Pressemelding | Nr: 029/09 | Dato: 29.04.2009
“Climate change and increased access to Arctic waters call for closer Arctic cooperation. I am pleased that the Arctic Council has identified a number of measures to combat climate change and protect the Arctic environment,” said Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
“Climate change and increased access to Arctic waters call for closer Arctic cooperation. I am pleased that the Arctic Council today has identified a number of measures to combat climate change and protect the Arctic environment,” said Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
The Arctic Council met at ministerial level in Tromsø, Norway, chaired by Mr Støre. The Arctic Council was established in 1996, and comprises Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States of America, in addition to indigenous representatives.
“As human activity in the Arctic increases, we need new policies. I am therefore delighted that the Arctic Council today has agreed to focus on search and rescue in the Arctic, to recommend safety standards for maritime transport and oil and gas production in the Arctic, and to establish a task force to limit emissions of non CO2 drivers of climate change, such as black carbon and methane, recognising their importance in Arctic climate change,” said Mr Støre.
“I am deeply grateful to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Al Gore for reporting to the Arctic Council today from yesterday’s conference on melting ice. His intervention and the presentations by leading scientists yesterday confirm that the ice is melting even faster than previously imagined, both in the Arctic and in other regions of the world. This makes it all the more urgent that we address the issue of climate change, and we will convey our sense of urgency to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009,” said Mr Støre.
The Arctic Council meets at foreign minister level every second year, approving projects and guidelines. Due to the increased activity and interest in the Arctic, the Tromsø meeting decided that the Arctic Council from now on will meet at political level once a year. Denmark will take over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council from Norway.
“Denmark will have our full support in further enhancing the importance of the Arctic Council, being the only circumpolar organization there is,” said the Norwegian Foreign Minister.
More details on the recommendations adopted by the Arctic Council today
Search and rescue: As maritime activities in the Arctic increase, there will be increasing need for Arctic search and rescue services. The Arctic Council therefore agreed to negotiate an international instrument on cooperation on this issue.
Arctic shipping guidelines: The Council also urged the International Maritime Organization to ensure adoption of updated and binding guidelines for ships operating in Arctic ice-covered waters, and to support the development of mandatory regulations on safety and environmental protection for Arctic waters as a matter of urgency.
Infrastructure safety: The Council also approved a Russian proposal to “develop safety systems for economic activity and infrastructure projects in the Arctic”. Norway and Russia will take the lead in this project.
Oil and gas: The Council also revised the guidelines for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic, including procedures and minimum standards.
Task force on short-lived non-CO2 drivers: The task force on nonCO2 drivers of climate change will identify measures to reduce emissions of these substances and recommend immediate actions, recognising the role of short-lived non-CO2 drivers of climate change such as black carbon, methane and tropospheric precursors in Arctic climate change.
Ocean management: A project on best practices in ocean management has resulted in advice on principles for ecosystems-based ocean management.
The road to Copenhagen: The Arctic Council also agreed to report to the Conference of the Parties to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-15) from the project “Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic
Ice Melting: The Arctic Council decided that it will co-operate with the task force established by the co-chairs of the ice melting conference yesterday, which will contribute a state of the art report on ice melting to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen in December 2009.
In addition the Council received final reports with recommendations from several projects on climate change, the International Polar Year, the Arctic marine environment, human health and human development, energy, contaminants and biodiversity.
More information: http://www.arctic-council.org/
Contact: Bjørn Jahnsen, Head of Communication, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway, mobile: +47 971 64 843.