Støre pleased with Tromsø Declaration

US deputy state secretary James Steinberg ratifies the Tromsø Declaration. Photo: Jesper Hansen /

On April 29 the eight Arctic Council Ministers ratified the Tromsø Declaration. The declaration is the guideline for the work in the Arctic Council the next two years.  

The Arctic Council met at ministerial level in Tromsø, Norway, chaired by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. The Council was established in 1996, and comprises Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States of America, in addition to indigenous representatives.

Støre was very satisfied with the new ratication and told the press that in the future politicians and scientist will talk about the “Tromsø-papers” as an important leap to reduce the global warming.

But the Tromsø Declaration is more than that, said Mr. Støre. “As human activity in the Arctic increases, we need new policies. I am therefore delighted that the Arctic Council today has agreed to focus on search and rescue in the Arctic, to recommend safety standards for maritime transport and oil and gas production in the Arctic, and to establish a task force to limit emissions of non CO2 drivers of climate change, such as black carbon and methane, recognising their importance in Arctic climate change”.

“Climate change and increased access to Arctic waters call for closer Arctic cooperation. I am pleased that the Arctic Council today has identified a number of measures to combat climate change and protect the Arctic environment,” said Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. 

Støre said he was deeply grateful to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Al Gore for reporting to the Arctic Council from yesterday’s conference on melting ice. “His intervention and the presentations by leading scientists yesterday confirm that the ice is melting even faster than previously imagined, both in the Arctic and in other regions of the world. This makes it all the more urgent that we address the issue of climate change, and we will convey our sense of urgency to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009,” said Støre.

The Arctic Council meets at foreign minister level every second year, approving projects and guidelines. Due to the increased activity and interest in the Arctic, the Tromsø meeting decided that the Arctic Council from now on will meet at political level once a year. Denmark will take over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council from Norway. “Denmark will have our full support in further enhancing the importance of the Arctic Council, being the only circumpolar organization there is,” concluded the Norwegian Foreign Minister.

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