Principals of the Arctic Coast Guard Forum (ACGF) Members gathered in Oulu, Finland to the ACGF Principals meeting on 8-9 March 2018. All Arctic Coast Guards’ delegations consisted of high-level representatives, which can be seen as clear sign of the ACGF Members will to develop practical level international cooperation between Coast Guards in the Arctic.
The ACGF Principals agreed that the Arctic Coast Guard Forum is a very important organization when discussing Arctic maritime safety. The discussions during the two days in Oulu proved that further development of practical level cooperation between Coast Guards in the Arctic is crucial. This was also highlighted in the Joint Statement signed by the ACGF Principals, in which it was agreed upon that the Arctic Coast Guard Forum has already made considerable progress in the field of Search and Rescue cooperation, and that the scope of the Forum’s activities should be extended to cooperation connected to environmental response.
Principals of the Arctic Coast Guard Forum signed the Joint Statement on 9 March 2018 in Oulu, Finland.
Cooperation in the framework of the Arctic Coast Guard Forum, initiated in 2015, has developed quickly. The Search and Rescue Capabilities survey, the Arctic states Rescue Coordination Center’s meeting, the Arctic On-scene Coordinator’s course and the initiative on cooperation in the field of Arctic SAR education, can be mentioned as some of the activities that have taken place during the first half of the Finnish Chairmanship. Also, even if the ACGF has only been active for three years, the Arctic Coast Guards have already trained practical level SAR cooperation during the Arctic Guardian exercise organized in Iceland in September 2017.
The Finnish Chairmanship will climax with the second Joint Live Exercise of the ACGF, POLARIS 2019, which will be held in Finland in April 2019. The exercise planning of POLARIS 2019 began earlier this year and at this stage the ACGF Members are making preliminary plans of the extent of assets that will take part in the exercise. Furthermore, parallelly with the exercise in 2019 an Arctic Search and Rescue seminar will be arranged, during which Arctic stakeholders working in various fields will have the opportunity to present their activities and to develop new partnerships.