The Arctic Council must be strengthened, legally binding agreements must be written and the people must be involved in governing the Arctic. These are some of the messages from the Conference of the Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region to the Arctic governments.
- During the conference in Akureyri we, members of the parliaments in all the Arctic countries, agreed on a final statement addressing how we can move ahead with governance, environmental issues, education and human development in the Arctic in the years to come", says Morten Høglund (FrP), Chair of the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region.
Agreement between the parliaments on such a final declaration is vital, according to Høglund, when the parliamentarians present proposals and discuss with the Arctic Council. The statement is directed to the Arctic governments, the Arctic Council and the institutions of the European Union.
One of the points in the final statement is that the Arctic parliamentarians want to strengthen the Arctic Council with annual ministerial meetings and a permanent secretariat.
"We want the Arctic Council to become an even more effective and robust international organisation, and for the Council to be able to enter into binding legal agreements," says Morten Høglund.
Høglund underlines that the parliamentarians want to see agreements in more areas than exist today. The Arctic governments have already signed an agreement on search and rescue, and negotiations are underway for an agreement on oil spill preparedness. However, the parliamentarians envisage future agreements in more areas, such as for example, research, education and tourism. One thing that spreads through the whole final statement is the importance of involving the Arctic population in the governance and development of the Arctic.
MP Morten Høglund (FrP) has been the Chair of the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region since February 2011.
Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway. Russia, Sweden, the USA and the European Parliament are the nine members of the Conference of the Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region which was established in 1993.
The 10th Conference of the Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region gathered parliamentarians from all the member countries as well as representatives of indigenous peoples and the research community. Observers this year came from far away, for example, Singapore.
The conference meets every two years, and this year it was held in Akureyri, Iceland from 5-7 September.
Silje Bergum Kinsten Silje.Kinsten@stortinget.no