Panel I: Preventing and Responding to the Growing Environmental Threats to the Arctic Ocean

Friday, February 26
10:00 – 11:00 AM ET
Zoom Link

The Arctic Ocean is one of the most physically undisturbed marine spaces on the planet. Climate change is making the region more accessible, which opens up opportunities for oil and gas development, shipping, fishing, and more. Addressing environmental threats to the region presents unique challenges, as the harsh climate, fragile ecosystems and lack of critical infrastructure can hinder response activities and increase the risk of environmental disasters. This panel brings together experts and policymakers to discuss environmental governance, the potential for safe and sustainable development as well as opportunities for mitigating and responding to the threats facing the Arctic Ocean.


Elizabeth McLanahan, NOAA Director of International Affairs & U.S. Rep. to Arctic Council’s Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment

Elizabeth McLanahan is the Director of NOAA’s Office of International Affairs and Senior Advisor to the NOAA Administrator. She serves on the negotiating team or as the U.S. Head of Delegation to a number of international fora such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, Arctic Council Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment, and the United Nations Environment Programme, while also chairing NOAA’s bilateral engagements with Korea, India, and other key partners.

Key negotiating achievements include the Central Arctic Ocean Fisheries Agreement, Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation, International Guidelines for the Management of Deep-Sea Fisheries in the High Seas, and Criteria for Identifying Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas.  Ms. McLanahan was also instrumental in the development of the joint U.S.-New Zealand proposal that led to the world’s largest marine protected area in the Ross Sea of Antarctica.

Ms. McLanahan provides leadership and policy guidance to the NOAA Administrator on all international matters and engagements ranging from marine litter to relations with China. She directly oversees all agency engagement with Cuba and Russia.  Previous to Elizabeth’s 15 years at NOAA, she worked for the Department of the Interior on forestry and threatened and endangered species issues and the World Bank on land tenure security in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ms. McLanahan holds a B.A. in Biology from Dartmouth College, as well as a Masters in Forestry and a Masters in Environmental Management with a concentration in Resource Economics both from Duke University.  

Terzah Tippin Poe, Mentor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School

Terzah Tippin Poe, a US Arctic Inupiaq, is a lecturer & Instructor at Harvard University in the sustainability and environmental management program and US Lead for the Polar Research and Policy Initiative. She consults, writes and speaks to sustainability issues including Arctic & marine policy, international environmental governance, resource development and Indigenous Peoples.

As part of Poe’s portfolio with a global energy company, she negotiated agreements with communities and worked with international organizations including the World Bank, Inuit Circumpolar Council, WWF, First Peoples Worldwide, Living Earth and The Nature Conservancy. Poe is also Principal Consultant for TRIO Global Solutions | ICS, a consultancy focused on non-technical risk management, policy analysis and advising, and obtaining social license to operate. Poe holds a Master of Sustainability and Environmental Management from Harvard, Bachelor of Journalism, and post-graduate studies in Public Policy and Ethics.

Rebecca Pincus, Assistant Professor at the US Navy War College:

Rebecca Pincus is Assistant Professor in the Strategic and Operational Research Department (SORD) in the Center for Naval Warfare Studies at the US Naval War College, and a member of the Institute for Future Warfare Studies within SORD. She previously served as primary investigator (PI) at the US Coast Guard’s Center for Arctic Study and Policy, located at the US Coast Guard Academy.