The increased focus on potential exploration of Arctic offshore oil and gas and shipping this summer is made evident by a busy month of June for the Emergency Prevention Preparedness and Response working group (EPPR). On 5-7 June 2012, a workshop was held in Kirkenes, Arctic Norway, where the participants had the opportunity to observe the annual Russian - Norwegian Exercise Barents.

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The U.S. Government has decided to allocate up to 5 million USD to the Arctic Council's environmental projects. The funds will be designated to the Arctic Council's Project Support Instrument (PSI), which is administered by the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO). The deposit of the contributions from the United States and Russia will make the fund operational.

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The first Deputy Ministers’ Meeting under the Swedish Chairmanship was held in Stockholm on Tuesday 15 May. The meeting, hosted by State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Frank Belfrage, was met with great approval.

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