UNESCO Conference: Confronting Climate Change in the Arctic

March 26, 2009 at 11:34 pm | Posted in arctic, Environment, North Pole, Problems, Wheater | Leave a comment

Recently, a conference about climate change in the Artic was held in Monaco, organized by Unesco. Here you can see the press new:

Confronting Climate Change in the Arctic

The Principality of Monaco hosted and supported a four-day meeting in early March, which was organized by UNESCO to address the concerns of the Arctic community and identify strategies for the sustainable development of the region. Experts in the social and natural sciences, ethics, education, and international affairs sought the local expertise of indigenous peoples in drafting a set of recommendations for follow-up action. The discussions engendered an integrated approach toward facing challenges in the Arctic.

“For the first time as an Alaskan Inuit I feel great hope because my words were taken seriously and weight was put on them,” said Mayor Edward Itta of the North Slope Borough in Alaska and president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC). Instead of telling Itta how the Inuit population will need to change their way of life to adapt to the changes occurring around them, as he said was typical of other meetings he had attended over the past 15 years, the experts at this meeting made a pointed effort to draw on indigenous expertise and acknowledge the value of maintaining traditional cultures. “This is the first time in many, many meetings similar to this that I actually felt useful to my people,” Itta said.

The 42 participants of the meeting concluded that a key challenge to achieving sustainable development in the Arctic will be in coordinating the interdisciplinary and international effort necessary to confront the changes that an ice-free “blue” Arctic Ocean will bring to the northern ecosystem, the culture and livelihoods of indigenous peoples, and economic activities in general.

“The Arctic and its population engaged in traditional activities should not be viewed as a system of early warning but as a system of early rescue,” added Larissa Abryutina, vice-president of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON). There are 200,000 indigenous people living in Russia—80,000 of whom are living in the Arctic, she explained.

The group concluded that the challenges of maintaining and enhancing the prosperity and cultural well-being of the people of the Arctic are often complicated by drivers of change which have non-Arctic origins. In addition, scientific, developmental, and conservation efforts are often driven by interests outside the Arctic.

“Nonetheless,” the group reported, “Arctic governments and Arctic residents welcome the growing global interest in this important region. Efforts to advance Arctic knowledge through scientific, traditional, and local means will be critically important to formulating responses to major challenges such as climate change. As work advances on all fronts, it will be important to acknowledge the people of the Arctic and their institutions as actors with valid interests and not simply treat the Arctic as a project to be acted upon.”

“Action formulated to address Arctic issues must begin from an understanding that many of the peoples of the Arctic have self-governing institutions. These peoples and their institutions have immense creativity and seek to advance the self-determination, prosperity and aspirations of their communities and their regions,” they added.

[…]

The recommendations include establishing “a working/advisory group to develop dialogue and strategy on the challenges of climate change for circumpolar indigenous peoples, including safeguarding intangible heritage and building synergies between indigenous and scientific knowledge.” Other objectives range from promoting employment opportunities through the conservation of traditional forms of activities for circumpolar indigenous peoples, to improving the access researchers have to exclusive economic zones in the Arctic.

The recommendations were the result of a consensus among the participants. Included at the meeting were indigenous peoples working with the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON), the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), and the Saami Parliament. Also attending were representatives of the Arctic Council, UNEP and UNESCO.

With participation not only from all Arctic States (Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States) but also elsewhere in Europe, and from as far away as New Zealand, South Africa, and Japan—the meeting provided testimony that what happens in the Arctic is of interest on a global scale.

[…]

You can read the whole article here.

The bad part about this is that politicians maybe listened to indigenous people, but they are not gonna change anything. Time will tell…

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