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Policy Issues

The Ocean and Polar Affairs

The ocean covers 70 percent of the earth and provides immense opportunity to utilize its vast resources responsibly. The United States works to efficiently and effectively develop and manage these resources with neighboring countries and the international community to preserve their health and wealth for many generations to come.

The United States has been an Arctic nation with important interests in the region since the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. The changes today in the Arctic — economic, social, and environmental — transcend national borders, opening new opportunities and making international cooperation critical for the Arctic’s continued sustainable development. The United States also has strong interests in Antarctica, in particular to promote its status as a continent reserved for peace, cooperation, and science.

Read more about what specific offices are doing to support this policy issue:

Office of Oceans and Polar Affairs (OPA): OPA, part of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), formulates and implements U.S. policy on international issues concerning the ocean, the Arctic, and the Antarctic. Read more about OPA

Office of Marine Conservation (OMC): OMC formulates and implements U.S. policy on a broad range of international marine conservation issues in order to ensure economic prosperity and security through healthy, sustainably managed fisheries in the oceans and Great Lakes. Read more about OMC

Office of Conservation and Water (ECW): ECW coordinates the development of U.S. foreign policy approaches to conserving and sustainably managing the world’s ecologically and economically important ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, drylands and coral reefs, the species that depend on them, and the world’s water resources. Read more about ECW

U.S. Department of State

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