STATEMENT by Patricia A. L. Cochran Chair, Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat and Chair, Inuit Circumpolar Council.

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Indigenous Peoples Secretariat
"I'd like to take the short time allocated to me here to remind all of us that the partnership between Arctic governments and Indigenous Peoples is strong, unique, and fruitful. Because of the groundbreaking agreement that makes Indigenous Peoples' organizations Permanent Participants, the Arctic Council is increasingly being pointed to as a model of cooperation that bears replication the world over. Twelve years ago the 8 Arctic States and 3 founding Arctic Indigenous Peoples organizations met in Ottawa to establish the Arctic Council. Through the Ottawa Declaration, Member States said yes to Indigenous Peoples sitting at the same table as Ministers and participating in Arctic Council Working Groups. Arctic Governments agreed with us that Indigenous Peoples should be permanent and be active participants. Given the desire by states to encourage and assure meaningful participation of the Permanent Participants, they specifically mentioned the need – in the Ottawa Declaration – to have a strong and vibrant Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat, or IPS. This validated the work IPS had undertaken in the former Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy. This sent a strong message to future ministers, officials, and Indigenous Leaders that it is a core element of the Arctic Council itself. That document speaks to us today. The Arctic Council is strong today because the Permanent Participant are full partners, in part, as a result of our support from IPS." /.../