Iqaluit, Nunavut (February 9, 2017) – Canada and Inuit have an important and recognized leadership role in the future of the circumpolar Arctic. Recent global events and the emergence of more nationalistic sentiments has made the position of the Arctic and its place in international affairs even more important. A new Arctic Policy with a foreign component is needed to consider the vision for the Arctic put forward under the former Government in 2009 and respond to emerging national issues of community wellness, food security, shipping, commercial fisheries, changing economic conditions and commodity prices, tourism, and climate change. All issues that are vitally important to Inuit in Canada but also have significant international context. Inuit have much to offer to ensure a prosperous, secure and sustainable Arctic for Inuit and all Canadians.
The Inuit Circumpolar Council represents 160,000 Inuit who live in 150 communities in Canada, Alaska/USA, Greenland and Chukotka/Russia – four countries – one voice. ICC holds Consultative Status within the United Nations and is a Permanent Participant to the Arctic Council. ICC was created in 1977 and this year we will celebrate 40 years of service in advancing the Arctic and Inuit issues globally. During this time ICC has become one of the most respected and recognized international Indigenous Organizations and a trusted and compelling voice for Inuit and Canada internationally in Arctic global issues.
We have stood alone and beside Canada to negotiate many international environmental Conventions, treaties and agreements. For over 20 years, ICC worked to negotiate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). As a founding Permanent Participant to the Arctic Council, ICC brings a thoughtful and pragmatic approach to the Council and tireless energy to the working groups. The Arctic Council remains the most important venue for Inuit and for Canada in ensuring Inuit voices are heard and that Arctic issues and policy decisions are evidenced based and built on both Indigenous and scientific knowledge.
Together Inuit and Canada are stronger through respectful and meaningful engagement. With this, ICC is uniquely positioned to work with Canada on shared international Arctic mandates that are in the best interest of Inuit, Canada and the Arctic.
Together we can do more. As the Arctic and Inuit Nunaat continues to become more accessible, it is even more crucial now for Canada and ICC to work more collaboratively.