The foreign ministers of the Arctic Council’s member states signed a joint statement "at the conclusion of Finland’s second chairmanship." The document has been published on the Arctic Council’s website, ONA reports.
The ministers reaffirmed their "commitment to maintaining peace, stability and constructive cooperation in the Arctic," emphasized "the role of Arctic states in providing leadership in addressing new opportunities and challenges in the Arctic, working in close cooperation with the Permanent Participants," recognized "the right of Arctic indigenous peoples and the unique role of Permanent Participants within the Arctic Council, as well as the commitment to consult and cooperate in good faith with Arctic indigenous peoples and support their meaningful engagement in Arctic Council activities."
In addition, they welcomed "the ongoing strategic work" and instructed "the Senior Arctic Officials to continue strategic planning in order to provide guidance and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Arctic Council… and to report to Ministers in 2021."
While opening the meeting, Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini said that its participants would sign a joint ministerial statement instead of a joint declaration.
According to the Helsingin Sanomatnewspaper, this is the first time in the Arctic Council’s history that such a thing has happened. The paper claims the reason is that the Council’s members failed to agree on mentioning the need to combat climate changes and abide by the Paris Climate Agreement.
The Arctic Council was established in 1996 to promote cooperation between the Arctic countries, particularly in the environment protection area. Member states include Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.