Former CCU Board Chair Oran Young (Professor Emeritus – Institutional and International Governance, Environmental Institutions at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara) writes on the challenges ahead for the Arctic in an era of rapid global environmental change and increasing focus on the region’s resource potential.
The article seeks to begin a discourse on “Arctic Stewardship,” beginning to raise and address some of the most pressing questions for the region:
This essay explores the consequences of these developments for the Arctic and seeks to identify strategies for enhancing its resilience, given the extent to which external forces determine the course of events in the region. Specifically, I address the following questions: What sorts of harms arising from changes now occurring in the Arctic are actionable in the sense that it is realistic to expect existing legal and political processes to respond to them in specific cases? Who can and should take the actions required to respond to these harms? What specific remedies are available to those harmed by the impact of external forces? How can we encourage responsible outsiders to fulfill their commitments? Equally important, how can we avoid actions taken in this context that (however well-intentioned) give rise to the pathologies of paternalism, internal colonialism, or neocolonialism? Are there innovations in governance arrangements that will help to produce positive responses to these concerns?
Read the full article here.
As part of the process of reviewing the current Arctic Council Observers and applications for new Observer status (from both states and non-governmental organizations), the Senior Arctic Officials requested that all current observers submit a report on their involvement in the Council. In January, CCU submitted a memorandum describing our work to the SAOs. The full and official note is attached here – an excerpt is below.
Organized in 1995, the Circumpolar Conservation Union is an association of organizations and individuals dedicated to protecting the ecological and cultural integrity of the Arctic for present and future generations. CCU works to promote understanding and cooperation among environmental groups, Arctic indigenous peoples and other diverse interests and to raise public awareness of Arctic issues and support for addressing them while advocating for environmental protection, sustainability and human health.
CCU took an active role in supporting the creation of the Arctic Council and was one of the earliest organizations to apply for and receive Observer status. It played a major role in educational and advocacy efforts leading to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, including mobilizing foundation funders in the United States and Canada and briefing the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples and Grantmakers Without Borders on those issues. In 2007 CCU helped organize the Arctic Voices Tour in the United States, a media tour of Arctic indigenous leaders in support of climate change legislation.
Over the last four years CCU has continued to be a strong supporter of the Arctic Council and its work. Within the Council, and subject to Council rules and procedures, we have sought to strengthen protection of the Arctic in ways consistent with the needs of indigenous peoples and to strengthen the role of the Permanent Participants by supporting their positions on issues of mutual concern. As provided in more detail below, we have contributed to the work of the Council in the areas of black carbon emissions, shipping, oil spill preparedness and response, the Arctic Ocean Review, and ecosystem-based management. We have also worked to educate other NGOs in the United States, Canada and Europe concerning the role of the Council in building cooperative efforts to address the many challenges the Arctic and its peoples face.
As part of the re-launch of CCU, our new Board has refreshed our mission statement to reflect our latest priorities in Arctic human and ecological conservation:
The Circumpolar Conservation Union works to protect the ecological and cultural integrity of the Arctic by promoting understanding and cooperation among Arctic indigenous peoples, environmental organizations and other diverse interests, by raising public awareness of the importance of the Arctic, and by advocating policies and institutions that will protect the environment, promote sustainability, and respect the human rights of Arctic communities and peoples.