Nunavut Edition Headline News
September 17, 1998
The Arctic Council: What is it?
Foreign Affairs Minster Lloyd Axworthy and Indian Affairs Minister Jane Stewart represented Canada at this week's Arctic Council gathering in Iqaluit.
PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE
IQALUIT This week, diplomats and officials from an international
organization called the "Arctic Council" have descended on Iqaluit
for a two-day meeting.
What is the Arctic Council?
- The Arctic Council is made up of the circumpolar world's eight nation
states: Canada, the United States of America, Russia, Denmark (Greenland),
Iceland, Finland, Sweden and Norway. These countries are considered "members"
of the Arctic Council.
- Four aboriginal organizations are considered to be "permanent
participants" of the Arctic Council: the Inuit Circumpolar Conference,
the Saami Council, the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the
North, and the Aleut International Association.
- Some other nations and organizations have been given "observer"
What's its job?
- The organization has been set up to help the eight nations co-operate
on circumpolar issues, especially environmental issues.
- It's also supposed to take over the co-ordination of existing international
circumpolar organizations and processes, such as various programs under
the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy.
- Another major Arctic Council task is to figure out how to carry out
"sustainable development" in the Arctic.
- Lastly, they want to disseminate information, encourage education,
and promote interest in Arctic-related issues.