Arctic Council should be cautious about new observer hopefuls: Inuit org president

See on Scoop.itInuit Nunangat Stories

Terry Audla, right, the president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, at a Carleton University-led panel discussion in Ottawa Jan. 30 on the future role of the Arctic Council. On the cusp of Canada assuming the helm of the council in May, panelists — including the ambassadors of Norway and Sweden — discussed issues such as resource development, climate change and giving observer status on the council to players such as China and the European Union. (PHOTO BY LISA GREGOIRE) Many are knocking but few should enter, says Terry Audla, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. Speaking to an audience of 120 or so bureaucrats, political aides, consultants, scientists, students and diplomats during a panel discussion in Ottawa Jan. 30, Audla said the Arctic Council should be cautious about opening up observer status to applicants such as China and the European Union who haven’t always respected indigenous rights, both abroad and at home. “It’s a dilemma,” said Audla, considering the Inuit tradition of dialogue and negotiation. But the council runs the risk of seeing its agenda being diluted or sidetracked by special interests. “Permanent observer status in the Arctic Council is crucial, but we think with China and the EU, we need to look at them closely.”

Northern_Clips‘s insight:

"…The Arctic Council currently has six “observers,” including France and Germany, who member states have decided can contribute to their work. Another 14 states and organizations have applied for observer status including the European Union, South Korea, China, India, Japan, Greenpeace and the Association of Oil and Gas Producers. A decision on who gets in will be made at a meeting in May in Stockholm just before Sweden relinquishes the chairmanship to Canada. The incoming chair, Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, said in October 2012 that applicants must “respect and support indigenous peoples in the Arctic region.” …"

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