Arctic Council ratifies the Tromsø Declaration

Wednesday, the eight Arctic Council Ministers ratified the Tromsø Declaration. The declaration is the guideline for the work in the Arctic Council the next two years. It is seen as an important leap to reduce the global warming.

The Arctic Council meets at foreign minister level every second year, approving projects and guidelines. Due to the increased activity and interest in the Arctic, the Tromsø meeting decided that the Arctic Council from now on will meet at political level once a year. Denmark will take over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council from Norway.

Some of the recommendations adopted by the Arctic Council:

Search and rescue: As maritime activities in the Arctic increase, there will be increasing need for Arctic search and rescue services. The Arctic Council therefore agreed to negotiate an international instrument on cooperation on this issue.

Arctic shipping guidelines: The Council also urged the International Maritime Organization to ensure adoption of updated and binding guidelines for ships operating in Arctic ice-covered waters, and to support the development of mandatory regulations on safety and environmental protection for Arctic waters as a matter of urgency.

Infrastructure safety: The Council also approved a Russian proposal to "develop safety systems for economic activity and infrastructure projects in the Arctic". Norway and Russia will take the lead in this project.

Oil and gas: The Council also revised the guidelines for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic, including procedures and minimum standards.

Task force on short-lived non-CO2 drivers: The task force on nonCO2 drivers of climate change will identify measures to reduce emissions of these substances and recommend immediate actions, recognising the role of short-lived non-CO2 drivers of climate change such as black carbon, methane and tropospheric precursors in Arctic climate change.

Ocean management: A project on best practices in ocean management has resulted in advice on principles for ecosystems-based ocean management.

The road to Copenhagen: The Arctic Council also agreed to report to the Conference of the Parties to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-15) from the project "Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic.

Ice Melting: The Arctic Council decided that it will co-operate with the task force established by the co-chairs of the ice melting conference yesterday, which will contribute a state of the art report on ice melting to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen in December 2009.

In addition the Council received final reports with recommendations from several projects on climate change, the International Polar Year, the Arctic marine environment, human health and human development, energy, contaminants and biodiversity.

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