I. China’s contributions to the work of the Arctic Council’s Working Groups, Task Forces, and/or Expert Groups
China is geographically a “Near-Arctic State”, one of the continental states that are closest to the Arctic Circle. The natural conditions of the Arctic and their changes have a direct impact on China’s climate system and ecological environment. Having long been involved in Arctic affairs, China is an active participant, builder and contributor in Arctic affairs.
The Arctic Council (“Council”) is the main inter-governmental forum on issues regarding the environment and sustainable development of the Arctic and plays an important role in addressing Arctic affairs. Since becoming an accredited observer to the Council in 2013, China strictly abides by the commitments it made at the time of applying for the status of observer. It fully supports the work of the Council, and has participated in all inter-governmental meetings open to observers under the framework of the Council. In August 2016, China set up the position of the Special Representative for Arctic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Gao Feng was appointed as the first Special Representative on 2 November of the same year. On 26 January 2018, the Government of China released the first white paper on the Arctic, which is entitled “China’s Arctic Policy”, comprehensively elaborating its policies and positions on Arctic affairs.
The Government of China recognizes the great significance of the work of the Council’s Working Groups, Task Forces and Expert Groups in promoting the goals of the Council. China has continuously taken part in the relevant work including but not limited to the following aspects:
1. CAFF: China attaches great importance to the protection of the Arctic migratory birds along the East Asian-Australasian flyway. Mr. Lu Jun and Mr. Jiang Hongxing of the National Birds Banding Center of China participated in the work of CAFF and shared information about the Arctic migratory birds protection. China also sent delegates to attend the executive meeting of AMBI held in Netherlands from 5 to 7 April 2016 and the workshop of AMBI held in Singapore from 7 to 10 January 2017, respectively. Based on the actual activities of the Arctic migratory birds in China, the delegates of China presented practical suggestions, which were incorporated in the “Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative Work Plan 2015-2019(Revised)” of CAFF. In hot sites of the Arctic migratory birds activities, the State Forestry and Grassland Administration of China works together with China’s relevant local governments to consider taking concrete protection measures to establish long-term protection mechanisms for the Arctic migratory birds.
3. AMAP: China sent experts to participate in the 30th Meeting of AMAP held in Helsinki, Finland from 17 November to 1 December 2016. At the invitation of the International Arctic Scientific Committee, Mr. Zhang Dongqi of the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences took part in the review of the fourth chapter of the Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic Program from January to March 2016.
4. PAME: Mr. Liu Yanguang of the First Institute of Oceanography of the State Oceanic Administration of China and Mr. Lu Zhibo of Tongji University participated in the 2016 PAME meeting held in Stockholm, Sweden from 31 January to 3 February 2016. Mr. Yang Haizhen and Mr. Lu Zhibo of Tongji University participated in the International Science and Policy Conference of The Ecosystem Approach to Management of Arctic Ecosystems: Status of Implementation, held in Fairbanks, Alaska of the United States from 23 to 25 August 2016, during which they introduced the latest research progress on spatial distribution of primary productivity in the Arctic Ocean and its influencing factors resulting from the 6th Arctic Scientific Expedition of China.
5. SCTF: Mr. Long Wei of the State Oceanic Administration of China participated in the 9th SCTF meeting from 6 to 8 July 2016 in Ottawa, Canada.
The University of the Arctic (“Arctic”) is an important partner with the Council. Since 2014, the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, a member of the Council of the Arctic, has consecutively attended the annual meetings of the Council of the Arctic, including the 20th Council meeting of the Arctic from 15 to 17 August 2017. As of May 2018, 10 Chinese scientific institutes and universities, including the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Ocean University of China and Beijing Normal University, have joined the network of the Arctic, contributing to strengthen the Arctic education.
China was actively engaged in the international agendas related to the Arctic meteorology. From 31 March to 7 April 2017, in Prague, Czech Republic, delegates of China attended a series of meetings of the Arctic Scientific Committee and Arctic as well as the activities of the Arctic Science Summit Week, and made a special report upon invitation. Furthermore, the Chinese delegates participated in the meetings of the 8th International Sea Ice Mapping Conference, the Polar Space Task Group (PSTG) and the Year of the Polar Prediction (YOPP) under the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which were held in Bergen, Norway from 1 to 3 November 2017.
China respects the traditions and cultures of the Arctic residents including indigenous peoples, and is committed to preserving their unique lifestyles and values. During the “Arctic Frontiers” held in Norway from 25 to 28 January 2016, the State Oceanic Administration of China hosted a sideline meeting themed “Sustainable Development of indigenous people in the Arctic and Asia’s Contribution”, which was dedicated to discussing how Asian countries can contribute to the welfare of indigenous people in the Arctic. At the 20th Anniversary of the Arctic Council in 2016, China made financial contributions to the Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat, with the aim to facilitate its work on producing a Historic Story Map of the Arctic indigenous peoples.
II. China’s future plans for contributing to the work of the Arctic Counc