Arctic Ocean Conference
The inaugural Arctic Ocean Conference was held in Ilulissat, Greenland May 27 — May 29, 2008. Five countries, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States, discussed key issues relating to the Arctic Ocean. The meeting was significant because of its plans for environmental regulation, maritime security, mineral exploration, polar oil oversight, and transportation. Before the conclusion of the conference, the attendees announced the Ilulissat Declaration.
The conference was the first ever held at the ministerial level that included the five regional powers. It came at the invitation of Per Stig Møller, Denmark's Foreign Minister, and Hans Enoksen, Greenlandic Premier in 2007 after several territorial disputes in the Arctic. States Møller, "We must continue to fulfill our obligations in the Arctic area until the UN decides who will have the right to the sea and the resources in the region. We must agree on the rules and what to do if climate changes make more shipping possible." "We need to send a common political signal to both our own populations and the rest of the world that the five coastal states will address the opportunities and challenges in a responsible manner."
- Canada: Gary Lunn, Canadian Minister for Nature Resources
- Denmark: Per Stig Møller; Hans Enoksen
- Norway: Jonas Gahr Støre, Norwegian Minister for Foreign Affairs
- Russia: Sergey Lavrov, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs
- United States: John D. Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State
Defending Denmark's decision to exclude certain council members, Thomas Winkler, head of the Denmark's International Law Department stated, "This meeting in Ilulissat is not a competition to the Arctic Council. The issues that we're going to discuss will be issues that is [sic] the responsibility of the five coastal states of the Arctic Ocean."
The reaction by Aqqaluk Lynge, a Greenlandic politician and former president of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, was concern that indigenous peoples of the Arctic are being "marginalised". "Inuit have their own definition of sovereignty."
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- Lawrence (Harper received criticism in his country for not sending a ministry-level delegate.)
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- "Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov Attends the Arctic Ocean Conference, Ilulissat" (Press release). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2008-06-06.