Arctic Council: Arctic peoples’ Nuuk press release
At the Arctic Council Ministerial in Nuuk, May 12 2011, the Foreign Ministers of the 8 Arctic states decided to establish a standing secretariat in Tromsoe, Norway. The establishment of a standing secretariat in an integral part of the efforts to strengthen the Arctic Council as set out in the Nuuk Declaration signed by the ministers at their meeting today.
Representatives of Arctic indigenous peoples that hold Permanent Participant status in the Arctic Council sat at the table with the Foreign Ministers. The Permanent Participant delegates expressed their support of the declaration that will guide the incoming Swedish chairman of the Council for the next two years. In their press release issued at the close of the Ministerial meeting, the Permanent Participants stated: The Arctic Council is the forum in the Arctic for addressing environmental issues of high concern for us as Indigenous peoples. Our primary practices take place in the ecosystems that we depend upon, by herding, gathering, fishing and hunting. Without a healthy environment, our culture and livelihoods will be at stake. When it comes to strengthening the Arctic Council, the Permanent Participants give support to the Arctic States to continue negotiating binding agreements, under the auspices of the Arctic Council, such as the Search and Rescue agreement signed by the Arctic Ministers. Rodion Sulyandziga, Chairman of the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat states “As we move into the Swedish Chairmanship, we commit to working on improving health by establishing adaptive measures to protect our traditional food sources and to support and strengthen indigenous languages.”