Arctic Yearbook 2012
Finger-Stich and Finger
institutions or agencies associated with the implementation of Agenda 21 must apply equally to all
major groups” (UNESA, EarthSummit, Agenda 21, art. 23.3.). After the Rio conference, indigenous
peoples organizations’ involvement in international environmental processes increased, in particular
on forest policies (the Intergovernmental Panel - and then Forum – on Forests, 1995-2000). Arctic
indigenous peoples’ involvement helped raise awareness on deforestation and forest degradation, not
only for tropical forests, but also for the tundra or boreal forests, in particular in Canada and Russia.
Indigenous peoples’ participation focused, at that time, mostly on the CBD, in particular Article 8(j)
on knowledge, innovation and traditional practices of indigenous and local communities.
Taking “our common future” back home, the process of constructing the Arctic Council continued
as the ministers of the eight Arctic States met in Nuuk, Greenland in 1993, and expanded the
mission of the AEPS to deal with “sustainable development”. It would take three more years before
the Ottawa Declaration was signed in 1996, which formally established the Arctic Council, created
the Working Group on Sustainable Development and Utilization (SDWG) and granted Permanent
Participant status to indigenous peoples’
The Declaration in its first article (a)
mandates the Arctic Council to: “[p]rovide a means for promoting cooperation, coordination and
interaction among the Arctic States with the involvement of the Arctic indigenous communities and
other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues in particular sustainable development and
environmental protection in the Arctic”. When it defines what these “common Arctic issues” are, the
declaration states explicitly, in a footnote to this same article quoted above, that “the Arctic Council
should not deal with matters related to military security” (Arctic Council, 1996; Berkman, 2012).
Environmental Issues of the Early 21
Century: Climate Change and Peak Oil
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its third assessment report published in
2001, mobilized considerable scientific and political attention on the effects of global warming on
Arctic sea and land ice (IPCC, 2001: 18.104.22.168.). It also modeled sea level rise, which was said to be
sensibly higher for the Arctic Ocean than for other oceans (3 mm./yr., instead of 2mm).
positive feedback mechanisms, such as induced albedo effect, melting permafrost with increasing
carbon and methane emissions, and stratospheric ozone depletion were also highlighted (IPCC,
2001: 22.214.171.124; UNEP & GRID, 2007).
Further building on the 3
IPCC Report’s findings, in which scientists involved in the Arctic had
taken part, the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) presented the