Minister Leona AglukkaqThe ninth Ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council starts today and it will mark the end of Canada's Chairmanship and the start of the US Chairmanship. As the first AC Ministerial Meeting, held in 1998, it will take place again in Iqualuit. The international delegations will be welcomed by Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council. In the welcome video message that was released yesterday (watch the video here), Honourable Leona Aglukkaq discusses the guiding vision of Canada's Arctic Council chairmanship, highlights some particularly important successes under Canada's Chairmanship, and welcomes delegates to the Iqaluit 2015 Ministerial meeting. As often stressed, Canada's chairmanship during the past 2 years has been clearly focused on a more direct involvement of local communities in the shaping of the agenda of the Arctic Council. Indeed,  "Canada has put Northerners at the forefront of the Arctic Council's agenda. During our chairmanship, we have taken action to improve the lives of Northerners by enhancing sustainable economic development, promoting mental wellness and charting a course to ensure that the traditional and local knowledge of Arctic communities is used more consistently in the work of the Council" as stated by Leona Aglukkaq during an interview.

A key priority and an achievement  of Canada's chairmanship has been to promote and incorporate traditional knowledge more effectively into the Council's ongoing work. This knowledge, which has helped Indigenous peoples survive for millennia, can serve in the development of better, more representative policies for the North and it is respectful of the people that have lived in the Arctic for many years.

Another achievement of the Canadian chairmanship to  the Arctic Council was the establishment of the Arctic Economic Council, a forum to foster business development in the Arctic,engage in deeper circumpolar cooperation, and provide a business perspective to the work of the Arctic Council. "Our government recognizes the full potential of the Arctic. We are committed to supporting Northern development to create jobs and secure economic opportunities for this generation and the next. Through Canada's chairmanship, our government is leading the way to promote the values and interests of Canadians on the international stage", said Rob Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Canada.

Waiting for the US to present their agenda, Honourable Leona Aglukkaq expects that the Arctic Council in the future will be focused on the question "how is the work of the Council helping the people in the Arctic?"

The 9th Ministerial Meeting will be streamed live (click here)  from Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada from 2:00-4:15 PM local time (UTC/GMT -5). The press conference from 4:45-5:15 PM will also be webcast.

(Source: Government of Canada)