As leadership of the Arctic Council passes from Sweden to Canada May 15, experts say it is crucial that northern nations strengthen response capabilities to shipping-related accidents foreseen in newly-opened northern waters, as well as to more-common local emergencies such as floods, forest fires and rescue situations.
Top recommendations offered by the Munk-Gordon Arctic Security Program to the Canadian government as it takes the chair of the Arctic Council:
- Propose a new funding mechanism to enable Permanent Participants to fully participate in all of the working groups of the Arctic Council.
- Support the Permanent Participants in co-operation with the Arctic Council member states to jointly review the role of the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat (IPS) following the creation of the Permanent Secretariat of the Arctic Council in Tromsø, Norway.
- Make the necessary strategic investments in Canadian Arctic air and marine infrastructure to enable Canada to effectively implement the Arctic Council negotiated accord on search and rescue.
- Encourage the Arctic Council to recognize the special role for regional, state, and territorial governments in Arctic governance and particularly in the Arctic Council.
- Encourage the Arctic Council Secretariat to create plain-language summaries of its studies and activities so that the information is accessible to interested citizens.
- Propose that any candidate for Arctic Council Observer status must publicly declare its respect for the sovereignty of Arctic states and the rights of Arctic indigenous people