30 September 2010 – Nuuk, Greenland – Following the signing of the Nuuk Declaration in July of this year, the executive of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) completed their first formal meeting here this week.
“We were given a clear message from the delegates at the General Assembly in July to move forward onmany mandates”, said ICC Chair and Greenlander, Aqqaluk Lynge, “but the most urgent they told us was to plan an Inuit leaders’ summit on resource development.”
The Nuuk Declaration is ICC’s central guide until 2014, at which time Canadian Inuit will host Inuit from Alaska, Greenland, and Russia at the next quadrennial General Assembly.
ICC Canada president and ICC Vice-Chair, Duane Smith, stated that the Inuit leaders’ summit will in all likelihood be held in Canada in February 2011. He added, “for Canadian Inuit, as for others, the key issueof the summit will be how to improve our quality of life through careful development of the resource sector while at the same time aim to agree on a set of principles that would safeguard our Inuit Arctic homeland in a sustainable and pollution-free manner”. The exact dates and place of the summit will be announced by ICC in the next few weeks.
The ICC executive council also discussed issues as diverse as the European seal import ban, promoting the Inuit language, the Arctic Council, Inuit health, contaminants, circumpolar education, and human rights. The executive council members all pledged to tackle as many of the mandates of the Nuuk Declaration as possible by the time their mandate in 2014 comes to an end.
ICC Canada vice president, Kirt Ejesiak, who attended his first ever executive council meeting as ICC council member, pledged to work on strengthening and renewal of the Inuit Circumpolar Council. He was also given the mandate of how to best integrate Inuit youth into the work of ICC. “I am honoured to serve the Inuit of Canada”, said Mr. Ejesiak,” especially in the area of ICC renewal and fostering greater youthinvolvement”.
Mr. Smith concluded by saying, “the resource sector is not our enemy but ICC will remind them that they cannot take us or our Arctic homeland for granted. ICC will continue to fight for a clean, safe, andabundant environment for decades to come”.
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