ICC set to meet on resource development
Inuit leaders will seek a common position on resource development
Inuit from Canada, Alaska. Greenland and Russia plan to meet in Ottawa at the Chateau Laurier hotel Feb. 23 to Feb. 24 24, the Inuit Circumpolar Council announced Feb. 8.
Their task: to forge a common Inuit position on resource development in the Arctic.
ICC said the summit was called to respond to the Nuuk Declaration, adopted last June at the end of the ICC general assembly in Nuuk.
The Nuuk Declaration directed the ICC to address policy issues on resource development in the Arctic, including offshore drilling and exploration, mining, and environmental, economic, social and cultural impact assessment processes.
The call for a Inuit oil and gas summit, first brought up at the ICC assembly in July, became more urgent after last September’s announcement by Cairn Energy that one of their drill holes off western Greenland turned up oil.
Experts estimate there could be as much as 20 billion barrels of oil off Greenland, which has led Greenland’s premier Kuupik Kleist to tout Greenland as a future Saudi Arabia.
To better manage a possible “black rush” on Arctic oil and gas resources, ICC president Aqqaluk Lynge told Nunatsiaq News that he wants to ensure any development respects the rights of Inuit.
And he’d also like to see a closer look at the kind of technology used in offshore oil exploration in the Arctic, to avoid disasters like the blow-out of BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico last summer.
Lynge, who in the past has expressed grave reservations about oil and gas development, said Inuit from Canada, Alaska, Russia and Greenland urgently need to discuss their experiences with resource development.
“We cannot move forward without co-operating and learning from each other. And Greenland needs to learn from Alaska — maybe how not to do it,” Lynge said.