FAIRBANKS /United States/, May 12. /TASS/. The foreign ministers of Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Norway, Russia, the United States, Finland and Sweden adopted the final Fairbanks Declaration at Thursday’s meeting of the Arctic Council.
The document emphasizes the commitment "to maintain peace, stability, and constructive cooperation in the Arctic," promote the economic development of indigenous peoples in the region and take steps to protect the Arctic environment.
The participants in the forum pointed to serious consequences of climate change for the Arctic ecology and pledged to push ahead with efforts to assess the impact of these factors on the marine bioresources in the region. They welcomed the entry into force of the Polar Code "to ensure safe and environmentally sound shipping in the harsh Arctic marine environment" with the participation of experts of the International Maritime Organization.
The document emphasizes the need to ensure the protection of the Arctic marine environment from oil pollution incidents, reiterates the importance of oil pollution prevention. It also contains recommendations to analyze the situation paying particular attention to the issues related to plastic waste.
The section focusing on the region’s economic problem points to the need of taking into account the interests of the Arctic indigenous peoples in ensuring food security and developing health care system. To improve the telecommunications system in the region, a decision was adopted to establish a task force to compare the needs of those who live and work in the region with the available infrastructure.
The declaration notes the importance of coordinating research on climate change and calls for broader international cooperation in meteorology and oceanography.
The participants in the meeting recognized that "the Arctic Council continues to evolve, responding to new opportunities and challenges." The Senior Arctic Officials representing their countries in the Arctic Council were recommended to develop a strategic plan to be submitted for approval by the ministers in 2019.
The Arctic Council was established in 1996 to coordinate the activities of the countries in the region in matters of sustainable development of the Arctic. It does not address military issues or security issues in the region. The Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental forum that facilitates cooperation in that region, particularly in environmental protection.