Common Concern for the Arctic. Conference arranged by the Nordic Council of Ministers 9–10 September 2008, Ilulissat, Greenland. Conference report.
Nordic Council of Ministers
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Developments in the Arctic are increasingly a subject for political dialogue and policy discussion in global and regional fora and within individual states. There is an obvious need for coordinated international action to meet the many challenges facing the Arctic region due to globalization and climate change. The rest of the world is also affected by the consequences of melting ice in the Arctic. The Nordic Council of Ministers has during the current Swedish Presidency hosted an Arctic Conference in Ilulissat, Greenland on 9–10 September 2008. The Conference provided a forum for exchange of views on activities and policies, pursued by individual states and in particular the European Union, that are of importance for or that directly affect developments in the Arctic region. The Conference aimed at raising awareness of the new challenges and opportunities that are a result of changing environmental, economic and social conditions in the Arctic region. The Conference addressed the role of circumpolar and regional cooperation in the implementation of governmental and EU policies and the need to enhance synergies in order to improve consistency and avoid overlapping activities. The Conference consisted of a number of focussed presentations and panel discussions regarding new opportunities and challenges within the following policy areas: 1) Terrestrial Living Resources, 2) Marine Living Resources, 3) Non-renewable Resources, 4) Local Development and Capacity Building in the Arctic and 5) Scientific Research and Traditional Knowledge. The participants were ministers, politicians, senior representatives from EU bodies and member states of the EU, the Arctic Council, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, the Nordic Council of Ministers and the partners of the Northern Dimension, China, Korea as well as experts on Arctic issues and representatives of indigenous peoples’ organisations, relevant NGOs and the media. The Conference took place in Ilulissat on the western coast of Greenland. The Ilulissat Icefiord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The location gave an opportunity for participants to reflect on the impact of climate change on this important natural heritage site in the Arctic region. This report contains the introductory speeches and overviews as well as points raised by the participants of the panels. Furthermore, it contains the Chairman’s summary as well as concluding remarks by a representative of the European Commission.
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