Call for Arctic Council cooperation
Deputy Ministers of the Arctic Council are negotiating a statement of common vision and need to continue working together for sustainable economic development, according to Sweden’s Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Bildt.
Speaking at Carleton Univeristy in Ottawa, Canada, Bildt says the Arctic is changing and because geography links the eight Arctic Council members, they need to work together to best adapt. Council countries include Norway, Russia, Sweden and Canada.
Bildt says there needs to be more focus on making decisions and acting on them, improving communication, and focusing on the people who live in northern regions. It is also important, he says, to make sure the Arctic Council has a strong, united voice for its members.
“The opportunities in the Arctic should be seized, but the significant challenges in the area must also be met with great determination,” says Bildt.
These challenges include creating jobs and spurring economic activity while protecting sensitive Arctic ecosystems.
Bildt says the Arctic is a changing place. New technologies, transportation methods and the ability to access more resources are spurring population growth and drawing more international attention than ever before to the far northern regions of the world.
Bildt describes Arctic issues as “a high priority for the Swedish Government,” and this comment comes after the Swedish government adopted its first Arctic strategy last year.
Sweden has held the chair of the Arctic Council since May 2011. That role will be passed to Canada next May.