P.O. Box 204
Tel.: 299 23632
Fax: 299 23001
3201 "C" Street
Tel.: 907 563 6917
Fax: 907 562 0880
K1P 5V5 Ontario
Tel.: 613 563 2642
Fax: 613 565 3089
Tel.: 2 3647
Fax: 2 2172
The Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) is the international organization representing approx. 145,000 Inuit living in the Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka, Russia. The principal goals of the ICC are:
The ICC General Assembly is held every three years, bringing together Inuit from across the northern circumpolar region.
- To strengthen unity among Inuit of the circumpolar region.
- To promote Inuit rights and interests on an international level.
- To develop and encourage long-term policies which safeguard the Arctic environment.
- To seek full and active partnership in the political, economic and social development of circumpolar regions.
Assembly delegates elect a president and an executive council, and develop policies and resolutions for the coming term. The General Assembly is integral to the organization as it allows for the discussion of common concerns, gives direction to the ICC and strengthens the cultural bonds between all Inuit.
The result of this debate was the adoption of the ICC's Principles and Elements for a Comprehensive Arctic Policy by the 1992 General Assembly. This extensive work on a wide range of Arctic-related issues is a vivid means by which Inuit values, perspectives and concerns have been effectively elaborated. However, additions and improvements are needed in order to reflect the evolving economic, social and political circumstances in the circumpolar region.
Arctic policy development
Policy-making is critical both to the future of the Inuit and to the Arctic. If the environmental integrity of the northern regions is to be protected and the distinct values of the Inuit are to survive, coherent Arctic policies to guide actions in the North must be promoted. Since 1983, the ICC has facilitated discussion and debate among Inuit and others on what such an Arctic policy should contain.
The Arctic policy principles provide direction for the ICC in its activities. The ICC also encourages national governments and others who are involved in Arctic affairs to make use of the principles outlined in the policy document. Furthermore, the ICC strongly advocates international co-operation among governments and circumpolar indigenous peoples in implementing cohesive Arctic policies. To this end, the ICC has supported the proposal by the eight Arctic states to create an Arctic Council, but only on the condition that the states agree to a meaningful, active role for indigenous peoples.
Arctic environmental protection strategy
The ICC has played a significant role in the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS), in which the eight Arctic nations, the ICC, the Saami Council and the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the Russian North are working actively to protect the fragile Arctic environment.
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 was a milestone for the participating nations of the world. The ICC has since analysed, from a circumpolar Indigenous perspective, each of the chapters of Agenda 21, the Earth Summit's blueprint for action on environmental matters. Among other things, the ICC's analysis urges governments to follow through on commitments made in Rio.
The ICC has been successful in obtaining recognition among various international fora of the value of traditional ecological knowledge in creating sustainable approaches to the use of living resources.
Ice, water, land, snow, marine and terrestrial animals, and many forms of vegetation make up the Inuit homeland. The Inuit have been trustees of this exacting physical environment for millennia and have consequently become intimately linked to it. This has, in turn, given the Inuit a deep understanding of ocean currents, migratory patterns of animals and other aspects of the environment upon which their survival has depended. This deep understanding is the foundation of the ICC's approach to the many environmental issues facing the Arctic today.
Inuit regional conservation strategy
In 1988, the ICC was granted a Global 500 Award for significant environmental achievement. This award was presented by the United Nations Environment Program for the ICC's Inuit Regional Conservation Strategy (IRCS). The IRCS is a strategy for developing the actions required to achieve conservation and sustainable development.