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The Right to Hunt Sustainably

Article 13 of the Kuujjuaq Declaration had ICC calling upon various levels of governments to recognize the inherent rights of Inuit to hunt sustainably and to undertake subsistence activities. Article 15 went a step further and encouraged ICC to undertake a comprehensive study on how best to address the global forces that aim to erode Inuit rights in this regard.

While a comprehensive study was not undertaken, ICC took this mandate to heart over the past four years. In fact, supporting the hunting, fishing, co‑management and subsistence activities of Inuit is regarded highly in virtually all activities of ICC. This includes interventions in the Arctic Council, participation in UN meetings including meetings in Nairobi of UNEP’s Governing Council and presentations at the UN Permanent Forum. ICC has continued to speak against the animal rights lobby to halt seal harvesting in eastern Canada. However, it has not yet developed an overall strategic plan or approach to these issues.

In 2002 2006, ICC worked on this issue with other international bodies such as the World Summit on Sustainable Development, where a case study on marine mammal harvesting was presented. ICC worked with IUCN the World Conservation Union on animal rights matters. ICC has had membership in the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and was again active in their annual meetings over the past four years. ICC is also an observer in the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO) and contributed to that organization as well. ICC had discussions with the World Wide Fund for Nature (Arctic Programme), and undertook dialogue with various European states whose citizens sometimes find sympathy with the animal welfare organizations on these matters, including the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. ICCs multi-year capacity building programme in Russia (INRIPP) had a strong co-management component that dealt with these issues as well.

It should be noted that one the key organizations within which ICC undertakes much of its work, the Arctic Council, shies away from discussing many of these matters even within the context of its working group on sustainable development. As such, ICC continues to find other avenues to defend the rights of Inuit to hunt sustainably.