Arctic Council and Arctic cooperation was in focus during an Arctic governance session this morning under the international theme at Arendalsuka 2023. Morten Høglund, Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials together with representatives of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, the Saami Parliament of Norway, and other panelist including Indigenous youth shared their perspectives. Among other topics, they discussed search and rescue in the Arctic, wildland fires, mental health and racism (hate speech), and other challenges.
Panelists highlighted that strengthening Indigenous institutions is key to engaging Indigenous Peoples in Arctic governance and decision-making. “Even though the Arctic Council went on pause, we cannot afford to pause our Arctic cooperation.”, summarized the panel moderator Brittany Janis at Arctic Initiative at Harvard Belfer Center Kennedy School.
Indigenous Youth have contributed to several panels during the international theme of Arendalsuka - implementing skills they learned during the Indigenous Youth Leadership Course on Resilience, Land degradation, and Permafrost Thaw, which successfully was held during the Arendalsuka. The leadership course educates and equips young Indigenous leaders with the knowledge, skills, and mindset necessary to navigate the challenges of the future such as those in regards to climate and environmental change in the Arctic.
During the week, the students from Alaska, Canada, Norway, Mongolia, and Sweden have learned effective tools to communicate their concerns to decision-makers. They were trained in delivering their messages to the decision-makers, in participatory mapping, and in developing indicators of climate change and resilience. The students also learned about modern technologies that could assist in addressing land degradation challenges in the Arctic. They further had a chance to learn from each other and from their respective communities by sharing knowledge and experiences.
“This is one of the most effective Indigenous youth training programs that I have ever seen”, emphasized Herbert Nakimayak, Vice President International, Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada.