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Nuuk Declaration 2010

On 28 June – 2 July 2010 in Nuuk, Greenland, Inuit of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka, on the occasion of the 11th General Assembly and the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), and in the context of the Assembly theme,

Inoqatigiinneq -- Sharing Life

Remembering that the respectful sharing of resources, culture, and life itself withothers is a fundamental principle of being Inuit, and is the fabric that holds us together as one people across four countries;

Recalling the first Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) in Alaska in 1977 in which Eben Hopson, Sr. invited Inuit from across the Arctic to share regional experiences, celebrate the unity of Inuit, and to commit to collective international action;

Remembering that the interim ICC executive committee members committed at that time to formulating the vision and drafting the ICC charter and by-laws, with the aim of formally adopting them, and Looking Back thirty years at the formal inauguration of ICC, which happened here in Nuuk in 1980;

Looking Forward to thirty more years of successful collaboration based upon the original guidance of Inuit gathered in previous Assemblies, and upon the lessons learned, experiences shared, and knowledge gained over the last three decades;

Understanding the unique status and reputation of ICC as an Indigenous Peoples' Organization (IPO) at home and abroad;

Recognizing the important contributions made by ICC’s outgoing Chair and members of its Executive Council since the tenth General Assembly;

Giving Full Support to the newly-elected ICC Chair and Executive Council and Thanking them for their commitment to promote Inuit as one people internationally and promising to take on their roles diligently;

Knowing the importance of engaging Inuit children and youth directly in the work of ICC, as they are the key to a sustainable future;

Celebrating the historic adoption by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which, among other things, affirms that all peoples contribute to the diversity and richness of civilizations and cultures, that indigenous peoples should be free from discrimination, have rights to self-determination, and are equal to all other peoples, while recognizing their right to be different and to be respected as such;

Recognizing that universal human rights instruments including the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide, including those of Inuit are still not fully acknowledged nor implemented and Inuit must continue to work alongside others to achieve the goal of full recognition of Inuit rights;

Noting the recent increased developments at the international level affecting Inuit, and the rapid and exponential growth of interest and external activity in the Arctic by powerful states, industry, researchers, and special interests over the past four years will undoubtedly continue and will require considerable attention and vigilance from ICC into the next four years;

Recognizing the disaster unfolding from off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and further recognizing the fragility of the Arctic environment and how any significant oil spill would be catastrophic for Inuit and finally that resource extraction industries are increasingly aiming to exploit offshore and onshore resource development;

Observing Arctic change, including the melting of ice in the Inuit homeland, with significant concern and measured fear and Knowing that Inuit have a history of finding resources within their communities and elsewhere to adapt and meet challenges, created by change, successfully;

Observing that influential states, industry, and agencies are increasingly interested in the utilization of the Arctic marine environment and its associated resources;

Recognizing that Inuit, as a marine indigenous people living in vast areas of the Arctic, including Arctic coasts, have rights associated with managing the Arctic marine environment for present and future generations, with marine stewardship responsibilities for all humankind;

Recalling the launch of the Circumpolar Inuit Declaration on Sovereignty in the Arctic in April 2009, which Inuit leaders began to develop at the Inuit Leaders’ Summit held in Kuujjuaq in October 2008, and which in a spirit of collaboration and respect describes how the sovereign rights of Inuit are to be implemented;

Reminding ourselves that Inuit have generated much success by working collaboratively with others, including those with knowledge systems different from ours, and by contributing to the work of international and Arctic-wide research, as well as bodies such as the United Nations and the Arctic Council, while at the same time remaining true to our own knowledge systems and promoting our rights;

Noting that in spite of significantly increased activity in the Arctic, for Inuit there remains a woeful lack of north-to-north communications infrastructure and transportation connections between Inuit communities;

Mindful that challenges identified by Inuit who gathered together in the early ICC General Assemblies continue to have political, economic, environmental, social, and cultural dimensions and that ICC was mandated to put Inuit issues, concerns, and rights at the centre of Arctic policy and decision making;

Thanking the citizens of Nuuk and of all Greenland for being kind and gracious hosts of this 11th ICC General Assembly;


  1. 1. Welcome and Adopt the ICC Report on Activities 2006 – 2010;

  2. 2. Recognize  the value of reports and presentations made, and discussions held, by Inuit at this 11th  ICC General Assembly;

  3. 3. Encourage  all Inuit, in the spirit of the theme of the 11th  ICC General Assembly, to share their life’s experiences and Inuit knowledge with each other and with those who live beyond the circumpolar region;

  4. 4. Instruct  ICC to continue to use the Arctic Council as a key arena to further the interests of Inuit and, while working cooperatively with others in the Council, be vigilant about maintaining and strengthening the unique role of ICC as a permanent participant in the Arctic Council;

  5. 5. Instruct ICC to call upon members and permanent participants of the Arctic Council to restate their individual and collective commitment to the Arctic Council as the central forum for international cooperation in the Arctic; and that Arctic states include Inuit in all bi-lateral and multi-lateral meetings of importance to Inuit, and to do so with the same direct and meaningful manner as at the Arctic Council;

  6. 6. Direct  the new executive council to analyze the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples  in the context of Inuit and their current respective situations, and to bring forward these findings to the international, national, regional, and local communities;

  7. 7. Encourage  all Inuit to learn about the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and how it applies to them and their situation;

  8. 8. Direct  ICC to strongly encourage all Arctic states to fully implement the provisions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;

  9. 9. Direct ICC to strongly encourage all Arctic states to fully implement the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; 

  10.   10. Mandate ICC to meaningfully engage children, youth and elders in the work of ICC;

  11. 11. Mandate  ICC, in the context of the Circumpolar Inuit Declaration on Sovereignty in the Arctic, to work diligently on promoting the interests, rights, and concerns of Inuit with respect to governance across the circumpolar region, and Ask ICC to insist that Arctic governments treat the Inuit homeland as an integral whole as it pertains to policies and programs targeting the Arctic;

  12. 12. Instruct  ICC to engage in formal discussions on addressing key issues raised in the Circumpolar Inuit  Declaration on Sovereignty in the Arctic with Russia, USA, Canada, and Denmark;

  13. 13. Encourage  the ICC leadership to engage in discussions with UN member states that are interested in Arctic matters in order to educate them of our rights and interests and to engage in partnerships where merited;

  14. 14. Strongly encourage ICC to increasingly initiate consultations with regional state bodies and unions such as the European Union, the Organization of American States, and the G-20 countries so that they more fully take into account our rights and interests in their policy-making and activities;

  15. 15. Instruct  ICC to speak out forcefully on Inuit rights to manage living resources and proactively inform others of our way of life and of our methods of practicing sustainable utilization and development;

  16. 16. Support  Inuit hunters in their struggle to adapt to the new Arctic, and Ask  ICC to fight unethical and unfair trade restrictions placed on our own products including the unjust European Union action to ban seal and other marine mammal products;

  17. 17. Urge  ICC to enter into discussions with Inuit hunters through national Inuit organizations and, where appropriate, through their regional-level entities, on developing international sustainability covenants that both strengthen and promote the rights of Inuit to use resources in a wise and prudent manner;

  18. 18. Instruct  ICC to promote the redefinition of hunting activities and use of renewable resources by Inuit as a profession within all international human rights fora;

  19. 19. Urge members of the ICC executive council to keep environmental stewardship of the Inuit homeland amongst their key priorities through 2010 – 2014 and especially with the goal of promoting a healthy and abundant source of renewable resources for Inuit of tomorrow;

  20. 20. Instruct ICC, as a matter of urgency, to plan and facilitate an Inuit leaders’ summit on resource development with the aim of developing a common circumpolar Inuit position on environmental, economic, social and cultural assessment processes and, as a first order of business, raise funds for such a summit;

  21. 21. Encourage ICC to contribute to activities that incorporate Inuit knowledge and western science into action and decision-making in the Arctic, such as the 2012 International Polar Year conference, From Knowledge to Action, and others;

  22. 22. Mandate  ICC to address the growing opportunity for Inuit to meaningfully engage in Arctic science and research, and at the same time play a role in promoting ethical and responsible research practices that stress the importance of bringing knowledge back to Inuit communities;

  23. 23. Recognize  the efforts by ICC Greenland to establish an Inuit Center for International Understanding that will focus on human rights, in particular the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as fostering linkages to universities and centers of learning at home and abroad;

  24. 24. Recognize the efforts of Canadian Inuit having established the Inuit Knowledge Centre to support and encourage Inuit leadership of research being done in Inuit homelands from all sources in collaboration with all Canadian Inuit regions;

  25. 25. Mandate  ICC to work with circumpolar and national partners towards the development of a strategy to implement the proper integration of community-based monitoring and research (CBM/R) into research activities in the Arctic;

  26. 26. Recognize  that the Inuit language is a critical component of Inuit identity that must be promoted and Mandate  ICC to strongly advocate for the implementation of the recommendations emanating from the Arctic Indigenous Languages Symposium held in 2008;

  27. 27. Mandate  ICC to promote educational exchanges, sharing of best educational practices, and host a summit of experts and practitioners across the circumpolar Arctic to help each other develop and improve upon culturally-appropriate curriculum, and to develop further recommendations;

  28. 28. Mandate  ICC to work with Inuit media companies and organizations to promote the sharing of information, the development of pan-Arctic and Inuit communications initiatives, and the existing and developing Inuit-specific television, radio, social media and Internet projects that promote increasing Inuit to Inuit communication and interaction;

  29. 29. Mandate  ICC to continuously communicate its work and results of its activities to Inuit through media and other communications channels;

  30. 30. Direct ICC to use the findings, and build upon the work, of past Inuit land use and occupancy studies and similar research to effectively and proactively respond to the increasing use by others of Inuit sea ice, waters, and coastal zones;

  31. 31. Mandate  the ICC executive council to begin an ICC archival initiative that will gather together important documents and records from each of the four ICC offices and other bodies and institutions, making them available to Inuit and other scholars in a responsible, professional, and state of the art fashion, thereby assisting in learning about, and highlighting achievements of, ICC and others dedicated to transnational Inuit unity and cooperative Inuit policy-making;

  32. 32. Instruct  ICC to develop a clearinghouse that will help record and protect traditional knowledge of Inuit and facilitate information exchange between Inuit of the circumpolar region;

  33. 33. Mandate  the ICC executive council to be actively involved in promoting the implementation of the recommendations of the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA), especially those provisions that aim to protect Inuit seas and coastal zones;

  34. 34. Instruct ICC to express its resolve that nation states recognize Inuit rights and responsibilities in relation to Inuit waters, seas and passages, that Inuit have used from time immemorial;

  35. 35. Recognize  that Inuit well being is paramount, and Instructs ICC, to pursue a set of the highest environmental standards and controls that will prevent any type of damage on Inuit waters.

  36. 36. Direct ICC to advance Inuit health and well-being by implementing the 2010-2014 Circumpolar Inuit Health Strategy by promoting strategic initiatives throughout the Inuit world focusing on the well-being of Inuit families and other Inuit health priorities in partnership with national, circumpolar, and international partners;

  37. 37. Instruct  ICC to increase its knowledge of Inuit health and well-being issues, and to promote these issues through relevant bodies such as the Arctic Council, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the World Health Organization, and the Food and Agricultural Organization;

  38. 38. Address the negative impact on Inuit food security brought on by the effects of contaminants, climate change, and regulatory decisions taken by others on polar bears, seals, and other mammals and Urge  ICC to incorporate Inuit food security issues into its work on health, nutritious foods, sustainable utilization of wildlife, contaminants, biological diversity, and climate change;

  39. 39. Mandate  ICC to continue to pursue all available avenues to combat human-induced climate change, and to develop ways to adapt to the new Arctic reality including insisting on the inclusion of Arctic Inuit communities in the proposed 20 billion dollar international climate change adaptation fund;

  40. 40. Instruct  ICC to maintain its international, national, and regional efforts to reduce the worldwide emissions of contaminants that end up in the Arctic and negatively affect Inuit, and engage in activities that advance and strengthen the provisions of international instruments such as the global Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the International Agreement on Mercury Pollution (currently under negotiation), the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter;

  41. 41. Mandate  ICC to promote state of the art environmental and social impact assessment processes in each of the Inuit regions, especially with regard to project development in the resources sector, and to insist that civil society and indigenous peoples' organizations be given sufficient time, adequate resources, and full disclosure so they can provide essential input to these processes, and taking into account the provisions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention 169;

  42. 42. Instruct ICC to promote economic development polices based on the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the principle of free, prior and informed consent, the right to fair, impartial and open processes, and the right of Inuit to participate in the decision-making process in regards to economic development and use of Inuit lands, seas, territories and resources;

  43. 43. Remind  others that sound development of non-renewable resources in Arctic lands, territories and seas requires that Inuit be educated and trained to participate significantly in the ownership, management, and employment associated with those initiatives, and that royalties and other revenues derived from resource development be shared equitably with Inuit;

  44. 44. Instruct  ICC to engage in activities that promote the protection of Inuit intellectual property and cultural heritage and do so in bodies such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), among others;

  45. 45. Instruct ICC to put Inuit concerns and rights front and centre in all work on biological diversity and related access and benefit sharing of resources of which Inuit own or have a right to use;

  46. 46. Request  the ICC Executive Council to facilitate strengthening of ties between Chukotkan Inuit communities and Inuit communities in Alaska, Canada and Greenland;

  47. 47. Mandate ICC to remember the unique situation of the Inuit (Yupik) of Chukotka, and the difficulties with which they contend, and Urge  ICC to plan practical projects with them that have lasting benefits and celebrate Inuit unity;

  48. 48. Urge  ICC to continue to explore ways in which a strong ICC Chukotka office can be strengthened and maintained in a sustainable manner;

  49. 49. Instruct ICC to strongly advocate for the implementation of the Moscow Declaration emanating from the Arctic Leaders Summit held in Moscow, Russia during April 2010;

  50. 50. Direct  ICC to continue to participate in international bodies such as the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) to defend and promote the right of Inuit to harvest marine mammals and to trade their product on a sustainable basis;

  51. 51. Instruct  each ICC office to be financially prudent and to share the work required to implement ICC mandates through regular inter-office communications and collective strategic planning;

  52. 52. Instruct each ICC office to re-new its efforts to secure additional financial support from public and private sources;

  53. 53. Strongly Remind ICC to engage in international efforts with the aim of making a locally-felt impact for the benefit of Inuit; and

  54.   54. Instruct ICC to plan and implement a pan-Arctic Inuit leaders’ summit in 2012, the theme of which will be chosen by the incoming ICC executive council guided by both this Declaration and unforeseen issues of great importance to Inuit that may present themselves early in the new 4-year mandate of ICC.

The Chair and Executive Council of the Inuit Circumpolar Council hereby confirm that the Nuuk 2010 Declaration was unanimously passed by delegates at the 11th General Assembly of the Inuit Circumpolar Council on 1 July 2010.

Jim Stotts, ICC Chair

Edward Itta, Vice-Chair, Alaska

Duane Smith, Vice-Chair, Canada

Tatiana, Achirgin, Vice-Chair, Chukotka

Aqqaluk Lynge, Vice-Chair, Greenland

Willie Goodwin Jr., Executive Council Member, Alaska

Violet Ford, Executive Council Member, Canada

Elvira Tyunikova, Executive Council Member, Chukotka

Carl Christian Olsen, Executive Council Member, Greenland