INARI DECLARATION
on the occasion of the Third Ministerial Meeting of
THE ARCTIC COUNCIL

            Ministers representing the eight Arctic States, convening in Inari, Finnish Lapland, for the third ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council,

            Reaffirming the commitment of the Governments of the Arctic States to work together to promote sustainable development in the Arctic region, embracing the ecological, economical, social and cultural dimensions of this concept,

            Acknowledging the character of the Arctic Council as a unique partnership between Governments and organizations representing indigenous people and communities in the Arctic,

            Noting with pleasure the strengthened role of the Arctic Council as an international voice for the circumpolar region, a voice reflecting the intense dialogue involving national overnments, indigenous organizations, regional authorities, scientific experts, and civil society,

            Hereby:
 

ARCTIC COUNCIL AS A PARTNER IN INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION


            1. Declare that the Arctic States, in view of the intensified need for global action, will continue to collaborate closely in international forums on environmental and sustainable development matters of importance to the Arctic, and when appropriate, request the Arctic Council to deliver jointly agreed Arctic messages, and
            acknowledge the role of Arctic Indigenous Organizations in developing Arctic Council policies of global significance,

            2. Welcome closer cooperation between the Arctic Council and the European Commission as a practical and efficient way of organizing work for the Arctic Window of the EUs Northern Dimension, and
            encourage the European Union to prepare a Northern Dimension Action Plan for the years 2004 -2006 , which will give appropriate attention to the northernmost parts of the Northern Dimension region and include exchange of information and practical cooperation on northern issues among the EU, its EEA partners Norway and Iceland, the Russian Federation, Canada and the United States,
welcome the contributions to Arctic cooperation by non-arctic observer countries as well as scientific institutions, international organizations and NGOs
            note with appreciation the cooperation with financing and expertise providing partners, such as the Global Environment Facility (GEF), UNEP-Chemicals, the Nordic Environment Financing Corporation (NEFCO) and look forward to a close working relationship with IFIs, such as the World Bank Group, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB),
 
            3. Note with satisfaction the inclusion of Arctic concerns in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, especially those pertaining to eradication of poverty among indigenous communities, addressing the impact of climate change, the campaign against POPs and other pollutants, oceanic issues, as well as sustainable use of natural resources, and

            reassert the role of the Arctic Council as a regional partnership for environmental protection and sustainable development with the firm aim of contributing to the implementation of the Johannesburg decisions.
 
 

FOCUS ON HUMAN CONDITIONS IN THE ARCTIC


            4. Acknowledge the need to reinforce circumpolar cooperation to promote sustainable economic growth in the Arctic regions as the basis for prosperity and welfare in indigenous and other Arctic local communities; and to this end

            approve, as a priority project, the Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR) to be developed into a comprehensive knowledge base for the Arctic Councils Sustainable Development Program and request that traditional knowledge be fully used in this report;
            acknowledge the significance of the Survey of Living Conditions in the Arctic (SLICA) as a building block in that knowledge base;
emphasize the need to integrate gender and youth aspects in all efforts to enhance human living conditions;
recognize the crucial role of women in developing viable Arctic communities;
            emphasize the urgent need to take action against the spread of violence against women in the Arctic and encourage efforts to break the silence surrounding this delicate problem;
            encourage further cooperation on health issues, including the relationships between pollution and health, exchange of information on best practices in promoting healthier lifestyles, telemedicine as a method of overcoming long distances as well as the role of education and training in improving the health and well being of children and youth;

            5. Emphasize the significance of transportation infrastructure, including modern telecommunications, in the efforts to enhance sustainable development in the Arctic, bearing in mind the huge impact climate change may have on infrastructure in the Arctic, and

            intend to continue cooperation on enhancing Arctic aviation and explore and enhance new opportunities for marine transport, taking into consideration gradually evolving sea ice changes and subsequent needs for appropriate environmental protection,

            agree to explore ways and means to strengthen telecommunication services in the Arctic region.
 
 

 FURTHER ACTIONS AGAINST POLLUTANTS


            6. welcome with appreciation the AMAP 2002 assessment of Arctic pollution issues, and

            endorse and adopt the recommendations prepared on the basis of the status report (Annex 1),

            note with appreciation that all Arctic states and observer countries of the Arctic Council have signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and emphasize the urgency of early entry into force of the Convention,

            welcome UNEPs global assessment of mercury and express concern about increasing mercury levels in some parts of the Arctic and intensify their efforts to achieve global regulation of mercury,

            emphasize the progressive character of the Stockholm Convention, which allows the inclusion of new POPs on the basis of scientific findings,
 
            reconfirm their readiness and will to work with Russia to facilitate that countrys adherence to and implementation of international and regional regulations on POPs and heavy metals and to this end continue and develop the Action Plan to Eliminate Pollution of the Arctic,

            encourage further implementation and updating of the Arctic Regional Plan of Action and support Russia in its efforts to implement its National Plans of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment, and to this end welcome multilateral and bilateral financial support for projects derived from these Plans of Action;

            7. take note of the declining levels of anthropogenic radionuclides in the Arctic environment with the exception of technetium-99 and iodine-129 originating from reprocessing plants,

            welcome the decision by the G8 to set up a fund to make nuclear materials secure in the Russian Federation and the establishment of the Support Fund of the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership ( NDEP) and call for a conclusion of the MNEPR agreement (Multilateral Nuclear Environment Programme in the Russian Federation ) as a precondition for initiating NDEP nuclear related operations.
            intend to continue cooperation with Russia to improve the safety and security of nuclear power installations and nuclear waste sites,
encourage the United Kingdom to reduce releases from the Sellafield reprocessing plant,
 
 

BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF NATURAL RESOURCES


            8. welcome with appreciation the report Arctic Flora and Fauna, Status and Conservation, and

            endorse and adopt the recommendations on biodiversity conservation as a strategy for future biodiversity conservation work of the Arctic Council ( Annex 2),

            emphasize the significance of circumpolar cooperation aimed at promoting employment and sustainable sources of livelihood, such us sustainable management and use of forests, sustainable reindeer herding and sustainable tourism as well as sustainable use of renewable marine resources,

            take note of recommendations generated by projects on timberline forests and sustainable reindeer herding and encourage further dialogue among stakeholders on this basis

            recognize the huge potential for exploitation of oil, gas, metals and minerals in many Arctic regions and emphasize the importance of responsible management in the development of these resources, including emergency prevention, with the aim of ensuring sustainability in the development of local communities and safeguarding the fragile and often pristine Arctic environment,

            acknowledge the need to pay particular attention to the effects of development and the use of natural resources on the traditional sources of livelihood of indigenous communities,

            recognize the significance of strategic assessment of the environmental and social impacts of undertakings to develop, exploit and transport hydrocarbons and other natural resources, based on an ecological approach and in line with the precautionary principle, taking into consideration the specific conditions in the Arctic.
 
 

CLIMATE CHANGE


                9. note with appreciation the successful start-up of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) and the good progress in evaluating and synthesizing knowledge on climate variability and change and increased ultraviolet radiation,
note the methodology of incorporating indigenous knowledge and perspectives,
            welcome the international recognition of this ground-breaking project at the Johannesburg World Summit,
emphasize the importance of dialogue on climate change consequences between indigenous and other local communities, regional administrations, the business community, scientific experts and national governments with the aim of enhancing early capacity building to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change,
            recognize the increasing importance of prevention of and response to emergencies originating in climate variability and change,
intend to reinforce the dialogue between the Arctic states on climate policy recommendations that help deal with vulnerability and adaptability in the Arctic and contribute to a common understanding on how to deal with global warming, Kyoto and other potential international instruments.
 
 

CAPACITY BUILDING


            10. recognize capacity building as an important goal of circumpolar cooperation among governments, indigenous organizations and regional actors,
            urge all subsidiary bodies of the Arctic Council to take capacity building into account in all their activities,
recognize the need to support the capacity building of Permanent Participants,
            recognize the usefulness of information and communications technology in circumpolar capacity building efforts,
            welcome the good progress of the University of the Arctic (UArctic) and encourage appropriate authorities in the Arctic states to increase their efforts to secure financing of the core activities of the UArctic.
 
 

CALL FOR EFFICIENCY, PRIORITIZATION AND INTERACTION


            11. endorse the recommendations in the Senior Arctic Officials report on the review of the working structures of the Arctic Council ( Annex 3)

            emphasize the importance of interaction with the sub-regions, assisted by the Northern Forum,

            take note of the recommendations issued by the 5th Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians and welcome continuous cooperation with and support from the Standing Committee

            welcome the enhanced cooperation with regional bodies, such as the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) and the Council of Baltic Sea States ( CBSS) and call for continuous coordination to enhance synergies and avoid duplication of work,

            grant the observer status of the Arctic Council for the period of time until the 4th Ministerial Meeting:
 

            12. Welcome with appreciation the report of the Senior Arctic Officials, note with appreciation the progress made by subsidiary bodies and adopt the recommendations as included in the report, explicitly the working mandates for the Working Groups and other subsidiary bodies ( Annex 4),

            welcome with appreciation the offer of Canada to host SDWG and EPPR, of Norway to continue hosting AMAP, of Iceland to continue hosting CAFF and PAME, of the USA to host ACAP and continue hosting ACIA and of Denmark to continue hosting IPS, and invite all partners to assist the hosts in financing the respective secretariats.

            14. Welcome and accept with appreciation the offer of Iceland to chair the Arctic Council during the period 2002 2004 and host the 4th Ministerial Meeting in 2004.