The five countries bordering the Arctic Ocean are Canada, Denmark, Russia, the US and Norway. The conference, which was held at Ilulissat in Greenland, took as its basis the legal assessments made by the five nations at a meeting at senior official level in Oslo on October 15–16, 2008.
A strategic priority area
The High North has been identified as Norway’s most important strategic priority area in the years ahead. Other countries have also turned their attention to the High North, as the conference in Greenland made clear. At the conference, challenges relating to climate change and the melting of the polar ice cap were discussed. These changes will potentially affect vulnerable ecosystems, local communities’ living conditions, and the utilization of natural resources.
From the left, Denmark’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Per Stig Møller, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre, Greenland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Aleqa Hammond, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Gary Lunn, US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Greenland’s Premier Hans Enoksen. Photo: B. Jahnsen/Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Law of the Sea
In the declaration made by the representatives of the polar nations, it is stated that the Law of the Sea provides a comprehensive framework for national measures and cooperation, for instance with regard to environmental protection, research, establishing the outer limits of the continental shelf, and shipping.
The five Arctic nations are taking their responsibility seriously, and cooperating closely in these areas along with other affected nations and through various different organisations. The Arctic Council is playing a key role in this context.
At the conference, Mr Støre had bilateral talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, among others.
Jonas Gahr Støre and Sergej Lavrov. Photo: B. Jahnsen/Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs