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ECM Ottawa

Making ICC's Kuujjuaq Declaration Work

Nuuk, 4 February 2003 - The newly-elected executive council of the Inuit Circumpolar  Conference (ICC) held its first meeting since the 9 th General Assembly was held in Kuujuaq, Nunavik, Canada last summer.

 

The Council meeting, held in Ottawa, was used mainly to discuss ways in which the Kuujjuaq Declaration could best be implemented over the 4-year mandate given to the new executive council. At the 2002 General Assembly, delegates from Russia, Alaska, Canada, and Greenland gave ICC numerous mandates through the Declaration. The Council will report back to the delegates in the next General Assembly, to be held in Alaska in 2006.

ICC Chair Sheila Watt-Cloutier, elected in Kuujjuaq, noted at the Ottawa meeting that "we need to build capacity regionally, and make sure that the regional offices have the capacity to carry out their tasks." The responsibilities for the 25 separate mandates found in the Kuujjuaq Declaration were divided among the four ICC regional offices and in Azxadyr, Chukotka, Anchorage, Alaska, Ottawa, Canada, and Nuuk. A new :1CC Head Office, under the direction of Ms. Watt-Cloutier, has been established in Iqaluit, Nunavut. This office will be responsible for the overall guidance of all mandates and take an active part in many of them.

ICC Greenland President, A.qqaluk Lynge, will preside over several mandates, including ICC's work inside the United Nations (UN), the Inuit Language Commission, the Inuit Communications Commission, and the Task Force on Arctic Trade. Mr. Lyn,ge stated that "these mandates are extremely important to all Inuit, and Greenlanders have especially shown an interest in working on these issues," For example, ICC's Task Force on Arctic Trade, which is looking at ways of promoting the trade of Inuit-produced products globally, and to tackle the difficult issue of how to respond to the animal rights movement, speaks to the hearts of most Greenlaxxders. The Task Force has most recently addressed the difficulties that Greenlanders staying in Denmark have in accessing traditional Inuit food,

"Many of the mandates for which ICC Greenland has taken responsibility are interrelated", Mr. Lynge stated. "We will use our strong influence in the UN system to address issues of trade. Also, our communications and language commissions will work hand in hand in promoting our human rights across the Arctic and internationally".