November 25, 2015 – Ottawa, Ontario – The Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) will be sending a delegation headed by Okalik Eegeesiak, Chair of ICC to advocate on behalf of Circumpolar Inuit at the upcoming United Nations climate change negotiations in Paris, France, November 30-December 11, 2015. Inuit delegates will join with indigenous peoples from around the world to bring our unique stories of climate change to the Paris climate talks.

Okalik Eegeesiak stated, “The health and well-being of Inuit have always been tied to the environment. Inuit are deeply concerned about the impacts of climate change on their cultural, social and economic health.” Eegeesiak added, “Inuitwill be in Paris to remind the world that the Arctic is the barometer of the health of the planet. Any and all measures for mitigation and adaptation must correspond to acknowledge, recognize and implement human rights in national and international agreements. The Arctic Peoples delegation invite world leaders and delegates to Arctic Day on December 8th to celebrate and share our culture with Inuit and Saami Peoples.”

The ICC delegation to Paris will work closely with other Arctic national delegates including from the United States of America, the Kingdom of Denmark, Greenland, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. ICC Canada Vice President, Herb Nakimayak will participate in the climate change meetings as a member of the official Canadian Delegation. Herb Nakimayak stated, “ the invitation by Minister McKenna to bring circumpolar Inuit issues on climate change to this important meeting signals that the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of the Arctic on climate issues and a change in our relationship with the government. Inuit intend to support Canada in achieving an effective agreement inParis”.

Inuit will urge the international community and governments in particular, at United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) 21, to take enhanced measures to stabilize greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations below ~450 parts per million by volume, in order to ensure that increases in global temperatures will remain below 1.5°C, support Inuit adaptation and mitigation efforts, utilize Inuit knowledge in evidence based decision making, and establish a global financing mechanism to support indigenous peoples including Inuit to monitor and combat climate change. Okalik Eegeesiak noted, “Inuit are dependent on the land and sea. As climate change impacts the Arctic, Inuit rights to hunt and pursue our culture are impacted.”

The ICC delegation will be made up of Inuit leaders and youth representatives from three of the four Inuit regions: Maatali Okalik (President, National Inuit Youth Council, youth representative), Cathy Towtongie (President, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated), Reginald Joule (Former Mayor of Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska), Lene Kielsen Holm (ICC Greenland) , and Aili Liimakka Laue (ICC Greenland – Executive Board Member).

ICC has observer status at the COP. Inuit delegates, together with delegates from the Saami Council, will represent the Arctic Region to the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC), a global caucus that represents the interests of Indigenous peoples around the world at the UNFCCC. To view the position paper that will be forwarded by ICC in Paris see www.inuitcircumpolar.com

IIPFCC website: http://iipfcc.squarespace.com/

For more information:
Carole Simon, ICC Canada csimon@inuitcircumpolar.com
Ph: 613-563-2642 or Cell: 613-293-9728