(BarentsObserver, 13 May 2011) -- Denmark handed over its chairmanship role in the Arctic Council to Sweden on Thursday during the biennial ministerial meeting in Nuuk, Greenland. The council's member states also signed a legally binding treaty to cooperate in search and rescue efforts in the event of a disaster in the Arctic. The treaty calls for council members to demonstrate and live up to their capacity to cooperate in search and rescue efforts after a plane crash, an oil spill, a ship sinking or other disaster. Foreign affairs ministers from Norway, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Denmark as well as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former health minister of Canada Leona Agglukkaq signed the treaty at a ministerial meeting in Nuuk, Greenland on Thursday. Member nations also pledged to develop international standards for oil spill prevention and response preparedness to be modeled after the search and rescue treaty. The intergovernmental forum is expecting increased shipping traffic and offshore oil and gas activity in the region as the extent of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean diminishes, offering easier navigation routes. Sweden will chair the Arctic Council until 2013.
Posted 17 May 2011; 2:49:15 PM. Permalink
(Sweden Ministry for Trade press release, 17 May 2011) -- The Swedish Riksdag, with the Speaker acting as host, has announced that the Fifth Parliamentary Barents Conference will be held in Luleå on 19-20 May. Environmentally sustainable economic growth, industry and trade, and also infrastructure, are on the agenda. About one hundred parliamentarians from Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden will attend the conference. Minister for Trade Ewa Björling will give the opening address as representative of the Swedish Chairmanship of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council. The event is intended for members of national parliaments and representatives of counties and regions within the Barents region, as well as indigenous peoples' organisations and relevant organisations connected to the parliamentarians and governments. Sweden is organising the conference in its capacity as Chair of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council in 2009-2011. The previous conference - the Fourth Parliamentary Barents Conference - was held in Syktyvkar, Russia, in 2009 by the Russian State Duma.
Posted 17 May 2011; 2:40:52 PM. Permalink