During this week 27th of April - 1st of May, Tromsø in Northern Norway will be the capital of the Arctic as the city is the venue for The Arctic Councils biennial Ministerial Meeting. Besides this event the Norwegian minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jonas Gahr Støre, together with former US Vice-president, Mr. Al Gore, have called several of the worlds foreign ministers to a conference about the global warming. The conference entitled "Melting Ice: Regional Dramas, Global Wake-Up Call" takes place.
The two meetings will gather around 400 of the worlds leading experts and politicians on Arctic matters. In addition round 80 journalists and photographers have announced their participation.
At the end of the ministerial meeting the Chairmanship will be handed over to the Danish delegation. The new chair of the Arctic Council will be MFA Per Stig Møller
Parts of the "Melting Ice" Conference are broadcasted live at the Arctic Portal Webcast, along with parts of the Arctic Council´s Ministerial Meeting. All videos presented will be archived at the Webcast Archive.
About the Arctic Council
Starting in the late 1980s, international cooperation in the Arctic has increased to the extent that a new regional identity is emerging, with numerous political initiatives and new fora.
The so-called Murmansk Speech by President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union is often regarded as the initiating event for current regional cooperation in the Arctic. It had still the Soviet rhetoric on peace but reflected more the processes of glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union through its six proposals. The first two were about establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in northern Europe and reducing military activities. The others discussed confidence-building measures in northern seas, civilian cooperation in developing natural resources, coordination of scientific research, cooperation in environmental protection, and opening the Northern Sea Route to foreign ships.
SAO Meeting, Kautokeino, Norway, November 19. - 20. 2008
Intergovernmental Arctic cooperation officially started in 1989 with the Rovaniemi process in the wake of Mikhail Gorbachev's Murmansk speech. At the first ministerial meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland, of the eight Arctic states, which also included three northern indigenous peoples organizations, the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS) was signed in June 1991. The initial focus on environmental protection gradually expanded to related fields, notably sustainable development. In 1996, the Arctic states replaced the AEPS with the Arctic Council as a high-level intergovernmental forum for Arctic international cooperation that would include as Permanent Participants a certain number of transnational northern indigenous peoples organisations. Therefore the Arctic Council was established as a high level intergovernmental forum to provide a means for promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States. The Arctic Council deals with common Arctic issues, with the involvement of the Arctic Indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants. These issues are, in particular, sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.
For further information, please visit the Arctic Council homepage and Melting Ice: Regional Dramas, Global Wake-Up Call Conference homepage.