The Arctic States sign an agreement on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response
An agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response was signed, Wednesday 15 May, at the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Kiruna, Sweden. The chairmanship of the Arctic Council has now passed between all the Arctic Council member states and on that occasion a joint statement on “Vision for the Arctic” was issued, highlighting the stepping stones for future cooperation within the Council and stressing the importance of Arctic cooperation.
At the Meeting six non-Arctic states were granted observer status to the Council: China, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore and South-Korea. The Council received the application of the EU for observer status affirmatively, but defers a final decision on implementation until a solution has been reach on exceptions for seal products from indigenous hunting.
Working Groups and Task Forces presented the outcome of their work during the Swedish chairmanship regarding, for example, ocean acidification, biodiversity and transportation infrastructure in the Arctic region.
The Icelandic Statement welcomed the achievement of the Arctic Council since its establishment with the Ottawa Declaration in 1996. The Council has served to strengthen trust and mutual understanding between Arctic neighbors on the political platform as well as among the people. Scientific cooperation has been promoted and is ever growing as is the policy-shaping discussion on Arctic issues. The highlights of this successful Arctic cooperation being the two legally binding agreements developed and signed by the Arctic nations: on Search and Rescue (signed at the Ministerial Meeting in Nuuk, 2011) and the new agreement on Marine Oil Pollution.
The founding of the Arctic Council's standing Secretariat in Tromsø was formally approved at the Ministerial Meeting. The Secretariat's first Director is Mr. Magnús Jóhannesson, former Secretary General of the Icelandic Ministry for the Environment.
The Icelandic delegation at the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Kiruna was headed by Mr. Hermann Örn Ingólfsson, Director General of the Directorate for International and Security Affairs of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Vision for the Arctic
The Arctic Council Web page