Ilulissat Declaration

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The Ilulissat Declaration was announced on May 28, 2008 by the five coastal states of the Arctic Ocean (United States, Russia, Canada, Norway and Denmark), meeting at the political level during the Arctic Ocean Conference in Ilulissat, Greenland to discuss the Arctic ocean, climate change, the protection of the marine environment, maritime safety, and division of emergency responsibilities if new shipping routes are opened.[1]

One of the chief goals written into the declaration was blockage of any "new comprehensive international legal regime to govern the Arctic Ocean". An additional pledge for "the orderly settlement of any possible overlapping claims," was expected as the conference invitation originated in 2007 as a consequence of several jurisdictional disputes, including Hans Island and Arktika 2007.[2]
Because the objective of the meeting was to discuss legal regimes and jurisdictional issues in the Arctic Ocean, only the five coastal states of that ocean were invited. The Arctic Council, being the only circumpolar Arctic international forum, which also includes the three Arctic states that do not border the Arctic Ocean (Sweden, Finland and Iceland) was deliberately not used as a forum. These three states are therefore not a party to the Ilulissat Declaration. Likewise, the Arctic indigenous peoples, who have a prominent position within the Arctic Council, were not involved in the Ilulissat negotiations.

The conference, held May 27 to May 29, 2008, was hosted by Per Stig Møller, Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Hans Enoksen, Greenlandic Prime Minister.[3] The key ministerial level attendees included Sergey Lavrov, Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jonas Gahr Støre, Norwegian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gary Lunn, Canadian Minister for Natural Resources, and John Negroponte, American Deputy Secretary of State.

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