Press release. Ottawa – 28 January 2016 – The executive council of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) met here this week to review initiatives that the organization is expected to deliver on by its next quadrennial General Assembly in 2018.
Also at the meeting, ICC Vice Chair for Canada, Duane Smith, announced his resignation after serving ICC for over 17 years. Mr. Smith was elected earlier this week to replace Nellie Cournoyea as the Chair and CEO of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC). He will also be stepping down as ICC Canada president.
ICC Chair, Okalik Eegeesiak, thanked Duane Smith for his commitment and lengthy service to ICC and all Inuit. “You will be missed. Your contribution to and for Inuit in the work ICC undertakes from Novo Chaplino in Russia, Bethel in Alaska, to Iqaluit in Canada, and Nuuk in Greenland will also be missed. I’m glad your ICC work will continue to be felt at IRC,” Ms. Eegeesiak added.
“I am leaving with some regret, but I believe my contribution to ICC has left the organization with the tools to continue to do great work,” the outgoing ICC Canada president said. “On the international stage, I always aimed to do things that made a difference at home and in that way, moving to my new role at IRC is simply a continuation of this approach.”
In a similar vein, the ICC council members reviewed the local impacts of current projects and activities of the Arctic Council and United Nations. Members also reviewed progress of the Kitigaaryuit Declaration, the 4-year mandate document that Inuit gave ICC at the last general assembly in 2014.
Of special note, three Inuit summits were launched at this meeting. They include a circumpolar-wide wildlife summit to be held in the Canadian Arctic in November of this year, an Inuit economic summit in Alaska in February 2017, and an Inuit education summit in Autumn 2017. Inuit from Russia, Alaska, Greenland, and Canada will participate at these summits before the next general assembly is held in Alaska in 2018.
ICC Vice Chair for Greenland, Hjalmar Dahl said, “we will miss Duane’s guidance as we and plan implement these very important summits.”
Jim Stotts, ICC Vice Chair for Alaska, said “Duane was never shy to challenge Arctic states and industry when our interests were not addressed, but mostly he asked how we can all work together.”
The ICC executive council next meeting will be in Greenland in the last week of August 2016.
For more information:
As 2015 draws rapidly to a close, I would like to take a moment to gratefully extend my warmest holiday wishes to you and your family!
As we reflect on this year events, we are aware of those who have worked side by side with us to shape and structure the work of the Permanent Participants in the Arctic.
Our thoughts turn to your contribution, and we would like to say thank you for your dedication. Events like the Whitehorse Workshop on Financing and Capacity, ICARP III in Japan and the Vancouver Training workshop for Permanent Participants have deepened the 6 Permanent Participants engagement with the Arctic Council. This spring Gwich'in Council International assumed the chairmanship of the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat (IPS) following the US chairmanship in the Arctic Council for a two-year term. And with the aim of strengthening the work of “high level forum” and to reflect the fact that IPS was established through the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy and continued through the 1996 declaration that established the Arctic Council, the Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat will open its office in Tromsø, Norway in January 2016.
On behalf of the IPS Board I would like to thank the Kingdom of Denmark and Government of Greenland for their valuable contribution to the establishment and promotion of the Secretariat and the interests of the Arctic indigenous peoples.
Ethel Blake, IPS Chair
December 3, 2015 – Paris, France – Okalik Eegeesiak, Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) is a delegate at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP 21 talks in Paris and has been advocating on behalf of Inuit. Currently, negotiators are working to produce a draft agreement that will be handed over to the leaders when they descend on Paris next week. These negotiations are coming down to the wire and there are some countries that are not supporting the inclusion of language that recognizes that climate change impacts human rights and the rights of Indigenous peoples. “Climate change is not just an environmental issue it is a human rights issue and the melting of the Arctic is impacting all aspects of Inuit life therefore the final text must make the rights of Indigenous peoples operative and keep it in Article 2.2. We have the right to be cold” argued Eegeesiak.
Indigenous and human rights delegates have just learned that the text developed to recognize the human rights including the rights of Indigenous peoples is on the cutting floor. “I think we can all agree that every human being has a right to a safe environment and Indigenous peoples are on the frontline of climate change impacts. All of our communities from the Arctic to the Amazon are challenged by changing climates. This recognition is vitally important” stated Eegeesiak.
“We urge Canada, Norway, the United States, Greenland, Russia, Sweden, Finland to support their Indigenous peoples and fight for the inclusion of human rights and the rights of Indigenous peoples language to remain in Article 2.2.,” said Eegeesiak. “We need communities in these countries to mobilize and pressure their respective governments to this effect. So that pressure abroad matches the pressure Indigenous delegates are exerting on negotiators here in Paris.”
To view the COP 21 ICC Climate Change position paper see www.inuitcircumpolar.com
For more information:
Carole Simon, ICC Canada
Our friend and colleague Dr. Terry Fenge passed away last weekend following a massive heart attack.
This is shocking and terribly distressful news for all of us, and it will take a long time for us to come to grips with this loss. Our immediate thoughts and prayers are with Terry's family and we offer them our condolences.
Terry will be remembered as an extremely creative and thoughtful political scientist, dedicated, strong-willed, opinionated and committed person. He was a fierce defender of Indigenous rights and worked for the Inuit Circumpolar Council and the Arctic Athabaskan Council. He worked closely with Inuit leader Sheila Watt-Cloutier and others through the negotiations that led to the Stockholm POPs Convention, on the Arctic Climate Change Assessment, on land claims negotiations in Canada and many other issues. He believed strongly that Arctic indigenous peoples deserve a place in the great debates over the fate of one of the world's most important regions. He was dogged and determined and took pride at being a thorn in the side of officialdom when necessary. To us his colleagues, Terry was a compassionate, extremely amusing and a good friend, who gave freely of his time, advice and expertise.
November 5, 2015 – Iqaluit – Okalik Eegeesiak, Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council and the ICC Executive Council calls on all peoples to celebrate Inuit Day November 7.
In 2006 ICC General Assembly in Barrow, Alaska instructed ICC to “annually proclaim the November 7th birth date of Inuit visionary, Eben Hopson, Sr., as Inuit Day, and to urge all governments, agencies, and communities to annually conduct appropriate ceremonies and celebrations.
Since 1977, the Inuit Circumpolar Council has flourished and grown into a major international non-government organization representing approximately 160,000 Inuit of Alaska (US), Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka (Russia) and holds a seat as Consultative Status II at the UnitedNations. “
November 7th commemorates the birthday of ICC’s founder; Eben Hopson Sr. ICC continues to strive for healthier Inuit communities contributing positively to the global community as envisioned by Inuit leaders in 1977. Our collective unity, in this celebration, demonstrates the partnership Inuit take pride in. From our homes, from our communities, from Inuit Nunaat -Happy Inuit Day!" said Ms. Eegeesiak.
Our language contains the memory of four thousand years of human survival through conservation and good management of our Arctic wealth. (Eben Hopson, 1977)
2016 is the 20th anniversary of the Arctic Council. The Arctic Council, with its member states and indigenous peoples organizations known as Permanent Participants, was established in September 1996 in Ottawa, Canada where the Arctic states signed the founding Ottawa declaration creating the Council. In 2016 there will be different events celebrating twenty years of collaboration in the Arctic Council.
The Arctic Council is the only circumpolar body for political cooperation at government level where indigenous peoples are equal partners. It provides a forum for discussion between the eight Arctic states and representatives of indigenous peoples on issues of common interest. The Council promotes sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.
According to the Ottawa declaration, the Indigenous Peoples´ Secretariat (IPS) established under the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS) was to continue under the framework of the Arctic Council. In 2014 IPS celebrated it´s 20th anniversary. This important milestone was commemorated with a workshop as well as a celebratory dinner and evening program, which took place on 27 November at North Atlantic House in Copenhagen. The workshop part of the anniversary celebration focused on the theme “Building on indigenous achievements on the Arctic Council”. The workshop participants pointed to a common understanding that indigenous peoples´ accomplishments in the AEPS and Arctic Council had been significant over the twenty year period, and that the unique collaboration amongst permanent participants and Arctic states had contributed to a greater understanding and success.
The Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat in partnership with The Gordon Foundation (Canada) are organizing a Training Workshop for Permanent Participants of the Arctic Council. A desire for training opportunities was expressed by the IPS Board and is included in the 2015 Strategic Plan.
The Workshop will take place October 15-17, 2015 in Vancouver. Attached please find the agenda, which will focus on three themes:
(1) A Refresher on the Arctic Council: History, Mandate, Structures, and Operating Procedures;
(2) Effective Communications; and
(3) Negotiation Skills.
The Indigenous Peoples Secretariat (IPS) is requesting proposals for the development of a Business Plan and Marketing Strategy for the “Better Arctic Funding Mechanism”. Vendors may bid on both or the Business plan/Marketing plan separately.
Vendors are requested to submit proposals electronically by October 9, 2015 to:
Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples´ Secretariat
DK-1016 Copenhagen K
Tel. +45 27 82 01 77
An internship position is available at Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples´ Secretariat (IPS). The internship is for four-six months fall 2015, with an opportunity for extension pending on the needs of the Secretariat. Application deadline is August 10, 2015. More information about the IPS internship can be found here.