30 March 201010:04

Outcome of the Second Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Ocean Coastal States, Chelsea, Canada, March 29, 2010


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The second ministerial meeting of the Arctic Ocean coastal states – Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States – took place in Chelsea, a suburb of Ottawa, on March 29. It was attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov.

The meeting discussed the situation in the area of the Arctic Ocean and in the Arctic region as a whole in light of the new opportunities and new challenges arising in connection with climate change and the development of technology. The special responsibility of the Arctic Ocean coastal states for the state of affairs in the region was noted. The parties reaffirmed their adherence to the Ilulissat Declaration, adopted at their first meeting in May 2008, including a pledge to deal with all possible issues through negotiation on the basis of the available sufficient international legal framework.

The five states reiterated their invariable support of the Arctic Council, which, along with the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, is the central regional intergovernmental organization for cooperation in the fields of environmental protection and sustainable development in the Arctic.

A detailed exchange of views took place on the concrete areas of developing multilateral cooperation in the Arctic. Agreement was reached to continue and deepen collaboration in the scientific-technical work connected with the specification of the boundaries of the continental shelves of the five states in the Arctic Ocean.

The ministers welcomed the ongoing intergovernmental negotiations under the co-chairmanship of Russia and the United States on cooperation in the field of marine and air search and rescue. They noted the importance of developing under the International Maritime Organization a mandatory code for navigation in polar waters to exclude, inter alia, emergency situations and cases of pollution of the Arctic's fragile natural environment. They also expressed support for the implementation under Arctic Council auspices of the Russian project to establish a system for man-made disaster prevention and cleanup in the Arctic. The experts of the five states will consider the likelihood for origination of additional public security threats in connection with climate change effects and with the expansion of economic development in the Arctic Ocean.

In discussing questions related to the development of Arctic natural resources, the emphasis was placed on the necessity to observe a balance between economic and ecological interests, as well as to prevent any restriction of the natural competitive advantages of the states under artificial pretexts.

The possibilities were considered for expanding scientific research cooperation in the Arctic. Participants underlined the importance of the activities carried out as part of the International Polar Year 2007-2008, and discussed prospects for organizing an International Polar Decade on this basis.

Sergey Lavrov informed the meeting about an international Arctic Forum, The Arctic Is a Territory of Dialogue, to be held in Moscow on April 22-23 under the aegis of the Russian Geographical Society, and expressed the hope for active participation in it by representatives of the five Arctic powers.

March 30, 2010

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