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Thursday, 09 August 2012 11:42

ICC in Chukotka

The Inuit Circumpolar Council celebrated the 20th anniversary of ICC Chukotka, the Russian branch of the international organization, "the Inuit Circumpolar Council" (ICC), in the district capital, Anadyr. The foreign delegation of ICC, representing the Inuit of Canada, the United States and Greenland, arrived with a charter flight from Alaska to Anadyr. For four days, from 26 to 29 July, the Arctic town enjoyed the visit of many guest and many activities arranged for this occasion. The Russian Inuit arrived from local communities of Provideniya, Eultinsky and Chukotsky regions.
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 10:36

Arctic oil spill agreement

It was 9 am in Anchorage, Alaska, and 7 pm in Tromsoe, Norway, on Thursday July 26, when a conference call gathered a flock of people to discuss oil spills in Arctic waters. More specifically, on the agenda of the call was the oil spill response agreement that is currently being negotiated by the Arctic states. And still more specifically, the question was how to secure an indigenous imprint on the final agreement. The call that had been organized by the NGO Arctic Alliance was attended by representatives of the Permanent Participants in the Arctic Council as well as other non-profit Arctic stakeholders. Their discussion centered on two things, in particular: firstly, the inclusion of references to indigenous interests in the Arctic oil spill agreement; secondly, and more generally, the need to involve indigenous peoples in work with other legally binding agreements made under the auspices of the Arctic Council.
The focus of this year’s International Day is "Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices".The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People (9 August) was first proclaimed by the General Assembly in December 1994, to be celebrated every year during the first International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (1995 – 2004). In 2004, the Assembly proclaimed a Second International Decade, from 2005 – 2015, with the theme of “A Decade for Action and Dignity.”
Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon released his message to the press on occasion of the upcoming International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on Thursday, August 9.
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 08:16

Oil Compromises

Whereas Norway is pumping up oil and filling its citizens' pension funds to the point of bursting, in the Arctic US, a wilderness of diverging – corporate, environmental, indigenous, and regulatory - interests are presently catching up things in a deadlock. However, according to author Bob Reiss in his new book called “The Eskimo and the Oil Men,” there can be no doubt the future will se a lot of drilling off the coasts of Alaska – as in so many other parts of the Arctic – and a lot of money being made from it by oil companies.
Tuesday, 03 July 2012 09:13

Arctic oil - profit vs risk and cost

While environmentalist groups such as Greenpeace intensify their campaigns against Arctic offshore oil drilling, financial investments are beginning to show signs of faltering. Drillings costing billions of dollars so far have missed the presumably huge, yet so far also rather elusive hydrocarbon deposits in the Arctic Ocean. This in turn is making huge players at the worlds financial markets turn their backs on Arctic offshore drillings as they are found to represent a lose-lose situation: firstly, there’s the risk of pouring billions of dollars into the Arctic Ocean and not getting anything back; secondly, if oil is eventually struck, there’s the risk of spills in ice and of having to spend billions on cleaning it. And/or having to spend an unknown number of billions on preventive measures. Cairn Energy’s explorative drillings off the coast of Greenland exemplifies the former situation: the drillings have cost Cairn $1 billion, forcing the company to reconsider its commitments in Greenland waters.
Saturday, 30 June 2012 11:36

Risk Communication in the North

It is one thing is to identify the public health risks represented by exposure to contaminants through their presence in Northern environments and food chains. Another thing is how to communicate the health issues and risks involved. Yet, according to an Arctic Council Working Group, the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the two things are closely related. As a matter of fact, AMAP identifies risk communication as a critical aspect of the public health and food security issue. Therefore, AMAP has initiated a retrospective research project on risk communication in the Arctic. To get matters going, a research team has been established under the auspices of Health Canada. Among other things, the research team will develop a catalogue of existing practices and trends of delivering health advisories and messages.
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 12:07

Negotiations on the end of the earth

In the language of Nenets, who inhabited the Yamal peninsula for more than 1,000 years, Yamal means ‘the end of the earth’. After Russian gas industry has constantly been moving northwards in order to develop the natural gas and oil industry, the Yamal region seems no longer to be a part of the remote end of the earth, but it has become an important geopolitical part for Russia and a strategic area for the world’s biggest producer of natural gas, Gazprom.
The Artic Council Should become a fully fledged international organization based on a treaty among the 8 Arctic states to enable it to make more legally binding agreements in the future. The inclusion of the Permanent Participants should be secured, financially and otherwise, and not only on the level of consultation, but also in the decision making process. This is what it says in a draft paper on Arctic governance prepared by the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region (SCPAR). The draft paper was presented by Member of Danish Parliament for Greenland Sara Olsvig at the recent meeting of SCPAR in Nuuk. At the meeting, it was decided to circulate the draft paper to interested parties for their consideration and then aim at having it adopted at the next meeting of SCPAR in September.
Sunday, 24 June 2012 15:59

China's interest in Greenland

The recent edition of Greenlandic newspaper “Sermitsiaq” - 22 June 2012 - features an article by Chinese free-lance journalist Ming Ou Lu about the China’s interests in Greenland. Chinese Arctic and Greenland policies, Ming writes, are made in the huge concrete buildings capped by dozens of parabolic antennes of the Foreign Ministry in Beijing.
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Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat
Fram Centre, Postboks 6606 Langnes, NO-9296 Tromsø, Norway