Climate Change

India gets re-elected as observer to Arctic Council

China, South Korea, Singapore, Italy and Japan also have Observer status at the Council

By Rajat Ghai
Published: Tuesday 07 May 2019
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images Photo: Getty Images

India has been re-elected as an observer to the Arctic Council, tweeted Madhavan Rajeevan, secretary to the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences. The eight-member grouping of nations that have territories in the Arctic.

“India was an Observer at the Council from 2013 onwards,” Rajeevan told Down To Earth on the phone from Rovaniemi, Finland, where he had gone to attend the 11th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting of the Council.

When asked whether India had put forward any of its concerns regarding the Arctic, Rajeevan said, “Observers are not allowed to take part in the active meetings. We usually participate in side events.” Besides India, China, South Korea, Singapore, Italy and Japan also have Observer status at the Council.

The Arctic Council is formed of Russia, the United States, Canada, Norway, Demark, Sweden, Iceland and Finland.

The two-day meeting began on May 6, 2019. At the culmination, the member countries released a joint statement in which they pledged a number of measures to preserve the Arctic.

Among the important decisions, they “reaffirmed their commitment to maintain peace, stability and constructive cooperation in the Arctic”. They also committed to the well-being of the Arctic’s inhabitants and the region’s sustainable development and the protection of its environment. Most importantly, the joint statement recognised the rights of Arctic indigenous peoples and to consult and cooperate with them.

The summit this time also had the US Secretary of State refraining from using the word “climate change”. According to a media report, “Official US statements and documents prepared for the meeting did not refer to climate change and their scientific focus was limited to reductions in US carbon emissions that predate the administration and research”.

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