the Russian Federation; Alaska and Chukotka Natives also participated directly in these negotiations. Other participants on the U.S. side included the Department of Interior/Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of State, the Alaska Nanuuq Commission, North Slope Borough, State of Alaska/Department of Fish and Game, Marine Mammal Commission, National Audubon Society, RurAL CAP.
The Agreement will now be forwarded to the Senate for advice and consent to ratification. The Congress will also be called upon to enact enabling legislation to augment the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Russian government has already enacted legislation to implement the Agreement.
[end of document]
|| OES Home Page | U.S. Department of State | Disclaimers ||