Friday, May 13, 2011
The 15-year-old Arctic Council, composed of eight States with legal claims to territory in the Arctic region, signed its first legally binding international agreement yesterday on aeronautical and maritime search and rescue. The signing occurred at a ministerial meeting in Nuuk Greeland yesterday, Thursday, May 12. The eight States that comprise the Arctic Council are: Canada, Denmark [including the Faroe Islands and Greenland], Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the US. In addition, six organisations representing Arctic indigenous peoples have status as 'permanent participants'.
Sweden took over the two-year position as chair at yesterday's meeting. Sweden's chairmanship will be assisted by the Council's decision to create a new permanent secretariat which will based in Norway. Sweden is expected to use its position as chair to push for an agreement on the prevention and coordinated response to future oil spills in the region. The Council also works on issues such as climate change, pollution monitoring and prevention, biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of resources.
More information and the new Search and Rescue Agreement may be found here.